Located in Okfuskee County, Bearden is situated approximately four miles south of Interstate 40 on State Highway 48 and ten miles southwest of Okemah, the county seat. The town bears the name of Jessie Simpson Bearden from Alabama, who in 1896 moved to land south of the North Canadian River in Indian Territory, built a two-room log cabin, and established a store and post office in his home. In 1909 Bearden had a population of 75. It has always been a small town but at one time sustained a bank, a cotton gin, a post office, two automobile repair garages, a blacksmith shop, a barber shop, two doctors' offices, and five stores. The town served the surrounding farms and ranches and later the area's oil industry.
In 1980 Bearden had 78 citizens, and at the turn of the twenty-first century the population had risen to 140. Like other Okfuskee County towns, it was surrounded by cattle ranches. The town had an elementary school, a volunteer fire department, and several churches.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Oklahoma State Gazetteer and Business Directory (Detroit, Mich.: R. L. Polk and Co., 1909). Profiles of America, Vol. 2 (2d ed.; Millerton, N.Y.: Grey House Publishing, 2003).
Sandra Boyd and Jan Maples
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