The Marshall County community of Oakland is situated on State Highway 70, two miles northwest of Madill. The Oakland area was settled in 1874 by Capt. Richard Wiggs, a former Confederate Army officer, who resided along Glasses Creek. His home was built in a large cluster of oak trees for which Oakland was named. Wiggs controlled about two thousand acres of land and had cattle. The Oakland post office was established on July 20, 1881, with William Grinstead as postmaster. In 1882 Wiggs completed a hotel, and a public well was dug. The well remains a historical landmark.
In 1883 Issac O. (Sac) Lewis moved to Oakland, which had been designated as the seat of Pickens County in the Chickasaw Nation. Lewis was a lawyer and a judge who held numerous positions with the Chickasaw. Ed Sacra established a ranch at Oakland in 1884. He owned Oakland's first store and built a home northeast of the civic well.
In 1890 Oakland residents constructed a school that also served as a church. In 1895 Jesse Grinstead published the town's first newspaper, the Oakland News. The paper was moved to Madill in 1900. Around 1890 Oakland had several restaurants, two drug stores, grocery and dry goods stores, a bank, three cotton gins, a blacksmith shop, and a butcher shop. A two-story building housed offices for doctors and lawyers.
The St. Louis and San Francisco Railway (Frisco) built a route through the Oakland area in 1900. Frisco officials offered to run its track through Oakland, but town leaders did not raise the necessary funds. Thus, as the line was constructed two miles east of town, Madill was born, and Oakland declined.
After registering a peak population of 701 in 1900, the number of Oakland residents fell to 248 in 1930. The town grew during the last decades of the twentieth century, however. Oakland's population reached 485 in 1970. That figure increased from 602 in 1990 to 674 in 2000. Although the town lies in a farming region, most of Oakland's employed residents worked locally or in Madill in sales and production industries in 2000.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Madill City Library Committee, Memories of Marshall County, Oklahoma: Then and Now (Dallas, Tex.: Curtis Media, 1988). "Oakland," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.
Marshall County Genealogy and Historical Society
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