Located in McClain County, Oklahoma, the agricultural community of Wayne is situated on U.S. Highway 77 about eight miles south of Purcell and some forty miles south of Oklahoma City. Westward-bound forty-niners traveling the California Road comprised the first significant groups who passed through the Wayne area. The cattle drives of the post-Civil War era brought Texas longhorns to the region where they found pasture and water. An Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway station was established at present Wayne in 1887 and was named by railroad workers in honor of their hometown of Wayne, Pennsylvania. Stockyards were built as the town grew east of the tracks. After a fire destroyed the town's businesses in 1898, Wayne was rebuilt on the railroad's west side.
William F. King applied for a post office at Wayne, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, and requested that the site be renamed "King." The name change was not accepted, but Wayne was granted a post office charter on December 22, 1890, and was platted and approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior on September 10, 1902. The community prospered as an agricultural center with cotton gins and grain elevators. By 1908 Wayne served local farmers as a market for their corn, cotton, and grain. The town had three newspapers starting with the Wayne Gazette in 1909, followed by the Wayne Ignitor in 1911 and the Wayne Beacon in 1913.
Wayne remained a quiet community despite a growing population. At 1907 statehood Wayne's population stood at 198. The number of Wayne residents increased from 332 in 1910 to 429 in 1920. Numbers remained steady at 427 in 1930 and 401 in 1940. The 1950 and 1960 censuses reported 501 and 517, respectively. In 1970 and 1980 the population remained in the 600 range. Declining to 519 in 1990, the town's population rose to 714 in 2000.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hunter James, "Wayne, A Thriving Village," Sturm's Oklahoma Magazine 7 (November 1908). Joyce A. Rex, ed., McClain County, Oklahoma: History and Heritage, Vol. 2 (Purcell, Okla.: McClain County Historical and Genealogical Society, 1986). "Wayne," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.
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