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Located in Johnston County's southwestern corner, Mannsville lies on U.S. Highway 177/State Highway 199, seventeen miles east of Ardmore. The area served as home to Chickasaw who were removed from the Southeastern United States in the early- to mid-nineteenth century and was in the Chickasaw Nation from 1855 to 1907 statehood. The community coalesced in the mid-1880s and received a U.S. postal designation in August 1888, with Wallace A. Mann the first postmaster. The town name honored the Mann family, early settlers. In 1898, after the Curtis Act stripped the Five Civilized Tribes of most of their governmental powers and allowed towns to incorporate through the U.S. court system, the town incorporated and held its first municipal elections in June.

In 1900 Mannsville's population stood at 198. In 1901 two doctors, three grocers, two general stores, two drugstores, one newspaper, the Mannsville Times, and a gin and mill serviced the town and surrounding farmers. The Mannsville News, Mannsville Monitor, and the Mannsville Herald also reported to the town in the early twentieth century. In 1902 the Western Oklahoma Railroad, which became the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad in May of that year, laid tracks through the vicinity. The town moved less than one mile to the railroad bed. Prior to Chickasaw allotment the town was surveyed and platted, which the U.S. Department of Interior approved in August 1903. By 1911 the population had grown to more than five hundred and the town had a bank, an oil and milling company, a lumber company, a photographer, a mill and elevator company, a doctor, a confectionery, and several other retail outlets. The number of residents continued to increase, reaching 639 in 1920, but declined rapidly as the Great Depression affected the area, with a mark of 372 in 1930 and 359 in 1940.

In 1935 a tornado destroyed the school, and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) constructed a new building in 1937. The St. Louis and San Francisco Railway purchased the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad in 1940. In 1946 a lumber company, a trucking business, and a cotton oil company operated in the town, along with several gas stations and a grocery store. The 1950 population was 311, but fell to 297 in 1960 before climbing to 364 in 1970. In 1968 the town started a volunteer fire department, purchasing a fire truck with municipal funds. Throughout the twentieth century the town has served area farmers and ranchers. The Texoma/Washita Wildlife Management Area, one mile east of town, and Lake Texoma's northern-most appendage, approximately twelve miles east, attract outdoor enthusiasts, enhancing the community's retail commerce. In 1980 the population stood at 568, declining to 396 in 1990. In 2000 the Mannsville kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school system enrolled 104 students. The population had rebounded to 587.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: History of Johnston County, Oklahoma (Dallas, Tex.: Curtis Media Corp., 1988). Indian Citizen (Atoka, Indian Territory), 23 June 1898. Johnston County Capital Democrat (Tishomingo), 28 March 1935. Carl Reubin, ed., Johnston County History, 1855-1979 (Tishomingo, Okla.: Johnston County Historical Society, 1980). Stillwater (Oklahoma Territory) Gazette, 1 August 1901.

Larry O'Dell

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