Oktaha is in Muskogee County, Oklahoma, fourteen miles south-southwest of Muskogee and one mile east of U.S. Highway 69. It is an agricultural community originally located on the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway. A boxcar served as the first train depot. The town has had a multicultural mix of white, African American, and American Indian residents from inception, with African Americans comprising 18 percent of its 1907 population of 286.
On August 6, 1900, the Oktaha Switch post office opened. It was named after Oktarharsars Harjo, a Creek citizen. Oktaha was incorporated three years later and a mayor-council form of government prevailed through the twentieth century. Its population rose to 335 in 1920 and then began a sixty-year decline. Since 1980 its population has again risen to 327 in 2000. Many Oktaha citizens have excelled locally and nationally as rodeo performers. Ted Yochum, who moved to Oktaha after establishing his rodeo career, became a world-champion bulldogger. Renowned artist and sculptor Willard Stone hailed from Oktaha.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: John Downing Benedict, Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma, Including the Counties of Muskogee, McIntosh, Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Rogers, Washington, Nowata, Craig, and Ottawa, Vol. 1 (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1922). James M. Etter, Oktaha: A Track in the Sand (Oktaha, Okla.: Oktaha Historical Society, 1982).
Wallace F. Waits, Jr.
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