Cherokee County, Oklahoma

Last updated
Cherokee County
Cherokee National Capitol.jpg
Map of Oklahoma highlighting Cherokee County.svg
Location within the U.S. state of Oklahoma
Oklahoma in United States.svg
Oklahoma's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 35°55′N95°00′W / 35.91°N 95°W / 35.91; -95
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
StateFlag of Oklahoma.svg  Oklahoma
Founded1907
Seat Tahlequah
Largest cityTahlequah
Area
  Total776 sq mi (2,010 km2)
  Land749 sq mi (1,940 km2)
  Water27 sq mi (70 km2)  3.5%%
Population
  Estimate 
(2018)
48,675
  Density63/sq mi (24/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
  Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Cherokee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 46,987. [1] Its county seat is Tahlequah, [2] which is also the capital of the Cherokee Nation. [3]

Contents

Cherokee County comprises the Tahlequah, OK Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Tulsa-Muskogee-Bartlesville, OK Combined Statistical Area.

History

Cherokee stop sign with Cherokee language transliteration and the Cherokee syllabary in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, with "alehwisdiha" (also spelled "halehwisda") meaning "stop" Cherokee stop sign.png
Cherokee stop sign with Cherokee language transliteration and the Cherokee syllabary in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, with "alehwisdiha" (also spelled "halehwisda") meaning "stop"
Cherokee traffic sign in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, reading "tla adi yigi", meaning "no parking" from "tla" meaning "no" Cwy no parking.jpg
Cherokee traffic sign in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, reading "tla adi yigi", meaning "no parking" from "tla" meaning "no"

According to a historian, Cherokee County was established in 1907. [4] However, the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, states that it was created from the Tahlequah District of the Cherokee Nation in 1906. [3] [lower-alpha 1]

The Cherokee moved to this area as a result of the forced relocation brought about by the Indian Removal Act of 1830, also known as Trail Of Tears. The first significant settlements were at the site of Park Hill, where there was already a mission community, and Tahlequah, which became the seat of Cherokee government. However the Civil War divided the tribe and caused many of the early structures to be destroyed. Non-Indians began moving into the area illegally starting in the mid-1870s, and became the majority by the 1890s. [3]

In 1851, the Cherokee Male Seminary opened in Tahlequah and the Cherokee Female Seminary opened in Park Hill. The latter burned down in 1887 and was rebuilt in Tahlequah. A 1910 fire destroyed the Male Seminary. The Female Seminary became Northeastern State Normal School after statehood in 1907 and is now part of Northeastern State University. [3]

During 1901 – 1903, The Ozark and Cherokee Central Railway, which later became part of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway was the first to build a track in the county. It boosted the shipment of farm products through the 1920s, but declined during the Great Depression. All rail service ceased in 1942. [3]

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 776 square miles (2,010 km2), of which 749 square miles (1,940 km2) is land and 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2) (3.5%) is water. [5]

The county lies in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It includes most of Tenkiller Lake and part of Fort Gibson Lake. The principal river running through it is the Illinois River. Grand River (Oklahoma) forms part of its western boundary. [3]

Major highways

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1910 16,778
1920 19,87218.4%
1930 17,470−12.1%
1940 21,03020.4%
1950 18,989−9.7%
1960 17,762−6.5%
1970 23,17430.5%
1980 30,68432.4%
1990 34,04911.0%
2000 42,52124.9%
2010 46,98710.5%
2018 (est.)48,675 [6] 3.6%
U.S. Decennial Census [7]
1790-1960 [8] 1900-1990 [9]
1990-2000 [10] 2010-2013 [1]
Age pyramid for Cherokee County, Oklahoma, based on census 2000 data. USA Cherokee County, Oklahoma age pyramid.svg
Age pyramid for Cherokee County, Oklahoma, based on census 2000 data.

As of the census [11] of 2000, there were 42,521 people, 16,175 households, and 11,079 families residing in the county. The population density was 57 people per square mile (22/km2). There were 19,499 housing units at an average density of 26 per square mile (10/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 56.41% White, 1.20% Black or African American, 32.42% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.10% from other races, and 7.56% from two or more races. 4.14% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 92.7% spoke English, 3.8% Spanish and 2.7% Cherokee as their first language.

There were 16,175 households, out of which 32.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.50% were married couples living together, 11.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.50% were non-families. 25.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.30% under the age of 18, 14.60% from 18 to 24, 25.70% from 25 to 44, 21.50% from 45 to 64, and 12.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 96.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $26,536, and the median income for a family was $32,369. Males had a median income of $25,993 versus $21,048 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,436. About 17.00% of families and 22.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.40% of those under age 18 and 13.80% of those age 65 or over.

Education

Oklahoma Cherokee language immersion school student writing in the Cherokee syllabary. Cherokeeclass.png
Oklahoma Cherokee language immersion school student writing in the Cherokee syllabary.

Primary & secondary education

The Cherokee language immersion school in Tahlequah, Oklahoma educates students from pre-school through eighth grade. [12] [13] The Department of Education of Oklahoma said that in 2012 state tests: 11% of the school's sixth-graders showed proficiency in math, and 25% showed proficiency in reading; 31% of the seventh-graders showed proficiency in math, and 87% showed proficiency in reading; 50% of the eighth-graders showed proficiency in math, and 78% showed proficiency in reading. [13]

Adams Corner Cherokee language chalk board in schoolhouse. Adams Corner - Schulhaus 3.jpg
Adams Corner Cherokee language chalk board in schoolhouse.

The Oklahoma Department of Education listed the charter school as a Targeted Intervention school, meaning the school was identified as a low-performing school but has not so that it was a Priority School. [13] Ultimately, the school made a C, or a 2.33 grade point average on the state's A-F report card system. [13] The report card shows the school getting an F in mathematics achievement and mathematics growth, a C in social studies achievement, a D in reading achievement, and an A in reading growth and student attendance. [13] "The C we made is tremendous," said school principal Holly Davis, "[t]here is no English instruction in our school's younger grades, and we gave them this test in English." [13] She said she had anticipated the low grade because it was the school's first year as a state-funded charter school, and many students had difficulty with English. [13] Eighth graders who graduate from the Tahlequah immersion school are fluent speakers of the language, and they usually go on to attend Sequoyah High School where classes are taught in both English and Cherokee.

Colleges

Tahlequah is home to Northeastern State University. Seminary Hall.jpg
Tahlequah is home to Northeastern State University.

Northeastern State University is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of Oklahoma as well as one of the oldest institutions of higher learning west of the Mississippi River. [14] Tahlequah is home to the capital of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and about 25 percent of the students at NSU identify themselves as American Indian. [15] The university has many courses focused on Native American linguistics, and offers Cherokee language Education as a major. [16] Cherokee can be studied as a second language, and some classes are taught in Cherokee for first language speakers as well. [17]

Politics

Despite the county being home to a significant Native American population and a wide Democratic registration advantage, the county -- like every Oklahoma county since 2000 -- has avoided the party entirely in presidential elections in the 21st century. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton 60%-33% in 2016, which was a sharp right turn from the far-fetched yet competitive totals from Barack Obama's efforts in the prior two elections.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of January 15, 2019 [18]
PartyNumber of votersPercentage
Democratic 12,97352.63%
Republican 7,92232.14%
Others3,75315.22%
Total24,648100%
Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results [19]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2016 60.6%9,99433.1% 5,4566.3% 1,040
2012 57.1%8,16243.0% 6,144
2008 56.1%9,18643.9% 7,194
2004 52.6%9,56947.4% 8,623
2000 47.8% 6,91850.2%7,2562.0% 294
1996 36.8% 5,04649.8%6,81713.4% 1,833
1992 32.9% 4,97745.0%6,79422.1% 3,340
1988 47.0% 5,83852.2%6,4830.8% 103
1984 58.5%7,61440.8% 5,3070.7% 94
1980 49.5%5,59446.1% 5,2154.4% 499
1976 42.1% 4,44356.9%6,0061.1% 115
1972 69.4%7,08028.4% 2,8992.2% 227
1968 47.3%3,97130.4% 2,55422.2% 1,866
1964 43.8% 3,46756.2%4,449
1960 57.1%3,57142.9% 2,687
1956 52.3%3,27747.7% 2,991
1952 50.7%3,32649.3% 3,234
1948 39.6% 2,78560.4%4,249
1944 49.3% 3,33650.5%3,4150.2% 12
1940 51.0%4,12848.8% 3,9520.2% 18
1936 42.3% 2,91757.4%3,9660.3% 21
1932 32.9% 2,27567.1%4,633
1928 54.5%2,96345.0% 2,4460.5% 29
1924 49.8%2,62246.7% 2,4543.5% 185
1920 56.5%2,52441.6% 1,8591.9% 86
1916 42.4% 1,37949.0%1,5948.7% 282
1912 43.7% 96249.7%1,0946.7% 147

Economy

Since statehood, the economy of Cherokee County has been based on agriculture, especially production of corn, wheat and vegetables. However, the percentage of the population engaged in farming has declined from 62 percent in 1940 to 4.4 percent in 1990. This is largely due to increased urbanization around Tahlequah since World War II. Agriculture remains very important. In 2002, this county ranked first in Oklahoma for the value of nursery and greenhouse crops and seventh in the state for poultry and eggs. [3] Illinois River and Lake Tenkiller tourism are perhaps of greater economic impact than agriculture, and both have lodging, water sports and recreation outfitters, fishing equipment and guides, eating and drinking establishments, campgrounds, festival events, and organizations for the conservation of resources.

Major non-agricultural employers in the county now include the Cherokee Nation government and Northeastern State University, [3]

Communities

City

Towns

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated places

NRHP sites

The following sites in Cherokee County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

Notable citizens

In the 1940 film The Grapes of Wrath , a policeman, portrayed by Ward Bond, tells the Joad family he is from Cherokee County, Oklahoma.

Notes

  1. Both of these statements are correct. All modern counties in the former Indian Territory became operational when Oklahoma officially became a state on November 16, 1907. The tribal governments became ineffective during the preceding years, while the new counties were being designated in the Oklahoma Constitution.

Related Research Articles

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Rogers County, Oklahoma U.S. county in Oklahoma

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Noble County, Oklahoma U.S. county in Oklahoma

Noble County is located in the north central part of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,561. Its county seat is Perry. It was part of the Cherokee Outlet in Indian Territory until Oklahoma Territory was created in 1890, and the present county land was designated as County P. After the U. S. government opened the area to non-Indian settlement in 1893, it was renamed Noble County for John Willock Noble, then the United States Secretary of the Interior.

Delaware County, Oklahoma U.S. county in Oklahoma

Delaware County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 41,487. Its county seat is Jay. The county was named for the Delaware Indians, who had established a village in the area prior to the Cherokees being assigned to relocate to Indian Territory in the 1830s.

Bell, Oklahoma census-designated place in Oklahoma, United States

Bell is a census-designated place (CDP) in Adair County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 535 at the 2010 census, an 11.1 percent decline from the figure of 602 recorded in 2000.

Stilwell, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Stilwell is a city and county seat of Adair County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 3,949 at the 2010 census, an increase of 20.5 percent over the figure of 3,276 recorded in 2000. In 1949, the Oklahoma governor and legislature proclaimed Stilwell as the "Strawberry Capital of the World." Stilwell also serves as a gateway to Lake Tenkiller and Adair Park, the former Adair State Park.

Briggs, Oklahoma Census-designated place in Oklahoma, United States

Briggs is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 303 at the 2010 census.

Dry Creek, Oklahoma Census-designated place in Oklahoma, United States

Dry Creek is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 227 at the 2010 census.

Hulbert, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Hulbert is a town in Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States, named after Ben H. Hulbert, a prominent Cherokee man. The population was 590 at the 2010 census, an increase of 8.7 percent overthe figure of 543 recorded in 2000. Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek Monastery is a Benedictine monastery located in Hulbert. The Clear Creek Monastery, recently elevated to the status of an abbey, is a foundation abbey of France's Notre Dame de Fontgombault, which is itself a foundation abbey of Saint Pierre de Solesmes, also in France.

Keys, Oklahoma Census-designated place in Oklahoma, United States

Keys is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 565 at the 2010 census.

Park Hill, Oklahoma Census-designated place in Oklahoma, United States

Park Hill is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in southwestern Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 3,909 at the 2010 census. It lies near Tahlequah, east of the junction of U.S. Route 62 and State Highway 82.

Shady Grove, Cherokee County, Oklahoma Census-designated place in Oklahoma, United States

Shady Grove is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 556 at the 2010 census. This is not to be confused with the similarly-named Shady Grove in McIntosh County, or the Shady Grove in Pawnee County.

Tahlequah, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Tahlequah is a city in Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States located at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It is part of the Green Country region of Oklahoma and was established as a capital of the 19th-century Cherokee Nation in 1839, as part of the new settlement in Indian Territory after the Cherokee Native Americans were forced west from the American Southeast on the Trail of Tears.

Tenkiller, Oklahoma Census-designated place in Oklahoma, United States

Tenkiller is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 633 at the 2010 census.

Welling, Oklahoma Census-designated place in Oklahoma, United States

Welling is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 771 at the 2010 census, an increase of 15.25 percent over the figure of 669 recorded in 2000. It is home to The Salvation Army's Heart o' Hills camp and conference center.

Fort Gibson, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Fort Gibson is a town in Cherokee and Muskogee counties in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The population was 4,154 at the 2010 census, an increase of 2.5 percent over the figure of 4,054 recorded in 2000. It is the location of Fort Gibson Historical Site and Fort Gibson National Cemetery and is located near the end of the Cherokees' Trail of Tears at Tahlequah.

Oaks, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Oaks is a town in Cherokee and Delaware counties in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The population was 288 at the 2010 census, a decrease from the figure of 412 recorded in 2000.

Northeastern State University

Northeastern State University (NSU) is a public university with its main campus in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The university also has two other campuses in Muskogee and Broken Arrow as well as online. Northeastern is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of Oklahoma as well as one of the oldest institutions of higher learning west of the Mississippi River. Tahlequah is home to the capital of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and about 25 percent of the students at NSU identify themselves as American Indian. The university has many courses focused on Native American linguistics, and offers Cherokee language Education as a major. Cherokee can be studied as a second language, and some classes are taught in Cherokee for first language speakers as well.

Sequoyah High School is a Native American boarding school serving students in grades 7–12, who are members of a federally recognized Native American tribe. The school is located in Park Hill, Oklahoma, near Tahlequah, and is a Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) grant school operated by the Cherokee Nation.

Cherokee Female Seminary United States historic place

The Cherokee Female Seminary,, serves as the centerpiece of Northeastern State University ("NSU"), located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, United States. The building was constructed to replace the original Cherokee Female Seminary that burnt to the ground Easter Sunday, 1887. The Cherokee Council chose to rebuild the school on a 40-acre (160,000 m2) site north of Tahlequah, near Hendricks Spring. Two years later, on May 7, 1889, the dedication ceremonies were held in honor of the new building. The Female Seminary was owned and operated by the Cherokee Nation until March 6, 1909 when the State Legislature of Oklahoma passed an act providing for the creation and location of Northeastern State Normal School at Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and for the purchase from the Cherokee Tribal Government of the building, land, and equipment of the Cherokee Female Seminary. At the start of the next academic year, on September 14, the first classes were held at the newly created Northeastern State Normal School, now NSU.

References

  1. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2015-05-09. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Burnett, Amanda. "Cherokee County," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, 2009. Accessed March 28, 2015.
  4. Columbia-Lippincott Gazetteer. p. 386
  5. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  6. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates" . Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  7. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  8. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  9. Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  10. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  11. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  12. Chavez, Will (April 5, 2012). "Immersion students win trophies at language fair". Cherokeephoenix.org. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Cherokee Immersion School Strives to Save Tribal Language". Youth on Race. Archived from the original on July 3, 2014. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  14. "General Information". NSU. Archived from the original on 2009-08-28. Retrieved 2008-02-20.
  15. Agnew, Brad. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. "Northeastern State University." "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-19. Retrieved 2016-01-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ' + auElement.html() + '. "NSU, Cherokee Nation Partner to Train and Hire Language Instructors - ICTMN.com". Indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com. Archived from the original on 2015-08-13. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
  17. "Cherokee". Ethnologue.
  18. "Oklahoma Registration Statistics by County" (PDF). OK.gov. January 15, 2019. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  19. Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-03-28.
  20. United States Department of the Interior. National Park Service. "Park Hill Mission Cemetery - National Register of Historic Places Registration Form." December 6, 2006. Accessed March 4, 2016.

Coordinates: 35°55′N95°00′W / 35.91°N 95.00°W / 35.91; -95.00