Wagoner County, Oklahoma History and Genealogy

Wagoner County adjoins Muskogee County on the north, the Arkansas River being the boundary line between them. Perhaps no county in the state affords better agricultural advantages than Wagoner. The very fertile valley of the Arkansas River extends across the entire southern portion of the county, the Verdigris River crosses the central portion from the northwest to the southeast and the Grand River flows southward along the east side. The valleys of these rivers afford many acres of exceedingly fertile soil, adapted to almost every kind of crops. The uplands are mostly prairie, containing the rich black prairie soil. This county is near the border line between the north and the south, from the standpoint of crop raising, and the cotton farmer of the south and the grain producer of the north, each finds soil and climate to his liking. The fertile river valleys of the southern portion of the county are admirably adapted to producing cotton, corn and potatoes, while the prairie land produces good crops of corn, wheat and oats. An excellent quality of hay is also grown on the virgin prairie land, the surplus of which finds a ready market in Kansas City and St. Louis.

Wagoner County is also noted for its shallow oil wells, many of which are less than one thousand feet in depth. Reliable geologists report that there are yet probably thirty million barrels of undeveloped oil in the Wagoner-Muskogee field. Wagoner County was formerly a part of the Creek Nation and many prominent Creeks selected their allotments and established good homes here, especially in the western part of the county. Quite a number of Creek Freedmen selected their allotments in the rich Arkansas River Valley but the greater part of this land is now owned by white farmers. During the Civil war of 1861-65, many Indians who had built homes in this fertile valley were compelled to flee from their homes, some going to Kansas and others to Arkansas and Texas, their destination depending upon whether their sympathies were with the North or South. Their Negro slaves were left behind and some of them took possession of their refugee masters’ homes, continued the improvements, and afterward, when the slaves were made citizens, they selected these farms which were in their possession, as their allotments.

Additional Wagoner County Resources

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.

1 thought on “Wagoner County, Oklahoma History and Genealogy”

  1. I am a descendant of a former Wagoner resident, Peter Hawkins. My mother’s family always talks about how he owned land on the oil field when he was alive and that there may have possibly been a statue of him built somewhere in Wagoner. I have not been able to confirm anything other than his enrollment on the Dawes Rolls. Any tips/suggestions? Or is there someone from the Genealogy office who can help?!

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