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SHARON

Located in Woodward County on State Highway 34, twelve miles south of Woodward, the county seat, and nine miles north of Vici, Sharon originally began as Hackberry, settled on Persimmon Creek after the 1893 Cherokee Outlet Opening. A post office was established there June 12, 1885. After the Wichita Falls and Northwestern Railway (later the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway, or Katy) bypassed Hackberry in 1912, the town relocated about five miles northwest to its present site on the railroad. Hackberry post office was moved February 24, 1912. By a coin toss, Sharon was named for one of two families that owned the new town site. Sharon's best-known early citizen, John E. "Jack" Love (1857-1918), served as Woodward County (N County) sheriff in 1893-94 and as one of the state's first corporation commissioners in 1907-12.

The first federal census for Sharon reported its peak of population of 227 in 1930. In 1940 and 1950 the town had 226 and 133 residents, respectively. The economy centered on agriculture, primarily wheat, poultry, and livestock. Local businesses included feed mills, lumberyards, grocery and drug stores, a bank, and automotive services. State Highway 34 was developed parallel to the railroad, a twenty-two-mile unpaved section was dedicated on June 15, 1935, and paving was completed in 1955. Improved transportation allowed more convenient commerce in Woodward, and Sharon's population declined. Rail service was discontinued in January 1973. From the 1950s through the 1970s Sharon was the smallest town in the world to have an independent Chevrolet agency. Its owner, Granville O. Williams, served as state senator from 1962 to 1972 and later moved his headquarters to Woodward. First postmaster Edward P. Williams, father of Granville, served as state senator from 1942 to 1946.

Through the 1940s all but a few Sharon-area residents were family farmers or blue-collar workers. By century's end most offspring of that generation had moved into middle-class and professional status. Three influences helped raise aspirations and living standards: the school, the churches, and the Oklahoma State University Extension program (4-H and Home Demonstration Clubs). Sharon school was founded in 1912, and a two-story, brick building was erected in 1914. It was razed in 1929 and rebuilt for twelve grades; after that building burned in August 1950, new facilities were built between 1950 and 1951, with subsequent additions. Sharon was long known as a regional basketball power. In 1967 Sharon and Mutual schools consolidated; the Sharon campus thereafter served Sharon-Mutual Elementary School. Churches included the First United Methodist (1912), First Baptist (1912), South Persimmon Baptist (1902) three miles south of town, and First Church of the Nazarene (1935).

At the turn of the twenty-first century, the town's population had rebounded from a low of about 97 in 1960 to 122. Remaining businesses included a post office, county highway district headquarters, and an auto repair shop. The major annual event in Sharon is the volunteer fire department barbecue in October. Memorial Day weekend of even-numbered years brings about two hundred Sharon school alumni for a homecoming weekend.

SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Grace Hunter Adams, Jack Love: Eighty-Niner (Norman, Okla.: Traditional Publishers, 1988). "Sharon," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Woodward County Family Histories, 1907-1957, Vol. 2 (Woodward, Okla.: Plains Indians and Pioneer Historical Foundation, 1975).

Richard D. Kahoe and Walter E. Adams

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