The small town of Hitchita is located in northwestern McIntosh County, about midway between Checotah and Henryetta, one mile north of U.S. Highway 266 on County Road N4080. The town name honored a band of Muskhogean Indians that had been absorbed into the Creek tribe.
Hitchita was originally located one and one-half miles east of the present townsite. By 1905 it had a grocery store and post office operated by J. C. Morton. Dr. Hamilton had an office across the road from Morton's store, and P. D. Berryhill owned and operated a cotton gin. In 1907 another small settlement began to develop along the Missouri, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway, which had built tracks through the area in 1904-1905. This village was named Dunbar, after African American poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar. The post office moved from "old" Hitchita to Dunbar, and the designation changed to Hitchita. The businessmen then moved from the previous site to "new" Hitchita and continued to develop the area. During the 1920s and 1930s Hitchita had several general stores, a lumberyard, a drug store, a bank, a cotton gin, and three churches. The 1920 census recorded a population of 264 a number that declined to 120 in 1960.
Names of importance during the early days reflected American Indian heritage: Berryhill, McIntosh, Toliver, Bray, Wadsworth, McNac, Morton, Kernell, Polk, Gray, Sevier, LeBlanche, Gentry, Tiger, Harjo, Milton, Barnswell, and Cates. Influential non-Indians who settled in the area included the Lackeys, Sessions, Hoods, Duvalls, Selfs, Murrays, Hogans, Castleburys, McCullahs, Minnicks, and Womacks. In 1903 J. R. Lackey brought an eight-wagon "train" to the area, and settlers included the Lackeys, a boy named Zel Duvall, and some Castleberrys. J. R. Lackey had earlier visited the area and had purchased eighty acres from a freedman. Many of these families' descendants still live in the area. In 1914 J. R. Lackey and son established a general store. This remained under the Lackey name until 1943. The Hitchita Lackey Cemetery, one mile east of town was established by J. R. Lackey in 1908, when a grandson died.
Noted Creek artist Acee Blue Eagle was born in Hitchita in 1909. Will Sampson, artist and actor, is buried in the Graves Creek Indian Cemetery northwest of town. During the 1930s the school enrolled almost five hundred students. In 2000 the census registered 113 residents. The major buildings, in addition to the elementary school, were three churches, the post office, a rural fire department, and a senior citizens' center.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: C. W. "Dub" West, ed., McIntosh County Memories: People, Places, and Events (N.p.: McIntosh County Historical Society, 1993).
Philip B. Davis
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