Le Flore County
LeFlore County Courthouse in Poteau
Location within the U.S. state of Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location within the U.S.
|Named for||An influential Choctaw Indian family|
|• Total||1,609 sq mi (4,170 km2)|
|• Land||1,589 sq mi (4,120 km2)|
|• Water||19 sq mi (50 km2) 1.2%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||32/sq mi (12/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
Le Flore County is a county located along the eastern border of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 50,384.Its county seat is Poteau. The county name honors a Choctaw family named LeFlore. Le Flore County is part of the Fort Smith, AR-OK Metropolitan Statistical Area. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma is the federal district court with jurisdiction in Le Flore County.
The Choctaw Nation signed the Treaty of Doak's Stand in 1820, ceding part of their ancestral home in the Southeastern U. S. and receiving a large tract in Indian Territory. They signed the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830, which ceded the remainder of their original homeland. Most of the remainder of the Choctaw were removed to Indian Territory, escorted by federal military troops, in several waves.
In 1832, the Federal Government constructed the Choctaw Agency in Indian Territory about 15 miles (24 km) west of Fort Smith, Arkansas. The town of Skullyville developed around the agency. It was designated as county seat of Skullyville County, the capital of the Moshulatubbee District of which Skullyville County was a part, and the national capital of the Choctaw Nation.
The US Indian agents lived in the town. In the late 1850s, it was designated as a stage stop (Walker's Station) for the Butterfield Overland Mail route.
In 1834, the U. S. Army built Fort Coffee a few miles north of Skullyville, but reassigned the garrison after four years. The Methodist Church took over the facility, converting it for use as the Fort Coffee Academy for Boys, a missionary school. That church also established the New Hope Seminary for Girls in 1845, just east of town. In 1847, the Choctaw Agency burned and its functions were transferred to Fort Washita.
During the Civil War, the Choctaw allied with the Confederacy and many of their men served in its army. The Battle of Devil's Backbone was fought near the present town of Pocola on September 1, 1863. Union Major General James G. Blunt defeated Confederate Brigadier General William Cabell. Union troops burned the Fort Coffee Academy in 1863, because it was being used to house Confederate troops.
In 1866, the Choctaw government reopened New Hope Seminary, but never rebuilt a boys academy. New Hope Seminary operated until it burned in 1896. The first school for Choctaw freedmen opened at Boggy Depot. In 1892, the Tushkalusa (black warriors) Freedmen Boarding school opened three miles southeast of Talihina.
From 1886, development of coal mining and timber production attracted considerable railroad construction: the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad built tracks from Wister west to McAlester. In 1898, the company extended the line east from Wister to Howe, continuing the line to Arkansas in 1899. (This line was leased to the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway in 1904).
In 1896 the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad (acquired by the Kansas City Southern Railway in 1900) built tracks through the region from north to south, exiting into Arkansas near the Page community in southern Le Flore County. In 1900-01 the Poteau Valley Railroad built a line from Shady Point to Calhoun, which they abandoned in 1926. Also in 1900-01 the Arkansas Western Railroad constructed tracks from Heavener east to Arkansas. In 1901 the Fort Smith and Western Railroad connected Coal Creek west to McCurtain in Haskell County. In 1903-04 the Midland Valley Railroad laid tracks from Arkansas west through Bokoshe to Muskogee. The Oklahoma and Rich Mountain Railroad, owned by the Dierks Lumber and Coal Company, constructed the county's last railroad, from Page to the lumber town of Pine Valley in 1925-26.
Prior to statehood, the area that became LeFlore County was part of Moshulatubbee and the Apukshunnubbee districts. Its present-day territory fell primarily within Nashoba, Skullyville, Sugar Loaf, and Wade counties, with small portions falling within Cedar and San Bois counties, in the Choctaw Nation.
Robert S. Kerr, former Governor of Oklahoma and U.S. Senator, established a ranch outside Poteau in the 1950s. In 1978 the family donated this residence to the state. It was adapted and opened for use as the Kerr Conference Center and Museum. The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Overstreet-Kerr Historical Farm are also in the county.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,609 square miles (4,170 km2), of which 1,589 square miles (4,120 km2) is land and 19 square miles (49 km2) (1.2%) is water.
The Arkansas River forms the northern boundary of the county, while its tributaries, the Poteau and James Fork rivers drain much of the county into the Arkansas. The Kiamichi, Little and Mountain Fork rivers drain the rest of the county into the Red River of the South. The Ouachita Mountains extend into the southern part of the county, along with associated ranges: the Winding Stair Mountains and the Kiamichi Mountains. Cavanal Hill is partly in the northern part of the county.
Lake Wister, a flood control reservoir, is in the central part of the county, formed behind .The Ouachita National Forest, in the county's southern half, and Heavener Runestone State Park are tourist attractions.
Additionally, Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area is located in the county. It is one of two National Recreation Areas located in the state of Oklahoma, the other being Chickasaw.
|U.S. Decennial Census |
As of the census mile (5/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 80.35% White, 2.21% Black or African American, 10.72% Native American, 0.21% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.44% from other races, and 5.03% from two or more races. 3.84% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.7 were of American, 10.1% Irish, 9.6% German and 7.7% English ancestry according to Census 2000.of 2000, there were 48,109 people, 17,861 households, and 13,199 families residing in the county. The population density was 30 people per square mile (12/km²). There were 20,142 housing units at an average density of 13 per square
There were 17,861 households out of which 33.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.50% were married couples living together, 11.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.10% were non-families. 23.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.05.
In the county, the population was spread out with 26.10% under the age of 18, 9.70% from 18 to 24, 27.00% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 13.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $27,278, and the median income for a family was $32,603. Males had a median income of $26,214 versus $19,792 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,737. About 15.40% of families and 19.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.10% of those under age 18 and 16.50% of those age 65 or over.
|Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of January 15, 2019|
|Party||Number of Voters||Percentage|
The following sites in Le Flore County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:
McCurtain County is in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 33,151. Its county seat is Idabel. It was formed at statehood from part of the earlier Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory. The name honors an influential Choctaw family that lived in the area. Green McCurtain was the last chief when the Choctaw Nation was dissolved before Oklahoma became a state in 1907.
Latimer County is a county located in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Its county seat is Wilburton. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,154. The county was created at statehood in 1907 and named for James L. Latimer, a delegate from Wilburton to the 1906 state Constitutional Convention. Prior to statehood, it had been for several decades part of Gaines County, Sugar Loaf County, and Wade County in the Choctaw Nation.
Bokoshe is a town in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma metropolitan statistical area. Bokoshe is a Choctaw word meaning "little creek". The population was 512 at the 2010 census, a 13.8% gain from 450 at the 2000 census.
Fort Coffee is a town in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, United States. Originally constructed as a U. S. Army fort in 1834, it was named for U. S. General John Coffee, a veteran of the Seminole Wars. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 424 at the 2010 census, a gain of 2.9 percent from 412 at the 2000 census.
Heavener is a city in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 3,414 at the 2010 census, an increase of 6.7 percent from 3,201 at the 2000 census. Heavener is notable for the Heavener Runestone just outside the city limits.
Le Flore is a town in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 190 at the 2010 census, an increase of 13.1 percent from 168 at the 2000 census. Although the legal town name is spelled in the two-word form, the official federal name for the place and the postal name used is Leflore.
Panama is a town in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,413 at the 2010 census.
Pocola is a town in northeastern Oklahoma. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma metropolitan area. The population was 4,056 in 2010, a gain of 1.6 percent from 3,994 in 2000. Pocola is a Choctaw word meaning "ten", the approximate distance in miles from Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Poteau is a city in, and county seat of, Le Flore County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 8,520 as of the 2010 census.
Rock Island is a town in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 646 at the 2010 census, a decline of 8.9 percent from 709 at the 2000 census.
Shady Point is a town in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,026 at the 2010 census, a 21.0 percent increase from 848 at the 2000 census.
Talihina is a town in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, United States, its name originating from two Choctaw words, tully and hena, meaning iron road. Iron road is reference to the railroad that the town was built around. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas–Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,114 at the 2010 census, a loss of 8.0 percent from 1,211 at the 2000 census.
Wister is a town in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,102 at the 2010 census. Wister was named for Gutman G. Wister, an official of the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad (KO&G), and the father of noted writer Owen Wister.
The Ouachita National Forest is a National Forest that lies in the western portion of Arkansas and portions of eastern Oklahoma.
U.S. Route 271 is a north–south United States highway. Never a long highway, it went from bi-state route to a tri-state route. Its southern terminus is in Tyler, Texas, at an intersection with State Highway 31 and SH 155. The highway's northern terminus is in Fort Smith, Arkansas, at an intersection with Business U.S. Route 71 and Highway 255. It enters Arkansas from Oklahoma as a controlled-access highway, but the highway continues as Interstate 540 when US 271 exits toward downtown after one-half mile (800 m) in Arkansas.
Skullyville is a small unincorporated rural community in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, United States. It is about one mile east of Spiro, Oklahoma and 15 miles (24 km) west of Fort Smith, Arkansas. It was capital of the Choctaw Nation, capital of the Moshulatubbee District, Choctaw Nation, and in the late 1850s a stop for the Butterfield Stage. It developed as a political and business center of the nation before the Civil War. Skullyville was the site of the Choctaw Agency from 1832 until 1839.
The Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is a five-county area including three Arkansas counties and two Oklahoma counties, and anchored by the city of Fort Smith, Arkansas. The total MSA population in 2000 was 273,170 people, estimated by the Bureau to have grown to 289,693 people by 2007.
The Poteau River is a 141-mile (227 km) long river located in the U.S. states of Arkansas and Oklahoma. It is the only river in Oklahoma that flows north and is the seventh largest river in the state. It is a tributary of the Arkansas River, which itself is a tributary of the Mississippi River. During the Indian Territory period prior to Oklahoma's statehood (1838-1906), the stream served as the boundary between Skullyville County and Sugar Loaf County, two of the counties making up the Moshulatubbee District of the Choctaw Nation.
Choctaw Country is the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation's official tourism designation for Southeastern Oklahoma. The name was previously Kiamichi Country until changed in honor of the Choctaw Nation headquartered there. The current definition of Choctaw Country includes ten counties, being Coal, Atoka, Bryan, Choctaw, McCurtain, Pushmataha, Le Flore, Latimer, Haskell, and Pittsburg counties. The Department created the term as one of six designated travel regions within the state. However, other definitions of Southeastern Oklahoma may include additional counties.
Skullyville County was a political subdivision of the Choctaw Nation of Indian Territory, prior to Oklahoma being admitted as a state. The county formed part of the Nation's Moshulatubbee District, or First District, one of three administrative super-regions.