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RINGWOOD

Located in northeastern Major County, Ringwood is situated at the junction of U.S. Highway 412 and State Highway 58. The area around Ringwood was settled following the Cherokee Outlet Opening on September 16, 1893. Before Major County was created at 1907 statehood, Ringwood lay within Woods County. John Daniel Branham, the first postmaster, selected the name Ringwood for the town, because the townsite was ringed by woods from the northwest to the southeast. He submitted the name, and the post office opened on March 23, 1894. Although the first church building, which housed a Friends Church (Quaker), was erected in 1898, the town's first organized church, a Presbyterian church, began meeting in the home of Rev. C. B. Parkhurst in 1895. In 1959 Elder Zella Veatch accepted the Rural Church of Distinction Award from the Synod of the Sun (comprised of Presbyterians in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas) on behalf of the congregation.

As in other towns in Major County, transportation and communication services had an impact on economic development. In 1901 the Enid and Anadarko Railway (later the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway) brought rail service through Ringwood, which resulted in a surge in the population of the town and surrounding area from a few families to about three hundred individuals. In 1905 W. L. Miller established a telephone exchange over barbed wire that served four customers. By 1913 the service had grown to include thirteen lines of multiple parties.

Agricultural products, cattle, and petroleum have all been important to Ringwood's development. In the first half of the twentieth century, the Vernon Black Creamery was significant to the economy as was the local grain elevator. In 1952 the Warren Petroleum Corporation opened their Ringwood plant, and by 1961 it was the largest single employer in the county outside the county seat of Fairview.

Long-time residents continue to recall the "Black Sunday" dust storms of April 14, 1935. In addition to frequent spring flooding, these natural disasters shaped both the landscape and character of the settlers. Ringwood is also well known in the region as a producer of top quality watermelons. The local fair, known as the Watermelon Festival, features a Watermelon Queen and promotes other local produce.

At 1907 statehood Ringwood had 225 residents. Numbers rose to 271 in 1910, but fell to 265 in 1930. After reaching 331 in 1950, the population dropped below 300 until 1980 when it reached 389. In 2000 Ringwood had 424 inhabitants and a school system offering prekindergarten through high school. Of those employed 92.9 percent commuted to work in Enid and other job centers. D. G. Harned, a Democrat from Ringwood, served at the 1906 Oklahoma Constitutional Convention.

SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Seth K. Corden and William B. Richards, comps., The Oklahoma Red Book, Vol. 2 (Tulsa, Okla: Democrat Printing Co., 1912). Gloss Mountain Country: A History of Major County (Fairview, Okla.: Major County Historical Society, 1977). Ed Montgomery, "Major County No. 65 on Tags, But No. 1 to Residents," Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 10 December 1961. Profiles of America, Vol. 2 (2d ed.; Millerton, N.Y.: Grey House Publishing, 2003).

Ross Peterson-Veatch

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