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HENDRIX

Located in Bryan County, Hendrix is one-half mile west of County Road N3720, less than a mile from the Red River. The town's name honors James A. Hendrix, the first postmaster and owner of an early general store. In 1908-1910 the Missouri, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway (MO&G) built tracks through the area on the way south to Texas, bypassing the town of Kemp. In 1910 approximately fifty Kemp residents petitioned the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to force the MO&G to build a side track and stop station called Kemp City at present Hendrix. The commission ordered the railroad to satisfy the request, but the MO&G appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which upheld the commission in 1911. Prior to this, in 1909 the U.S. Post Office Department had already established a post office in Hendrix's store near the site. Many Kemp businesses, including the bank, relocated to Kemp City.

For the first half of the twentieth century the town had two names, Hendrix (its postal designation) and Kemp City. In 1911 the new community already supported a telephone exchange, a sawmill, three merchants, a saloon, a barber, a livery stable, a contractor, and a real estate office. North of town the Bloomfield Indian School and Seminary still operated. The school traced its roots to 1852, when the Methodist Episcopal Church had established the Bloomfield Academy for Chickasaw women. The school moved to Ardmore in 1914, and in 1972 the Bryan County property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NR 72001055). In 1916 a tornado destroyed most of the town, including the bank, and killed many residents. Although some businesses did not rebuild, many did, and the post office was moved to the town proper.

The 1920 population stood at 130, declining to 84 in 1930 before rebounding to 145 in 1940. Agriculture, timber, and ranching drove the local economy. In 1965 the railroad abandoned its tracks through the town. In 1967 the Bryan County commissioners officially renamed the town Hendrix, after its residents petitioned for the change. Through the years the population slowly decreased; in 1960 the population was 142, declining to 117 in 1970 and to 106 in 1980. In 2000 the population stood at 79.

SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: The History of Bryan County, Oklahoma (Durant, Okla.: Bryan County Heritage Association, 1983). Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 24 May 1916 and 7 November 1967. Missouri O. & G. Ry. Co. v State, 1911 OK 65, 28 Okla. 115, 113 P. 930 (1911).

Larry O'Dell

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