A town in northwestern Carter County, Ratliff City sits along the intersection of State Highways 7 and 76, forty miles northwest of the Carter County seat of Ardmore and twenty-seven miles east of Duncan. Ratliff City began as an oil boomtown after the nearby Healdton Field was discovered in July 1913. The resultant influx of people became too much for the community of Healdton to handle. Many individuals began settling outside of town in rural areas. This led Ollie Ratliff to open a garage and filling station on an intersection corner situated on his brother's land.
A grocery store and a few rental houses soon located across the road from his filling station. More businesses and houses were built and soon it became known as Ratliff Corner. Oil-field crews and their families settled in to make their homes. By this time mail was being provided to Ratliff Corner out of the town of Alma. Early-day schools were of the one- or two-room variety, but by the 1920s many had combined in a central location to have a high school. Fox Consolidated Schools were formed in 1923.
Ratliff's continued growth necessitated a post office, which opened January 1, 1953. On that occasion the community's name was officially changed to Ratliff City. The town incorporated in 1963 and formed a board of trustees. In 1970, the first year in which the federal census figures were available for Ratliff, the town had a population of 250. That number increased to 350 in 1980 but declined to 157 in 1990. The town had 131 residents and twenty-eight business establishments in 2000. Early twenty-first century employers included a valve manufacturing company.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Profiles of America, Vol. 2 (2d ed.; Millerton, N.Y.: Grey House Publishing, 2003). "Ratliff City," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.
Greater Southwest Historical Museum and Carter County Genealogy Society
© Oklahoma Historical Society