Tribbey is located ten miles south of the intersection of State Highways 9 and 102 in southern Pottawatomie County. The town's namesake, Alpheus M. Tribbey, and his family came from Texas to Marietta, Indian Territory, in 1888. When the Iowa, Sac and Fox, Citizen Band Potawatomi, and Absentee Shawnee lands were opened on September 22, 1891, Tribbey staked a claim. He gave land to the Eastern Oklahoma Railway (later Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway) in 1903 and twenty-two acres for a townsite, platted in 1904. He built a two-story building that served as his residence and as the Tribbey Hotel. The post office opened on February 4, 1905, with Thomas Anderson as the first postmaster. J. W. Forster and his two sons established the first cotton gin and sawmill. The town soon bustled with two cotton gins, two blacksmith shops, a bank, several stores, and a livery.
With cotton as the main crop, farmers also raised corn, potatoes, alfalfa, fruit, and cattle. Tribbey was the shipping center for cotton until the market declined due to lack of rain and boll weevil devastation during the early 1920s. In 1919 Service Pipeline built a pump station in Tribbey, employing approximately fourteen men as well as roughnecks and pipeline workers. In 1961 the pump station was replaced by an electronic system.
Between 1900 and 1920 population increased from 200 to 500. After the Great Depression Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal programs provided employment to Tribbey citizens. During World War II residents commuted to the Oklahoma City area to work at defense jobs. Decline in population caused the railroad service to be discontinued in 1954 and the postal service to be moved to Macomb in 1958. The school was annexed to Wanette in 1967. In 1989 an eight-and-one-half-foot-high granite memorial honoring approximately two hundred local military men was erected at Tribbey Cemetery. At the turn of the twenty-first century with a population of 273, the former Tribbey Baptist Church housed a quilting fabric store, and the Santa Fe Depot, built in 1905, was Sandmans' Café and Gas Station.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Madge Mitchell, The Story of Tribbey, 1905-1988 (Norman, Okla.: Privately printed, 1988). Charles W. Mooney, Localized History of Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, to 1907 (Midwest City, Okla.: Thunderbird Industries, 1971). Pottawatomie County History Book Committee, comp. and ed., Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma History (Claremore, Okla.: Country Lane Press, 1987).
Ruby Collier Wright
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