Eufaula, the county seat of McIntosh County, is located in the southern part of the county, on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway, not far from the Canadian River.
The name “Eufaula” has been a favorite one among the Creek or Muskogee Tribe of Indians.
As early as the year 1800 they had a town of that name, on Eufaula Creek, near the present site of Talladega, Ala. It was one of their early upper creek towns.
Pickett’s History of Alabama mentions an Indian town, belonging to the Creeks, which he calls Eufaulahatche. Little Eufauly is mentioned by one of the historians as early as 1792. Another upper creek town called Eufaula, was located on the Tallapoosa River, near the present town of Dadeville, Tennessee. Another Eufaula, known as a lower creek town, was located on the east bank of the Chattahooche River, within the limits of the present County of Quitman in the State of Georgia. In 1799 some of the Indians of this settlement went down to the mouth of Flint River and established another town of the same name. And still another lower creek town, called Eufaula, was located on the Chattahoochee River, in Henry County, Alabama.
Our Eufaula began to develop into a town soon after the arrival of the railroad in 1872, although .for forty years before that time it was a well-known Indian center, a favorite meeting place for the Creeks. Many of the pow-wows or Indian conferences were held in that vicinity during the early days. The old Indian settlement of that name was, however, several miles from the present site of the town, but through the influence of G. W. Grayson, the present Chief of the Creeks, his brother Samuel, George Stidham and others, the Railroad Company was induced to locate one of its stations at the present site of the town and the old Indian village was moved to the station. D. B. Whitlow and Joseph Coody established the first store on the west side of the railroad and the Graysons and G. E. Seales started a store on the east side about the same time. Dr. W. H. Bailey was the first physician and druggist to locate in the new town. Rev. R. C. McGee, a Presbyterian missionary, established one of the first churches in Eufaula and remained in charge of it for many years. The old Asbury Mission School, located two miles northeast of Eufaula was, for many years previous to the Civil war, the leading educational institution of that vicinity. It served the Creek people faithfully, but was finally destroyed by fire.
Some of the most prominent citizens of the Creek Nation have resided in or near Eufaula, among whom were the two Graysons, George W. and his brother, Samuel. Samuel was an intelligent Indian, deeply interested in the educational welfare of his people. He resided in that vicinity for many years, and was extensively engaged in cattle raising and merchandising. His death occurred in Eufaula a few years ago.
George W. Grayson
George W. Grayson, the late Chief of the Creek Nation who died recently at about seventy-eight years of age, was over six feet in height, and notwithstanding his advanced age, was as straight as an arrow.
He was born near Eufaula and had resided in the Creek Nation from his birth. He attended school at the old Asbury Mission in his youth and later attended the University of Arkansas. He acquired a good English education and so thoroughly learned the Creek language, that his services as an interpreter have been in frequent demand.
He had given much of his time to his people having served for several terms in the Creek Council, and having made frequent trips to Washington as the Creek delegate.
Charley Gibson was a well-known Creek citizen who spent his whole life in the vicinity of Eufaula. He was born in 1846, on a farm near Eufaula, and although his opportunities for securing an education were very limited, he acquired a good practical education. Upon reaching manhood he engaged in the mercantile business, first as a clerk in Grayson’s store, then as the proprietor of a grocery. During the latter part of his life he acquired quite a reputation as a local news correspondent and his inimitable style of composition made him popular with the newspaper fraternity. He was a generous-hearted man and interested in the welfare of his people, as was proven by the fact that he reared and educated several Creek orphans.
C. E. Foley
Among the early white settlers, no one has stood higher in the estimation of the citizens of Eufaula, than Mr. C. E. Foley. He showed his faith in the future of the town by organizing a bank, building a hotel, and in promoting various other enterprises. His kind heartedness and his public spiritedness have caused him to be regarded as everybody’s friend.
Alex Posey was another Creek, native of Eufaula, who attained considerable local prominence as a writer, both of prose and poetry. He first saw the light of day on August 23, 1873. He grew up on a farm, and after attending the crude day schools of that period, he attended the Bacone College at Muskogee. He was a typical Indian in appearance.’ His long, black hair, his characteristic Indian complexion, his straight manly bearing and genteel manners, gave him a close resemblance of the ideal type of the noble red man. He was a persistent reader and student, well informed in matters of general, as well as of local interest. He was fond of writing both prose and poetry and a collection of his poems was printed some years ago, in book form. He adopted the non-de-plume of “Chumubbie Harjo” in his writings and his prose productions were usually in artificial imitation of a fullblood’s style of English. He was interested in the education of his people and for several years served as superintendent of the Creek Boarding School at Eufaula. He died several years ago while yet in the prime of life.
The settlers of Eufaula demonstrated their interest in education by erecting a school on the east side of the railroad, and establishing a free school by voluntary taxation, before there was any law authorizing the levy of taxes for school purposes. As soon as the Curtis Act was passed by Congress, Eufaula took advantage of it by levying taxes and starting to build up a first class public school system, and to make other needed public improvements. The city now has paved streets, a splendid “White Way,” five brick and stone schoolhouses, seven churches, a large cotton oil mill, light and ice plant, well built and attractive business blocks, three parks, a fine waterworks and sewage system, four banks, two hotels, the three story brick boarding school for Creek girls and an abundance of natural gas for domestic and commercial purposes. There is also a very .active civic club whose purpose is to make the town a better place to live in, rather than to increase its numbers, an ambition which is concurred in generally by the 3,000 prosperous and contented people who live here.
When the Jefferson Highway was first located through Eufaula the only way of crossing the South Canadian River, about four miles below the town, was by means of a rather uncertain ferry, and the citizens of Eufaula, feeling the great need of a good bridge across the river, incorporated- The Jefferson Highway Bridge Company, and at a cost of almost a quarter of a million dollars, built the present splendid structure of steel and concrete, forty feet above low water; affording a 365 day crossing throughout the year. Already the traffic over this bridge, which was opened for use April 21, 1920, bids fair to justify the large expenditure upon it and it is rapidly becoming one of the notable landmarks of the neighborhood.
The Indian Journal, one of the first newspapers in the state, is still published in Eufaula and is well supported by the business men of the city. The Masonic and Odd Fellow fraternities are well represented here. One of the first Masonic lodges in Indian Territory was organized here and the city claims as many thirty-second degree Masons as any other town of its size in the state.
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.