The Osage County community of Hominy lies at the intersection of State Highways 20 and 99, twenty-one miles south of Pawhuska. Hominy originated following the removal of the Osage Indians from Kansas during the early 1870s. According to Osage historian John Joseph Mathews, the Upland-Forest-People, one of the tribe's five physical divisions, encamped along a creek in the south-central part of their new reservation. They named the stream for tribal leader Ho'n-Mo'n-I'n (pronounced "Hominy" by whites) or Walks in the Night. The federal government established an Osage subagency on Hominy Creek circa 1874. The facility was relocated four miles south in 1886.
In December 1887 John M. Hale and Jacob H. Phillips were licensed to trade with the Osage. Their store, called Hominy Post, was located near the subagency. A settlement developed there, and a post office with the Hominy designation opened in February 1891. The Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad reached the community in 1903. Later acquired by the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway, the line was abandoned in 1977. The Hominy News, the town's earliest newspaper, started in 1905. The 160-acre townsite (and the adjoining 160-acre Hominy Indian Village reserve) was exempted from Osage allotment. Surveyed and platted, lots were auctioned in June 1906. Hominy had a population of 468 in 1907 and incorporated in 1908. Its economy centered on farming, ranching, and the petroleum industry. Agricultural commodities included cattle, hogs, cotton, and corn. The Hominy Oil Field was discovered in 1916. Nine local fields remained productive into the twenty-first century.
Hominy's population grew from 760 in 1910 to 2,875 in 1920. The Hominy Indians professional football team was organized in 1925. The all-Indian squad defeated the National Football League champion New York Giants in 1927 and disbanded after the 1932 season. During the Great Depression Hominy's population dropped from 3,485 in 1930 to 3,267 in 1940. A cotton oil and ice company, a hatchery and poultry farm, and three stockyards were active in 1936. The Works Progress Administration built a National Guard Armory in 1937.
Hominy's population decreased from 2,702 in 1950 to 2,274 in 1970, increased to 3,130 in 1980, and fell to 2,342 in 1990. The town had 2,584 residents, fifty-nine businesses, and a council-manager form of government in 2000. The weekly Hominy News-Progress began in 1971, and the nearby R. B. "Dick" Conner Correctional Center opened in 1979. Six local properties are in the National Register of Historic Places, including the Fred Drummond House (NR 81000466) and the Hominy National Guard Armory (NR 94000482).
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Kenny A. Franks, The Osage Oil Boom (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Heritage Association, 1989). The Early History of Hominy, Oklahoma (N.p.: Hominy Heritage Association, 1984). "Hominy," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Osage County Profiles (Pawhuska, Okla.: Osage County Historical Society, 1978). Arthur Shoemaker, "Hominy Indians," Oklahoma Today 17 (Autumn 1967).
Jon D. May
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