Claremore, the county. seat and principal city of Rogers County, is located in the south central part of the county at the junction of the Missouri Pacific (Iron Mountain) with the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad. It was named after Claremore, chief of the Osage Indians, who, with about four hundred of his band, was killed in the battle with the, Cherokees.
The town was first started about two and one-half miles from the present location, and John Bullette, A. H. Norwood and John Cobb were among the pioneer merchants. Norwood is said to have been the first postmaster.. About 1880 the town was moved to its present location on the railroad. Several small stores sprang up quickly in the new town, but the Foley building, erected by George Eaton, was the first substantial brick store building erected.
The first hotel established in the new town was owned and managed by a lady, Mrs. Creighton. At that time a Cherokee law was in force which provided that for each and every town along the line of any railroad passing through the Cherokee Nation, there should be set aside one square mile of land, to be surveyed and sold as town lots. Under this act the town was platted and improvements begun, but as at that time the Cherokee Council could not give but a possessory right to real estate, complete title to lots was not secured, as in many other towns, until the enactment of the Curtis Act in 1898.
The Claremore Progress is. the oldest newspaper in Rogers County, it having been established, as a weekly periodical, by Joseph Kline, as early as 1883. Kline soon wearied of the monotony of the country editor’s chair, sold out his paper and joined the cowboys of buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, which made a great bit wherever it went throughout the United States and Europe. John Bullette, one of the oldest pioneers of this section of the country, came down from his native home in Kansas, as a mere boy, fifty years ago, and endured the hardships and dangers of that time -in order to get a start in the business world. He worked on the-ranches for several years, and finally entered the employ of J. H. Bartles, the founder of Bartlesville, who, at that early date, owned one of the finest ranches on Caney River, and conducted a general. store in connection with his ranch. Bullette made himself generally useful about the ranch and store, in the meantime, learning something about conducting a country store. Bartles took a fancy to the young man and with the former’s assistance, Bullette branched out into business for himself in 1880 bar starting a store at the original town of Claremore. Shortly afterward he moved his store to the new town on the railroad and continued to run it until 1887, when he sold out and accepted a position under Joel B. Mayes, then chief of the Cherokee Nation. A few years later he returned to Claremore, built one of the first modern homes erected in that city and devoted his time to farming and mining.
William H. Frye was one of the oldest natives of the Claremore neighborhood, he having been born there, during the Civil war. He began clerking in one of the pioneer stores of Claremore as early as 1886, and a few years later his father bought the store and the father and son conducted it for several years. He was the last Cherokee elected as clerk of the Cooweescoowee district of the old Cherokee Nation.
Joseph M. LaHay, a bright young Cherokee lawyer who died several years ago in Muskogee, surrounded by many friends, was one of the first mayors of Claremore and was one of. the last treasurers of the Cherokee Nation.
Claremore has been remarkably successful in building up a first class public school system. With a small beginning twenty years ago, the school system has gradually grown and developed until it has reached a high standard of which any city might be proud.
The city now has four ward schools and in 1920 a modern high school building was erected at a cost of $100,000. This building is provided with a large auditorium, a gymnasium, departments in manual training and domestic science, stenography, typewriting and commercial law. There are now about thirteen hundred pupils enrolled in the city school system and forty teachers are regularly employed.
Claremore is well supplied with churches, nearly all of the leading denominations being well represented. The Presbyterians, Methodists, Christians and Baptists have good church buildings, the Baptists claiming one of the finest in the state, which was erected several years ago at a cost of $100,000. Each church maintains a Sunday School and several active church societies. About fourteen hundred pupils are enrolled in the Sunday schools and a healthy religious spirit is manifested throughout the city.
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.