Chelsea, one of the important towns of Rogers County, is located in the northeastern corner of the county on the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad. It is surrounded by an excellent agricultural neighborhood and the farmers of that section of the state are rather above the average in intelligence and progressiveness. All the crops of the temperate zone are produced in abundance, corn, wheat, oats and hay, being the principal crops upon which the farmers depend. Quite a good deal of attention is given, also, to the livestock industry and gradual improvement is being made in the grade of animals raised. The look-horn Texas steer, which was the favorite in the days When the cowboy was the mogul of the prairie, has disappeared, and in his place the Durham or the Holstein breed is now quite common. The short, mild winters of this section are very favorable to the farmer, for the feeding season is short and his spring plowing can nearly always be done before spring really begins.
Chelsea was incorporated under the Cherokee law in 1889, and was re-surveyed and platted by the United States Townsite Commission in 1902, 452.59 acres being set aside and platted by the commission. Mr. M. W. Couch purchased the first lot which afterward became the site of the Bank of Chelsea. Andrew Norwood was the first mayor, he being elected while the town was still operating under Cherokee law.
A Cherokee built the first house in Chelsea which was used as a restaurant and a residence. A Delaware Indian by the name of Armstrong built and operated the first store. Among the first merchants were M. W. Couch, C. A. Davis, W. J. Strange, and G. W. Green. After the townsite commission had completed its work of platting the town in 1902, the sale of town lots proceeded quite rapidly and permanent store buildings, residences, schools and churches soon sprang into existence.
Chelsea now has a population of 1,800 and has all the modern conveniences usually found in a town of its size. Its public school system consists of an excellent high school and graded schools in which eighteen teachers are regularly employed. The Methodists were the first denomination to establish a church, but the other denominations rapidly followed, until now, all the leading denominations are represented. For many years before it was possible to have any public schools the Presbyterians maintained a private school to which any child was admitted.
Thomas Wills, one of the pioneer cattlemen of this section, located in Chelsea about 1892 and built one of the first flour mills of Indian Territory at this place. This mill was a very helpful addition to the town and community as previous to its establishment all the flour consumed by the residents of Chelsea and the surrounding country was imported from Kansas.
Oil was discovered near Chelsea about 1891, that being one of the first productive locations in Indian Territory. What is known as the Chelsea-Alluwe field has profitably produced oil for many years, and the supply is not yet exhausted. The wells in this field have not produced oil in as large quantities as in other places, but the fact that the cost of drilling a well in this field is not very heavy, makes the business less hazardous and more profitable than in marry other localities. Numerous oil wells in this section of the state have been steady producers at a depth of not more than five hundred feet.
The town of Foyil, located ten miles northeast of Claremore, is one of the flourishing little towns of Rogers County. It was named after its founder, Mr. Alfred Foyil, who established a store at that point in 1889, and later built a hotel, a drugstore and a substantial residence. For quite a while the drugstore was used as a schoolhouse and a general meeting place for the residents of the neighborhood. He afterward built a depot for the Frisco railroad and a corn mill for the convenience of the farmers of that vicinity. Foyil has never developed into a city, but it is surrounded by a good farming community and a number of oil and natural gas wells have been developed around it. It maintains a good public school in which five teachers are employed and is a good trading point.
Talala, located in the northwestern part of Rogers County, is a village of 250 inhabitants which boasts of a number of oil and gas wells and is surrounded by a number of good farms. Talala maintains an excellent school for a town of its size, in. which eleven teachers are regularly employed.
Catoosa, Inola, Bushyhead and Verdigris are Rogers County villages which share in the mineral products of that section of the state and maintain good public schools and churches.
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.