Located in Hughes County, Atwood is situated thirteen miles southeast of Holdenville, the county seat, at the intersection of State Highways 1 and 48. On January 23, 1897, a post office was established at Newburg (Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory), a settlement located approximately one mile north of the future Atwood. Henry S. Halloway served as Newburg's first postmaster. The Missouri, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway (the Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway after 1919) built a line from Muskogee to the Red River, bypassing Newburg. Thus, some of Newburg's residents moved one mile south to take advantage of the rail system. In December 1909 they named their new settlement Atwood for Chester Coleman Atwood, one of the townsite owners.
The community served as a trade center for the surrounding agricultural area, where cotton and fruits were grown. During the first decade of the twentieth century citizens supported a weekly newspaper, the Atwood Herald. In 1910 a grist mill, powered by a gasoline engine, was erected. In 1913 Atwood had a population of approximately 150 who patronized a bank, a drug store, a livery, and five general stores. Travelers received accommodations at a hotel and dined at a restaurant. In the 1930s the town continued to support a cotton gin and a mill. In 1993 Atwood was one of forty-eight Oklahoma communities to receive a federally funded grant for improvement projects. The town received $75,000 to modernize their fire protection. Atwood was incorporated on August 9, 1994, and the population stood at 113 in 2000.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Atwood (Oklahoma) Herald, September 1909-July 1910. "Atwood," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. R. L. Polk & Co.'s Oklahoma State Gazetteer and Business Directory (Memphis: R. L. Polk and Co., 1909, 1913).
Fran Cook and Spencer P. Petete
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