Sallisaw, the county seat of Sequoyah County is now a city of 2,600 inhabitants, centrally located at the Junction of the Arkansas Valley Railroad (now known as the Missouri Pacific), with the Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad (now the Kansas City Southern). The first mentioned road was built in 1887, while the other was not completed until 1895. Soon after the arrival of the Valley Road, Argyle Quesenbury and W. W. Wheeler, two white settlers, platted a portion of their land into town lots and brought the Town of Sallisaw into existence.
Mr. Quesenbury settled in that neighborhood in 1875, being perhaps its first white settler. The citizens of Sallisaw regard him as the father of their city, as he not only founded it, but has ever since manifested a lively interest in its welfare, always taking the lead in all civic, charitable and educational projects for the betterment of conditions. When Sallisaw became an incorporated town he was chosen as its first mayor and his administration was characterized by honest, efficient business policies. He also manifested an interest in the religious welfare of the community by donating sites for all denominations who desired to build churches.
Mr. W. E. Whitsett is credited with having located the first general store in Sallisaw. He had been a country merchant, located at Old Childress Station, an inland division point on the Butterfield Stage Line, which extended from Muskogee to Fort Smith, but upon the arrival of the railroad, he moved his stock of goods to the new town of Sallisaw. Messrs. Quesenbury and Wheeler had also been conducting a country store, a few miles away, for several years prior to the birth of the new town.
Charles O. Frye has also been closely identified with the growth of the City of Sallisaw and the development of the industries of Sequoyah County. He is a Cherokee by blood, was born in the Cherokee Nation in 1854 and has resided continuously in that vicinity. He has held numerous positions of honor and responsibility, both in the Cherokee Nation and in the service of the Federal Government. During the early eighties he was elected as a member of the Cherokee Senate and a few years later he served as clerk of the Cherokee Commission, in its negotiations with the United States. He has also served as deputy United States marshal, and during President McKinley’s administration he was appointed as postmaster of Sallisaw. In every position he has been faithful to the trust reposed in him.
W. H. McDonald was the first merchant to establish a large general store in, Sallisaw, his location dating from the summer of 1896.
W. W. Wheeler erected the first substantial business house, using the native stone in its construction, and it was occupied by Meyer & Wolf as a general store. All the other business houses were of frame structure until 1899, when the wooden buildings began to rapidly give place to up-to-date brick and stone business blocks.
In May, 1.919, Sallisaw was incorporated as a first class city, under the laws of Oklahoma and Mr. R. Kobel was chosen as its first city mayor. In November, 1919, the city adopted the managerial form of government and chose R. Kobel, C. E. Henderson and L. C. Moore as its first Board of Commissioners.
In 1908 the city installed a system of waterworks and electric lights and in 1912 built a sever system.
Among other industries, the city has a cotton compress, a cotton oil mill, four cotton gins, an ice plant, a wholesale grocery, two flour jobbers, two lumber yards, three banks, seven churches, a good high school, two graded schools and a first class hotel.
Plans have been drawn and a contract awarded for a new city hall. The American Legion is pushing the city hall proposition and will occupy some of its rooms. The city also has a good courthouse and numerous modern homes.
Sequoyah County, in addition to its thriving county seat, has quite a number of smaller towns, the principal ones being Muldrow, Vian, Gore, Gans and Marble City, all of which are convenient local trading points for the farmers.
Soon after the Cherokees emigrated to Indian Territory, one of the most important Mission Schools was established in the northern part of this county by the Presbyterians, known as Dwight Mission, which has done its full share, during the past eighty years, toward educating and Christianizing the Indians.
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.