Nowata County is located in the northern part of the state bordering on the State of Kansas and lying between Craig and Washington counties. It contains more than five hundred square miles of land, nearly all being of good quality, capable of producing good crops. In the olden days when the cattle men. had control of the greater part of this country, that portion now included in Nowata County was much sought after on account of its nutritious prairie grass and the abundant supply of water. In their drives to the northern markets with great herds of fat cattle the cowboys were fond of lingering here for days at a time to give their herds their final feeding up before rushing them on to the Kansas City market.
The Verdigris River, on its southward course from Kansas, flows down through the middle of Nowata County and it, together with its numerous little tributaries, furnishes almost every part of the county with a never failing supply of fresh water.
Corn, wheat, oats, alfalfa and vegetables are the staple crops and many farmers have good grades of cattle, horses and hogs.
The Valley of the Verdigris River is very fertile and many well improved farms have been developed in that section of Oklahoma. During the old Indian regime Nowata County was included in that division of the Cherokee Nation which was known as the Coowescoowee District and many Cherokees, who appreciated good farm lands, located here seventy and eighty years ago.
Prior to 1889 there were no railroads in this part of the Territory, Coffeyville, Kan., being the nearest railroad town, and for many years the farmers did their freighting back and forth from Coffeyville. During the summer of 1889, however, the St. Louis & Iron Mountain Railroad Company extended its line down from Coffeyville through Nowata County and on south to Fort Smith, Ark. It seems to have been the policy of this Company to establish a station about every six miles, and in crossing Nowata County from north to south the stations of Elliott, Lenapah, Delaware, Nowata and Watova were established.
The valleys of the Verdigris River and its tributaries were formerly pretty heavily timbered, much of the timber being of good quality. Many car loads of fine walnut logs were cut and shipped to northern furniture factories after the railroad was extended down through the country.
The proceeds derived from the sale of these logs aided the farmers very materially in improving their homes but the money which they received from that source was only a fractional part of what such valuable timber would be worth on the market at the _present day. These valleys also furnished many immense cottonwood logs from which a fairly good grade of lumber was made for building purposes. The development of the agricultural resources of Nowata County progressed at a gradual pace, but not until the discovery of oil about the year 1904 did the towns of the county begin to manifest vigorous, signs of life. Oil was first discovered in the southern part of the county in what was designated as the “Alluwe” field. Prospectors and drillers soon got busy in various parts of the county and by 1906 the famous “Hogshooter” field was discovered. Oil was also found at Coody’s Bluff and other parts of the county. The deposits of oil in this county were found to belong to what the drillers termed the “shallow” field, and because of the comparatively small cost of drilling a well, the development progressed rapidly and a lively scramble for leases and drilling permits ensued.
Fortunes have been made by the oil operators in this section of the state, and wells drilled several years ago are still bringing their owners handsome incomes. In addition to its numerous oil wells, Nowata County has an abundance of natural gas and coal for fuel.