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The Pontotoc County community of Byng is situated east of U.S. Highway 377/State highways 3E/199, seven miles north of Ada. Byng came into existence in 1917 when a post office and a power plant were completed and named in honor of Sir Julian Byng, a British World War I hero. Prior to that time the surrounding territory was comprised of two communities, Tyrola, located near the South Canadian River, and New Bethel, which was six miles north of Ada.

Tyrola was a thriving community in the early 1900s with a Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway depot, a two-teacher school, and a few stores. Flood waters washed away much of the town in 1914, but it kept a post office from 1896 until 1922. New Bethel had a one-room school located about one-half mile north of the present Byng school. Tyrola and New Bethel districts combined in 1925 to become New Bethel Consolidated Number 3. The name was changed to Byng in 1929. The school had 194 students and six teachers.

Byng became incorporated in 1972 and is governed by a city council and a mayor. It presently has a city hall, a bank, and a handful of businesses. The town collects about two thousand dollars per month in sales taxes from those enterprises plus about $75 thousand annually from the sale of electricity to thirty homes in the area. Most of the income goes for upkeep of the Byng Volunteer Fire Department, which is regarded as one of Oklahoma's finest. Byng had 833 residents in 1980 and 1,090 in 2000.

Farming was the chief occupation for the area until World War II, but today most people drive to Ada for employment. Some raise cattle. A great deal of petroleum industry activity took place in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and there are still many productive oil wells in the community. Byng's four active churches are the Assembly of God, Free Will Baptist, New Bethel Baptist, and Abundant Life Tabernacle.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Byng," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. History of Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, Vol. 1 (Ada, Okla.: Pontotoc County Historical and Genealogical Society, 1976).

Dorothy Milligan

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