Wagoner, Wagoner County, County Seat

Wagoner, the county seat of the county bearing the same name, is located fifteen miles north of Muskogee, at the junction of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas (Katy line), with the branch of the Missouri Pacific, known as the Iron Mountain Railroad, but originally called the Kansas & Arkansas Valley Road. This latter road crossed the Katy line in 1887, and the town of Wagoner was placed on the map at this railroad crossing. Captain Shannon furnished the lumber and W. H. McAnally built the first house which was occupied by McAnally as an eating house and patronized principally by the railroad men. It was located about a block south of the lot upon which the Axtell Hotel was afterward built. The second house was built just east of the present site of the old Phoenix Hotel by a man by the name of Albright. He died soon thereafter, and hit widow sold the house to Captain Shannon.

     The third building was erected by Miller & Co. on the present site of the First National Bank, who went up there from Muskogee in 1888 and established the first general store in Wagoner. About this time the settlers began to think that a post office would be a nice thing for Wagoner to have, and after considerable hustling, Mr. McAnally secured the requisite number of signatures to a petition, which was forwarded to Capt. G. W. Grayson, delegate for the Creek Nation at Washington, and in due course of time a post office was granted, William Teague receiving the honor of being Wagoner’s first postmaster.

     In August, 1888, Captain Shannon built the first hotel, called the Bernard, and a store building adjoining the hotel. During the following year, this store was sold to the Davis & Jones Mercantile Co. who filled it with a good stock of general merchandise. This company soon sold out to Terry Parkinson, who still resides in Wagoner, and his partner, Mr. McQuarie.

     Terry Parkinson landed in Wagoner in 1890, and, although then only about twenty-five years of age, he, assisted by his father, quickly built up a good business which was continued for many years. Before going to Wagoner he had gained some experience in selling goods to Indians by being associated with his father in Red Fork and Okmulgee. The Parkinsons had also been extensively interested in the. cattle business in the northern part of Indian Territory in the days when the broad prairies afforded unlimited range for cattle.

     About 1889, the “Wagoner Switch,” located on the Katy railroad about a mile south, was moved up to the new town site. This switch had been built by the railroad fifteen years before the town of Wagoner began its existence, and it was used principally for loading walnut logs which were gathered from the valley of the Verdigris River and shipped to northern furniture factories. In 1889 Mrs. Percival built and furnished the first hotel, called the Valley Hotel. It is claimed that hers was the first wedding in Wagoner, when she was married to Mr. W. H. Harris.

Source: Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma, 1922

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