The incorporated Hughes County town of Yeager is located at the intersection of County Roads E1280/N3750, five miles west of U.S. Highway 75 and six miles northeast of Holdenville, the county seat. In Oklahoma Place Names, historian George Shirk asserts that the town was named for Creek allottee Hattie Yargee and that the Post Office Department changed the spelling to Yeager when the post office was established February 6, 1902.
Yeager developed along the St. Louis, Oklahoma and Southern Railway (later the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway) built between 1900 and 1901. Extant copies of the Yeager Record indicate that the newspaper served the community between 1905 and 1906. In 1917 the Yeager oil and gas field opened and initially produced twenty-five to five hundred barrels per day. As the Yeager field developed during the 1920s, the railroad's revenue dramatically increased by transporting lumber, rig timber, and oil-field equipment to the community. By 1918 citizens had established a Baptist Church and a Church of Christ. C. E. Taylor and W. R. Barney served as president and cashier, respectively, of the Farmers' Bank. With two cotton gins, a gristmill, and two blacksmith shops, the town supported the surrounding agricultural area. In the mid-1940s Fred A. Ashburn and C. D. Wood operated grocery and filling stations. By the mid-1950s Yeager had a grocery and a filling station. After a fire destroyed the school building on January 18, 1957, voters approved a bond issue to rebuild the facility.
In 1918 R. L. Polk's Oklahoma State Gazetteer and Business Directory estimated Yeager's population at 350. The first federal census indicated a population of 300 in 1930. Through the next three decades the number of citizens declined from 284 in 1940 to 107 in 1970. Population increased to 138 in 1980 only to drop to 40 in 1990 and 67 in 2000. At the turn of the twenty-first century, Yeager served as a "bedroom" community for workers who commuted to Holdenville and Wetumka. S
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Profiles of America, Vol. 2 (2d ed.; Millerton, N.Y.: Grey House Publishing, 2003). "Yeager," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.
Linda D. Wilson
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