Located in southern Jackson County, Elmer is situated on U.S. Highway 283, fourteen miles south of Altus, the county seat. W. T. Thaggard and J. H. Barr founded the town in 1901. In 1902 G. W. Ross established the first hotel, and a post office was opened on February 18. Benjamin F. Flowers served as the first postmaster. Named for Elmer W. Slocum, an official of the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient (KMO) Railway, the town was located in Greer County until Jackson County was carved from the southern part of Greer at 1907 statehood. The KMO (later the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway) laid their line through the town in 1908. With the local economy based on agriculture, the town soon supported two banks, two cotton gins, a blacksmith shop, and several lumberyards. Early-day newspapers included the Elmer Record and the Elmer Dispatch.
Elmer citizens unanimously voted for incorporation of their town on December 21, 1925. In 1930 Elmer boasted a population of 288. The population has basically declined through the years. In 1950 and 1970 the census reported 145 and 138 inhabitants, respectively. It reached a low of 96 in 2000. At the turn of the twenty-first century Elmer served as a "bedroom" community.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Cecil R. Chesser, Across the Lonely Years: The Story of Jackson County (Altus, Okla.: Altus Printing Co., 1971). "Elmer," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Profiles of America, Vol. 2 (2d ed.; Millerton, N.Y.: Grey House Publishing, 2003).
Linda D. Wilson
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