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BOKCHITO

Bokchito, located in the eastern quadrant of Bryan County at the junction of U.S. Highway 70 and the southern terminus of State Highway 22, is thirteen miles east of Durant and thirty-seven miles west of Hugo. The neighborhood of Bokchito, a Choctaw word meaning "big creek," was occupied by Choctaw during their early removal into Indian Territory. In 1900 a town coalesced and moved to the present location when a line that soon became a branch of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway (Frisco) laid tracks through the area. Armstrong Academy, established in 1844, was located close to two miles north of the town. On April 27, 1901, Bokchito was incorporated as a part of the Choctaw Nation. Early-day businesses included two hotels, two groceries, two druggists, two mercantiles, numerous cotton buyers, and other standard amenities of turn-of-the-century towns. Newspapers serving the population included the Bulletin, the Times, the Success, and the News.

Social institutions included several churches, and the Woodmen of the World and the Masons established lodges. In the mid-1930s the town acquired a steel jail from the old Mayhew court grounds that served the Choctaw Nation. In 1912 the community built a two-story school, which later burned. At the end of the twentieth century Bokchito is part of a consolidated school district, the Rock Creek District, with the town of Blue. The elementary was located in Blue with grades kindergarten through six, the high school in Bokchito with grades seven through twelve.

Throughout Bokchito's existence the area's economic base remained agriculture. Early crops included cotton, corn, peanuts, oats, hay, and cucumbers. Beef and dairy cattle also continued to factor into production.

The estimated population of Bokchito in 1901 rested at 200, and the 1910 census listed 535 residents. In 1950 there were 643 residents, which slowly condensed to a 1990 population of 576. The 2000 census reported 564.

SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: James D. Morrison, et al., The Social History of the Choctaw Nation, 1865-1907 (Durant, Okla.: Creative Infomatics, Inc., 1987). Virginia Downs Rice, "History of Bryan County Before and After Statehood" (M.A. thesis, University of Oklahoma, 1932). The History of Bryan County, Oklahoma (Durant, Okla.: Bryan County Heritage Association, Inc., 1983).

Keith Milligan

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