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Caney is located approximately fourteen miles southeast of Tushka, on County Road E1920, just east of U.S. Highway 69/75 and along the Union Pacific Railway line in Atoka County. A wooded area with flowing streams and fresh-water springs attracted the early townbuilders. The village received its name from the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railway (or Katy) switch, called "Caney Switch." The town's first post office was established on June 20, 1888. In 1904 Harvey Brown and R. R. Hall organized the First Bank of Caney. The original school was a one-room building located on the south side of town. In 1910 a two-story school was built on the north side of the community. The 1910 population stood at 295 residents. In 1911 Caney boasted five general stores, a cotton gin, two drugstores, a lumberyard, a restaurant, and the bank. The town has supported four newspapers: the Choctaw News, the Caney News, the Caney Democrat, and the Caney Leader; none continued into the 1920s.

Municipal court was held in the basement of a two-story building called Akers Hall. In the early 1920s Caney added two more banks and two hotels. In 1920 the population peaked at 432 residents of a thriving, growing city. However, the Great Depression, three major fires, and two major tornadoes stunted the town's growth. With each natural disaster, Caney has lost its business interests. In 1930 the population had dropped to 274, then to 252 in 1950, and to a low count of 128 in 1960. Since 1970 the census figure has consistently remained around two hundred. In 1983 the Cimarron Cellars Winery began producing wine in the area, continuing its operation into the twenty-first century. In 2000 the town had a population of 199.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bernice Love, "The Wines of Caney," Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City) , 27 August 1987. Tales of Atoka County Heritage ([Atoka, Okla.]: Atoka County Historical Society, 1982-83.). William H. Underwood, "A History of Atoka County" (M.A. thesis, University of Oklahoma, 1931).

Cindy Denison

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