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FALLIS

Located in western Lincoln County, Fallis is situated on a paved county road five miles northwest of Wellston. Originally known as Mission, the town was established on the western edge of the Iowa Reservation. In 1894 the name was changed to Fallis for its prime developer and first postmaster, Judge William H. Fallis. Due to its location in the productive valley of Bear and Mission creeks and the Deep Fork River, the community became an agricultural trade center and was at a crossroads of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway and the Fort Smith and Western Railroad. In 1903 fourteen thousand acres around Fallis produced 10,500 bales of cotton worth a half-million dollars. In 1904 the county's first oil well was drilled nearby. At 1907 statehood the population was 321.

Fallis was home to many African Americans. In 1904 one of its two newspapers, the Fallis Blade, had a black editor. Well-known African Americans born in Fallis include Oklahoma educator Frederick Douglass Moon, U.S. Medal of Honor recipient Riley L. Pitts, and Radio Hall of Fame inductee Jesse B. Blayton, Sr. Other newspapers serving Fallis residents included the Star and the Gazette.

After its commercial prosperity ended, Fallis became known as an artist's community. Well-known juvenile fiction writers Blanche Seale Hunt and Aletha Caldwell Conner, Oklahoma poet laureate Jennie Harris Oliver, and novelist Vingie Roe moved there because of the town's rustic, inspirational surroundings. Roe used Fallis as the setting for A Devine Egotist (1916). At the turn of the twenty-first century the population had declined to 28 from 105 in 1950. Fallis maintained a fire station, with twenty volunteer firefighters, and a community building, which was constructed in 1999.

SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Fallis," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Lincoln County, Oklahoma History (Chandler, Okla.: Lincoln County Historical Society, 1988). John W. Morris, Ghost Towns of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977).

Jan Vassar

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