Located in northeastern Hughes County, Oklahoma, fourteen miles east of Wetumka on State Highway 9, Dustin was first called Watsonville, where a post office,was established on April 18, 1898, in the Creek Nation. Marion J. Butler was the first postmaster. The site is approximately four miles south of the North Canadian River. The postal designation was changed to Spokogee on June 27, 1902, with Butler still postmaster, but the location was moved to two miles north of the present townsite. After the Ft. Smith and Western Railroad built its Fort Smith-Guthrie line through the area in 1903, the town and post office were both officially changed to Dustin on May 9, 1904, probably to honor Henry C. Dustin of Cleveland, Ohio, an official of the railway. George W. Beard became postmaster at this time. A local legend also holds that "dustin" was an Indian word for "prairie town." The Missouri, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway (MOG, after 1919 the Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway Company) built a north-south line through Dustin in 1905.
Dustin emerged as a trade center for a surrounding agricultural area. Among the community's first businesses were two banks, two drug stores, three doctors, and two hardware stores. A school was built but burned down just before it went into operation. It was replaced, and the first teachers were Clarence Robinson and a Mr. Luttrell. In the early 1900s residents operated four barber shops, three drug stores, two hotels, three banks, a livery stable, two cotton gins, an ice plant/bottling plant, and a wagon factory. The MOG maintained a railroad round house. Several newspapers, including the Dustin Dispatch, the Dustin News, and the Dustonian, informed the citizens in the early decades of the twentieth century. The city installed a municipal water system in 1912. Lake Dustin, a spring-fed municipal reservoir with a capacity of 3.2 million gallons, was built in the 1930s. A new municipal water supply project was begun in 2003.
Dustin's population in 1910 stood at 579 and in 1920 peaked at 713. A steady decline brought a low of 457 by 1960. The figure stabilized, with 501 residents recorded in 1970, 429 in 1990, and 452 in 2000. The Dustin Agricultural Building, a Works Progress Administration-built facility, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NR 88001385).
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 30 April 1961. Dustin (Oklahoma) Dispatch, December 1904-December 1912. "Dustin," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, Dustin, Oklahoma, May 1920.
Fran Cook and Spencer P. Petete
© Oklahoma Historical Society