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Located in Cleveland County, Etowah lies on Etowah Road eleven miles east of Noble. Historian George Shirk noted that the town name was derived from a Cherokee settlement in Georgia. In the nineteenth century the area where the town developed stood in the Unassigned Lands. This region opened to general settlement with the 1889 Land Run. The rural community of Etowah soon emerged on the road connecting Purcell to Tecumseh.

In 1894 the U.S. Post Office Department designated an Etowah post office. In 1898 the town had one business, a general merchandise store operated by William R. Roselius, who also served as postmaster. In 1899 the local school had forty students taught by Arthur Keenan. In 1907 the community lost its post office, when the area received free rural delivery from the Noble office. In 1911 Etowah's estimated population stood at seventy-five residents, and it had two general stores, a blacksmith, and a cotton oil mill. For most of the twentieth century it remained a small, dispersed rural community. In the 1930s the village initiated a homecoming or town reunion, which continued into the twenty-first century.

In 1967 residents petitioned the Cleveland County commissioners to incorporate. The commissioners approved and ordered an election, which never occurred. Community leaders formed a municipal government and operated as a town, but the incorporation was not officially finalized. In 1983 the town trustees enacted zoning ordinances that led to a number of residents questioning the legal status of Etowah. That year a district judge ruled the town incorporated, citing that it operated as a municipality for almost twenty years without being questioned. In 1980 the population was twenty-eight, and it added five residents in 1990. The 2000 population stood at 122, with most workers commuting to larger cities. At the end of the twentieth century area children attended school at Noble.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 3 May 1983, 18 June 1984, and 21 September 1984. "Etowah," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Bonnie Speer, Cleveland County: Pride of the Promised Land (Norman, Okla.: Traditional Publishers, 1988).

Larry O'Dell

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