Council Hill is twenty-five miles south of Muskogee on U.S. Highway 72 just above the southwestern dividing line between Muskogee and McIntosh counties. The town was named for a well-known landmark of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation five miles west of town, the location of their first capital in Indian Territory called Weklwa Hulwe or "High Spring." A Creek Council House was built about 1840 after the majority of Creeks emigrated from the southeastern United States in 1836. They used smoke signals from the hill for announcing general council meetings to other Creek towns. In 1861 it became headquarters for Col. Daniel McIntosh of the Creek regiment of the Confederate States of America.
In 1905 the first post office at Council Hill was established with Emmanuel B. Case as postmaster. Arrival of the Missouri, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad (later Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad) before 1907 statehood made it possible to ship corn, cotton, potatoes, wheat, and oats to northern and eastern markets. Cotton was the main cash crop for farmers. Raising cattle was also a key enterprise, and investors constructed a stockyard near the railroad station. However, a tornado struck in 1917 and many buildings were never rebuilt. Erected in 1907 with a bell tower, the Council Hill Methodist Church survived to be the oldest usable structure in town. The 1910 installation of the Oklahoma Pipeline Company relay (pump) station provided some employment for local residents. The pipe carried oil from the Glenn Pool oil field to the Gulf Coast.
There were two weekly newspapers in early Council Hill: the Council Hill Eagle (1905-1907) with H. C. Chapman, editor, and the Council Hill Times (1913-16) with H. A. Halstrom, editor. Businesses in 1911and 1912 included Case General Store, Central Mill and Elevator Company, Citizens State Bank, Council Hill Drug Company, Council Hill Hardware Company, Gloyd Lumber Company, Hawkins and Whaley Grocery and Feed Store, New State Mercantile Company, Oklahoma Implement and Hardware Company, L. G. Park's barbershop, Red Star General Store, Wollison Cotton Gin, and Westlake Restaurant. There were also two doctors, a contractor, a butcher, and a blacksmith. Council Hill sheltered 300 residents in 1910, 196 in 1930, 171 in 1940, and 139 in 1990.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: George H. Shirk, Oklahoma Place Names (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965). Angie Debo, The Road to Disappearance: A History of the Creek Indians (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1941). John Downing Benedict, Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma, , Including the Counties of Muskogee, McIntosh, Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Rogers, Washington, Nowata, Craig and Ottawa, Vol. 1 (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1922).
© Oklahoma Historical Society