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ST. LOUIS

St. Louis is located approximately four miles east of U.S. Highway 177 on State Highway 59 in southern Pottawatomie County. Originally known as Simpsonville, the town began when J. R. Simpson opened a cotton gin, added a gristmill around 1906, and soon thereafter opened the first general store. Later the town was called St. Louis when Samuel Gratis Johnson, the local Unity School teacher, jokingly remarked to a passerby on his way to town that he was going to St. Louis.

The town grew slowly. A man named Pemberton ran the only blacksmith shop. In 1902 Benjamin M. Green, a Primitive Baptist preacher, arrived from Polk County, Arkansas. He had 160 acres northeast of town and dealt in hides and cattle. In 1910 he opened a gristmill in town. Until a Dr. Blunt moved to St. Louis around 1910, the nearest doctor was Dr. S. D. Dodson who came from Sacred Heart, the nearby Roman Catholic mission and school.

Frank and Lillie E. Rosamond filed the town plat on March 9, 1927. The post office was established in 1928, and the town was incorporated during the oil-boom days. With the influx of oil-field workers during the 1920s, schools met the demand of a tenfold increase of school children. To bring about better education the Unity, Collins, and Cloverdale schools were consolidated to form the St. Louis School District. The community's economy has been primarily based on raising cotton and corn and as an agricultural service center. The population declined from 493 in 1930 to 326 in 1940. By 1990 and 2000, the population was 181 and 206, respectively.

By the turn of the twenty-first century the residents had erected a sign that read, "WELCOME TO ST. LOUIS, Home of 179 Friendly People, 1 Pyromaniac & 1 Busy Body."

SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Charles W. Mooney, Localized History of Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, to 1907 (Midwest City, Okla.: Thunderbird Industries, 1971). Louise Welsh, Willa Mae Townes, and John W. Morris, A History of the Greater Seminole Oil Field (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Heritage Association, 1981).

Donna Stacy

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