The country to the east of Grand River comprises about one-third of the county. Much of it is rough. The rather narrow valleys are very fertile and will grow all kinds of crops. The hills are covered with timber. There are several small fertile prairies. This region is adapted to dairying, livestock and fruit. The K. O. & G. R. R., traverses it, following the east side of Grand River.
The country to the extreme northwest and west, where many small creeks have their source, is also hilly. All the central part of the county, comprising about half of the area, is a rolling prairie, interspersed with streams and stretches of timber. From the hills on either side one can see a beautiful panorama of cultivated fields, meadows, pastures, farm houses, villages and towns, extending thirty miles north and south through the county, and from 10 to 20 miles in width.
Through the center of this valley stretches the main line of the M., K. & T. Railroad from St. Louis and Kansas City to Dallas, Fort Worth and Galveston. This road provides rapid service for both passengers and freight to and from the best markets between the Mississippi and the Gulf. Supper may be eaten at home in Mayes County and breakfast the next morning in either Kansas City or St. Louis. Livestock loaded in the afternoon is in Kansas City for the early market next morning. On this road are four towns in Mayes County: Adair, Pryor, Chouteau, and Mazie.
According to the Government geological survey, Pryor, the county seat, is 631 feet above the sea level ; this is about an average for the county, excepting in the extreme hilly portions.
Mayes County is twenty-four miles wide east and west and thirty-six miles north and south. It comprises about one-ninth of the Cherokee Nation and is situated in the central part of the Nation.
Considerable livestock will be seen in a drive over the county, but not nearly as much as the county might support. A good many cattle and hogs are shipped, fin fact, practically all of the corn raised here is fed. Mayes County is well adapted to livestock growing and feeding. Winters are so mild that an open shed is all the shelter needed; summer pastures are cheap, only 40 cents to $1 per acre a year; a great variety of feed grows here, including cotton-seed, alfalfa, kafir, cowpeas and corn.
While dairying is yet in its infancy in Mayes County, one will see from the tons of butter that is shipped from the Pryor Creamery to all parts of the United States, that Mayes County is an exceptionally good county for profitable dairying.
Some of the very best blooded stock in the state will be found in Mayes County, especially in the breeds of Jersey, Holstein, Shorthorn and Hereford cattle. The, poultry industry in Mayes County is a real asset. A poultry show is held annually in the county seat. The Mayes County Free Fair has grown to be quite an institution, and is soon to be permanently housed on not less than forty acres of ground adjoining the county seat, and financed by the county. The Mayes County. Breeders’ Association is a real live organization and holds banquets frequently in the county seat, where the live stock situation is discussed by state and county breeders and men in agricultural, state and Federal work.
All kinds of garden products thrive. Two crops of potatoes a year can be grown-the first ready to market by the middle of June. Cabbage can be set out in January and February. Lettuce and radishes can be planted about the same time. Fall gardens provide an abundance of vegetables for the table until November.
There are not yet enough bearing orchards to supply the local demands for fruit. Several old orchards were set out before statehood and many later planted home orchards which are not yet bearing. Very little care has been given the trees as a rule, yet in spite of neglect very fine peaches, apples, pears and apricots are grown. Berries of all kinds do well; there is a good local market for fruit and truck, and fast freight and express trains carry these products in short time to the markets of the north. Persons growing strawberries near Pryor during the past year averaged more than three hundred dollars per acre. The largest number of acres by any one man was about three acres and brought a return of more than one thousand dollars for the three acres. The acreage for 1922 is probably double that of 1921.
Source: Benedict, John D. Muskogee and northeastern Oklahoma, including the counties of Muskogee, McIntosh, Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Rogers, Washington, Nowata, Craig, and Ottawa. 3 v. illus., ports., facsims. 28 cm. Chicago, S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1922.