History and Facts of Oklahoma Counties
Today’s Oklahoma counties did not always exist in the present form. They went through many different changes in the space of a few short years.
The Indian Territory was created from the Indian Intercourse Act on June 30, 1834 and existed until May 2, 1890.
The Oklahoma Territory existed from May 2, 1890, until November 16, 1907. There were originally 7 Oklahoma counties when it was first organized as the Oklahoma Territory in 1890.
These counties were designated numerically, 1 through 7. The first 7 Oklahoma counties were later renamed in 1907.
- County 1 – renamed to Logan County in 1907
- County 2 – renamed to Oklahoma County in 1907
- County 3 – renamed to Cleveland County in 1907
- County 4 – renamed to Canadian County in 1907
- County 5 – renamed to Kingfisher County in 1907
- County 6 – renamed to Payne County in 1907
- County 7 – renamed to Beaver County in 1907
New counties added after this were designated by letters of the alphabet. The State of Oklahoma entered the union as the 46th state on November 16, 1907.
The Oklahoma Constitutional Convention named all of the counties that were formed when Oklahoma entered statehood in 1907. Only two counties have been formed since then.
Fun Facts about Oklahoma Counties
Counties by Year
- Logan (First County), Oklahoma (Second County), Cleveland (Third County), , Canadian (Fourth County), Kingfisher (Fifth County), Payne (Sixth County), and Beaver (Seventh County) Counties was the original 7 counties created on May 1, 1890.
- Cotton County was the last county created on August 27, 1912.
County Size Facts
- Osage County (2,251 sq mi) is the largest county in Oklahoma.
- Marshall County (371 sq mi) is the smallest county in Oklahoma.
County Population Facts
- Cimarron County (2,475) is the least populated county in Oklahoma.
- Oklahoma County (718,633) is the most populated county in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma City Facts
Oklahoma’s 10 largest cities (2016 est.) are:
- Oklahoma City (643,648) is in Oklahoma County
- Tulsa (401,800) is in Tulsa County
- Norman (122,843) is in Cleveland County
- Broken Arrow (108,303) is in Tulsa County
- Lawton (93,714) is in DeKalb County
- Edmond (91,950) is in Oklahoma County
- Moore (61,523) is in Cleveland County
- Midwest City (57,308) is in Oklahoma County
- Enid (50,122) is in Garfield County
- Stillwater (49,829) is in Payne County
Boundary Changes of Oklahoma Counties from 1819 to 1912
This Interactive Map of Oklahoma Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of Oklahoma from 1819-1912.
List of Oklahoma Counties
|County||Created||Created From||Named For||County Seat||Notes|
|Adair County||16 Jul 1907||Cherokee Lands||William Penn Adair (1830-1880), Cherokee tribal leader and Confederate colonel in the American Civil War||Stilwell|
|Alfalfa County||16 Jul 1907||Woods County||In honor of William H. "Alfalfa Bill" Murray (1869-1956), ninth Governor of Oklahoma||Cherokee|
|Atoka County||16 Jul 1907||Choctaw Lands||In honor of Captain Atoka, a noted Choctaw leader and signer of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek||Atoka|
|Beaver County||23 Jul 1890||Seventh County (entire panhandle until 1907)||Beaver River||Beaver|
|Beckham County||16 Jul 1907||Roger Mills County and Greer Territory||In honor of J. C. W. Beckham (1869-1940), Governor of Kentucky||Sayre|
|Blaine County||19 Apr 1892||An original County (Part of Cheyenne and Arapaho reservation)||In honor of James G. Blaine (1830-1893); former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State||Watonga|
|Bryan County||16 Jul 1907||Choctaw Lands||In honor of William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925); former Secretary of State, famous orator and three-time U.S. Presidential candidate||Durant|
|Caddo County||05 Aug 1901||An original county (Part of Cheyenne and Arapaho reservation)||"Kaddi", meaning "life" or "chief"||Anadarko|
|Canadian County||01 May 1890||An original county (Part of Cheyenne and Arapaho reservation)||Canadian River||El Reno|
|Carter County||16 Jul 1907||Chickasaw Nation lands||A prominent family of early settlers||Ardmore|
|Cherokee County||16 Jul 1907||Cherokee Lands||Cherokee Nation of Indians||Tahlequah||Originally settled by Cherokee Indians following the Trail of Tears|
|Choctaw County||16 Jul 1907||Choctaw Lands||Choctaw Nation of Indians||Hugo|
|Cimarron County||16 Jul 1907||Beaver County||Cimarron River||Boise City|
|Cleveland County||01 May 1890||Oklahoma Territory||In honor of Grover Cleveland (1837-1908), two-time President of the United States (1885-1889 and 1893-1897)||Norman|
|Coal County||16 Jul 1907||Choctaw Lands||Coal, the primary economic product of the region at the time||Coalgate|
|Comanche County||05 Aug 1901||Kiowa County, Comanche and Apache reservation||Indian tribe, a corruption of the Spanish word "Camanche," possibly derived from Camino Ancho (i. e., broad road), referring to the great trail over which the Comanches raided from the Great Plains into the country south of the Rio Grande||Lawton|
|Cotton County||27 Aug 1912||Comanche County||The principal economic base of the county, cotton||Walters|
|Craig County||16 Jul 1907||Cherokee lands||In honor of Granville Craig, a prominent Cherokee planter and delegate in the Constitutional Convention||Vinita|
|Creek County||16 Jul 1907||Creek lands||Creek Nation of Indians||Sapulpa|
|Custer County||19 Aug 1892||Cheyenne & Arapaho Reservation||in honor of George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876), a lieutenenat colonel in the United States Army and a cavalry commander during the American Civil War and Indian Wars. On June 25, 1876, at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana Territory, he was killed along with his entire detachment in an action known as "Custer's Last Stand".||Arapaho|
|Delaware County||16 Jul 1907||Cherokee Lands||Delaware District of the old Cherokee Nation||Jay|
|Dewey County||19 Apr 1892||Cheyenne & Arapaho Reservation||In honor of Admiral George Dewey (1837-1917), hero of the Spanish-American War||Taloga||County was designated as county "D" at the time of the opening of the Cherokee-Arapaho Reservation in 1892 and continued to be known as County "D" until the general election of 1898 when it was renamed|
|Ellis County||16 Jul 1907||Roger Mills and Woodward Counties||In honor of Albert H. Ellis, vice president of the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention||Arnett|
|Grady County||16 Sep 1893||Cherokee Outlet Land||In honor of James Garfield (1831-1881), the 20th President of the United States (1881). He was assassinated six and a half months after taking office.||Enid|
|Garfield County||16 Jul 1907||Chickasaw Lands||In honor of Samuel Garvin, a prominent Chickasaw Indian and local merchant||Pauls Valley|
|Grant County||16 Jul 1907||Caddo and Comanche Counties||In honor of Henry W. Grady (1851-1889), editor of the Atlanta Constitution newspaper||Chickasha|
|Greer County||16 Sep 1893||An original county (originally named "L" county)||In honor of Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885); commanding general of the Union Army during the American Civil War and the 18th President of the United States (1869-1877)||Medford|
|Garvin County||08 Feb 1860||Cherokee Lands||In honor of John Alexander Greer (1802-1855), Lieutenant Governor of Texas||Mangum||Organized in 1886 as a Texas County. U. S. Supreme Court decided that it was not a part of Texas, after which it was annexed to the territory of Oklahoma on May 4, 1896|
|Haskell County||02 Jun 1909||Greer County||In honor of Judson Harmon (1846-1927), U.S. Attorney General and Governor of Ohio||Hollis|
|Harmon County||16 Jul 1907||Woods and Woodward Counties and Indian Lands||In honor of Oscar G. Harper, clerk of the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention||Buffalo|
|Harper County||16 Jul 1907||Choctaw Lands||In honor of Charles N. Haskell (1860-1933), first Governor of Oklahoma||Stigler|
|Hughes County||16 Jul 1907||Creek Lands||In honor of William C. Hughes, member of the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention||Holdenville|
|Jefferson County||16 Jul 1907||Greer County||In honor of either Stonewall Jackson (1824-1863), Confederate general during the American Civil War or Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), seventh President of the United States||Altus|
|Johnston County||16 Jul 1907||Comanche County and part of Chickasaw Nation||In honor of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826); a statesman, diplomat, architect, a Founding Father, and third President of the United States (1801-1809)||Waurika|
|Jackson County||16 Jul 1907||Chickasaw Lands||In honor of Douglas H. Johnston, Governor of the Chickasaw Nation||Tishomingo|
|Kay County||16 Sep 1893||Cherokee Outlet Land||Named because of originally designated as county "K"||Newkirk||Originally designated as county "K"|
|Kingfisher County||16 Jul 1907||Unassigned Lands||County was first known as County "Five," it was then named after its county seat town which in turn was named for the creek. There has been a dispute as to the origin of the name of the creek.||Kingfisher|
|Kiowa County||05 Aug 1901||Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache Reservations||Kiowa Nation of Indians||Hobart|
|Latimer County||16 Jul 1907||Choctaw Lands||In honor of James S. Latimer, member of the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention||Wilburton|
|Le Flore County||16 Jul 1907||Choctaw Lands||In honor of a Choctaw Indian family of French descent||Poteau|
|Lincoln County||22 Sep 1893||Iowa, Kickapoo, and Sac-Fox Lands||In honor of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), a lawyer and the sixteenth president of the United States (1861-1865)||Chandler|
|Logan County||01 May 1890||An original county||In honor of John Alexander Logan(1826-1886); served in the Mexican–American War and was a general in the Union Army in the American Civil War||Guthrie|
|Love County||16 Jul 1907||Chickasaw Lands||In honor of Overton Love, a Chickasaw judge and prominent landowner||Marietta|
|Major County||16 Jul 1907||Woods County||In honor of John C. Major, member of the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention||Fairview|
|Marshall County||16 Jul 1907||Chickasaw Lands||In honor of the mother of George A. Henshaw, delegate to the Constitutional Convention. that having been her maiden name||Madill|
|Mayes County||16 Jul 1907||Chickasaw Lands||In honor of a prominent family in the Cherokee Nation, two members of which were principal chiefs of the tribe, such as Samuel Houston Mayes||Pryor|
|McIntosh County||16 Jul 1907||Chickasaw Lands||In honor of Charles M. McClain, member of the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention||Purcell|
|McClain County||16 Jul 1907||Choctaw Lands||In honor of the McCurtain family, a prominent Choctaw landowning group||Idabel|
|MCurtain County||16 Jul 1907||Creek Lands||In honor of the McIntosh family, a prominent Creek landowning group||Eufaula|
|Murray County||16 Jul 1907||Chickasaw Lands||In honor of William H. "Alfalfa Bill" Murray (1869-1956), Governor of Oklahoma||Sulphur|
|Muskogee County||16 Jul 1907||Creek Lands||Muskogee Nation of Indians||Muskogee|
|Noble County||16 Sep 1893||Cherokee Outlet land||In honor of John W. Noble, a U.S. Secretary of the Interior||Perry|
|Nowata County||16 Jul 1907||Cherokee Lands||In honor of the town of Nowata, Oklahoma||Nowata|
|Okfuskee County||16 Jul 1907||Creek Lands||In honor of a Creek town of the same name in Cleburne County, Alabama||Okemah|
|Oklahoma County||02 May 1890||Original County||tTwo Choctaw words "okla" and "humma", meaning "people and red"||Oklahoma City||It was designated County Number 2 until voters renamed it|
|Okmulgee County||16 Jul 1907||Creek Lands||Creek word meaning "boiling water"||Okmulgee|
|Osage County||16 Jul 1907||Osage Lands||In honor of the Osage Indian Reservation, inhabited by the Osage Nation||Pawhuska|
|Ottawa County||16 Jul 1907||Cherokee Nation||In honor of Ottawa Native American people||Miami|
|Pawnee County||16 Sep 1893||Cherokee Outlet||In honor of the Skidi Pawnee Native American people||Pawnee|
|Payne County||23 Jul 1890||Cherokee Outlet||In honor of David L. Payne, the key figure in opening Oklahoma to white settlement||Stillwater|
|Pittsburg County||16 Jul 1907||Choctaw Lands||In honor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||McAlester|
|Pontotoc County||16 Jul 1907||Chickasaw Lands||Chickasaw word meaning "cat tails growing on the prairie"||Ada|
|Pottawatomie County||22 Sep 1891||Pottawatomie and Shawnee Lands||Pottawatomie Native American people||Shawnee|
|Pushmataha County||16 Jul 1907||Choctaw Lands||Pushmataha District of the Choctaw Nation||Antlers|
|Roger Mills County||19 Apr 1892||Cheyene and Araphoe Lands||In honor of Roger Q. Mills (1832-1911), a U.S. Senator fro Texas||Cheyenne|
|Rogers County||16 Jul 1907||Cherokee Nation||In honor of Clem V. Rogers, a member of the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention and the father of entertainer Will Rogers||Claremore|
|Seminole County||16 Jul 1907||Seminole Lands||Seminole Native American people||Wewoka|
|Sequoyah County||16 Jul 1907||Cherokee Lands||In honor of Cherokee leader, Sequoyah||Sallisaw|
|Stephens County||16 Jul 1907||Comanche County||In honor of John Hall Stephens (1847-1924), a Texas congressman and advocate of Oklahoma statehood||Duncan|
|Texas County||16 Jul 1907||Beaver County||The neighboring U.S. state of Texas||Guymon||Known as Seventh County (entire panhandle until 1907)|
|Tillman County||16 Jul 1907||Comanche County||In honor of Benjamin Tillman (1847-1918); a U.S. Senator of South Carolina||Frederick|
|Tulsa County||16 Jul 1907||Tulsey Town, Alabama, an old Creek settlement from Creek lands||In honor of the town of Tulsa, originally within the Creek Nation, Indian Territory, which in turn derives||Tulsa|
|Wagoner County||16 Jul 1907||Creek Lands||Wagoner, Oklahoma, which in turn, was possibly named for Bailey P. Waggoner, attorney of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, the line around which the town was established||Wagoner|
|Woods County||16 Jul 1907||Cherokee Lands||in honor of George Washington (1732-1799); commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, a Founding Father, and the first President of the United States (1789-1797)||Bartlesville|
|Woodward County||19 Apr 1892||Cheyenne and Arapaho Lands||Washita River||Cordell|
|Washita County||16 Sep 1893||Cherokee Outlet||in honor of Samuel Newitt Wood (1825-1891); a Kansas populist and territorial legislator||Alva|
|Washington County||16 Sep 1893||Cherokee Outlet||In honor of B.W. Woodward, a Santa Fe Railroad director||Woodward|
List of Old Former / Extinct Oklahoma Counties
Oklahoma contains some counties that no longer exist because they were discontinued, renamed or merged with another county. These are important for genealogy research purposes.
The below Oklahoma counties no longer exist:
A County, Oklahoma Territory
Created on September 22, 1893 from the former Absentee Shawnee, Iowa, Kickapoo, and Sac & Fox Lands administered by the Sac & Fox Agency. County A was renamed to Lincoln County on November 7, 1907.
B County, Oklahoma Territory
Created on September 1, 1891 from the former Absentee Shawnee, Kickapoo, and Pottawatomie Lands administered by the Sac & Fox Agency. County B was renamed to Pottawatomie County on November 16, 1907.
C County, Oklahoma Territory
D County, Oklahoma Territory
Created on September 1, 1891 from Cheyenne & Arapaho Reservation lands in Oklahoma Territory. County D was renamed to Dewey County on November 16, 1907.
E County, Oklahoma Territory
Created on September 1, 1891 from Cheyenne & Arapaho Reservation lands in Oklahoma Territory. On April 19, 1892, County E was renamed to Day County in honor of William R. Dayon.
F County, Oklahoma Territory
Created on September 1, 1891 from Cheyenne & Arapaho Reservation lands in Oklahoma Territory. County F was renamed to Roger Mills County on April 19, 1892.
G County, Oklahoma Territory
H County, Oklahoma Territory
Created on September 1, 1891 from Cheyenne & Arapaho Reservation lands. County H was renamed to Washita County on November 16, 1907.
I County, Oklahoma Territory
Created on September 1, 1891 from Kowa, Comanche,Apache, Wichita, Caddo Reservation lands in Oklahoma Territory.
K County, Oklahoma Territory
Created on September 16, 1893 from part of the Cherokee Outlet and the Tonkawa Indian Reservation lands in Oklahoma Territory. County “K” was renamed to Kay County on November 16, 1907.
L County, Oklahoma Territory
Created on September 16, 1893 from part of the Cherokee Outlet. County “L” was renamed to Grant County on November 16, 1907.
M County, Oklahoma Territory
Created on September 1, 1891 from part of the Cherokee Outlet. County “M” was renamed to Woods County on November 6, 1894.
N County, Oklahoma Territory
Created on September 16, 1893 from part of the Cherokee Outlet. In a November 6, 1894, election, County “N” was renamed to Woodward County.
O County, Oklahoma Territory
P County, Oklahoma Territory
Created on September 16, 1893 from part of the Cherokee Outlet. County “P” was renamed to Noble County, in honor of John W. Noble (interior secretary), in 1893.
Q County, Oklahoma Territory
Created on September 16, 1893 from part of the Cherokee Outlet. County “Q” was renamed to Pawnee County, in honor of the Pawnee Native American people, on November 6, 1894.