McClain County
McClain County Courthouse
Map of Oklahoma highlighting McClain County
Location within the U.S. state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 35°00′N 97°26′W / 35°N 97.44°W / 35; -97.44
Country United States
State Oklahoma
Founded1907
SeatPurcell
Largest cityNewcastle
Area
 • Total580 sq mi (1,500 km2)
 • Land571 sq mi (1,480 km2)
 • Water9.6 sq mi (25 km2)  1.6%%
Population
 (2010)
 • Total34,506
 • Estimate 
(2019)
40,474
 • Density60/sq mi (20/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district4th
Websitemcclain-co-ok.us

McClain County is a county located in south central Oklahoma. As of the 2020 census, the population was 41,662.[1] Its county seat is Purcell.[2] The county was named for Charles M. McClain, an Oklahoma constitutional convention attendee.[3]

McClain County is part of the Oklahoma City, OK Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

The Chickasaw tribe began moving into this area in 1837, when the land had already been assigned to the Choctaws by the U.S. government. In 1855, the area became part of the Chickasaw Nation, after the two tribes officially separated. The present McClain County became part of Pontotoc County, Chickasaw Nation and remained such until Oklahoma attained statehood. Few Chickasaws lived here because of hostilities with western tribes (e.g., Kiowa). Major Richard Mason established Camp Holmes (also called Camp Mason) in 1835, near the present city of Lexington, while negotiating a treaty between the western tribes and the newly arrived Choctaws. Federal troops abandoned the camp in August 1835, after the Treaty of Camp Holmes was signed.[3]

Auguste Pierre Chouteau built a trading post at the Camp Holmes site, but it closed after Chouteau died in 1838. Randolph Marcy is credited with bringing the California Road through this area in 1849. The U.S. Army built Camp Arbuckle in 1850 to protect the road, but the troops were withdrawn to what is now Garvin County, Oklahoma in the following year.[3]

Jesse Chisholm also operated a trading post in this area around 1850. A group of Delaware Indians occupied the former camp, then known as Beaversville, but left before the outbreak of the Civil War.[3]

Montford T. Johnson, a rancher, moved to this area after the Civil War. He and Jesse Chisholm, who acted as the negotiator, obtained an agreement with the Chickasaw leaders to allow ranching on their land, provided no whites were employed. Thereafter, Johnson built a ranch and hired a Chickasaw freedman to operate it. He then established other ranches and hired another freedman to run those.[3]

The Southern Kansas Railway built a line south from Kansas to present McClain County in 1886–7, and the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway (both of which were controlled by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, AT&SF) built a line north from Texas, meeting at and founding the town of Purcell. Eastern Oklahoma Railroad (later acquired by the AT&SF) laid tracks in 1900-04 from Newkirk to Pauls Valley, passing through eastern McClain County. In 1906 the Oklahoma Central Railway (sold to AT&SF in 1914) built a line that traversed McClain County from the southeast to the northwest. It ran through Byars and Purcell, and established Washington, Cole, and Blanchard.[3]

Purcell was a starting point for the Land Run of 1889. It also was at the dividing line between Indian Territory, where alcohol could not be sold, and Oklahoma Territory, where alcohol sale was legal. The town of Lexington, across the river from Purcell, had numerous saloons. In 1899, the Purcell Bridge Company built a toll bridge across the river, profiting from the alcohol trade.[3]

Geography

Map of McClain County
Map of McClain County

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 580 square miles (1,500 km2), of which 571 square miles (1,480 km2) is land and 9.6 square miles (25 km2) (1.6%) is water.[4] The county lies largely in the Red Bed Plains region of the Osage Plains. The western part of the county is hilly and covered with black jack oak trees, while the eastern part is level lowlands. The South Canadian River forms the northern border, The Washita River flows through the southwestern corner, and is fed by several McClain County creeks.[3]

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
191015,659
192019,32623.4%
193021,57511.6%
194019,205−11.0%
195014,681−23.6%
196012,740−13.2%
197014,15711.1%
198020,29143.3%
199022,79512.3%
200027,74021.7%
201034,50624.4%
202041,66220.7%
2021 (est.)43,516[5]4.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2019[10]
Age pyramid for McClain County, Oklahoma, based on census 2000 data.
Age pyramid for McClain County, Oklahoma, based on census 2000 data.

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 34,506 people, 12,891 households, and 9,785 families residing in the county. The population density was 59.5 people per square mile (23/km2). There were 13,996 housing units at an average density of 24 per square mile (9.3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 84.5% white, 0.7% black or African American, 6.4% Native American, 0.4% Asian, less than 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.7% from other races, and 5.3% from two or more races. Seven percent of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,891 households, out of which 37.4% included children under the age of 18, 61.3% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 24.1% were non-families. Individuals living alone accounted for 20.1% of households and individuals 65 years of age or older living alone accounted for 8.1%. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.6% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 27.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.4 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $56,126, and the median income for a family was $67,948. Males had a median income of $42,262 versus $32,821 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,898. About 8% of families and 12% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11% of those under age 18 and 8% of those age 65 or over.

Politics

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of February 28, 2022[11]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
Republican 16,540 63.38%
Democratic 5,692 21.81%
Libertarian 190 0.73%
Unaffiliated 3,675 14.08%
Total 26,097 100%


United States presidential election results for McClain County, Oklahoma[12]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 15,295 79.51% 3,582 18.62% 359 1.87%
2016 13,169 78.12% 2,894 17.17% 795 4.72%
2012 11,112 77.67% 3,194 22.33% 0 0.00%
2008 11,193 75.92% 3,551 24.08% 0 0.00%
2004 10,041 72.85% 3,742 27.15% 0 0.00%
2000 6,750 64.05% 3,679 34.91% 110 1.04%
1996 4,363 46.22% 3,753 39.76% 1,323 14.02%
1992 4,377 40.62% 3,378 31.35% 3,021 28.03%
1988 4,771 56.44% 3,594 42.52% 88 1.04%
1984 6,056 69.83% 2,549 29.39% 67 0.77%
1980 4,284 56.87% 2,990 39.69% 259 3.44%
1976 2,444 37.19% 4,048 61.59% 80 1.22%
1972 4,241 73.16% 1,350 23.29% 206 3.55%
1968 2,047 36.98% 1,842 33.27% 1,647 29.75%
1964 1,638 31.05% 3,638 68.95% 0 0.00%
1960 2,547 51.85% 2,365 48.15% 0 0.00%
1956 2,081 41.11% 2,981 58.89% 0 0.00%
1952 2,326 42.08% 3,201 57.92% 0 0.00%
1948 908 20.83% 3,451 79.17% 0 0.00%
1944 1,492 31.08% 3,301 68.76% 8 0.17%
1940 1,862 33.01% 3,768 66.80% 11 0.20%
1936 1,191 22.47% 4,092 77.21% 17 0.32%
1932 818 13.85% 5,087 86.15% 0 0.00%
1928 2,399 55.07% 1,913 43.92% 44 1.01%
1924 1,233 30.74% 2,519 62.80% 259 6.46%
1920 1,733 40.32% 2,315 53.86% 250 5.82%
1916 680 25.04% 1,541 56.74% 495 18.23%
1912 583 25.63% 1,273 55.96% 419 18.42%


Economy

The county economy has been based primarily on agriculture and cattle raising. Each town had its own cotton gin early in the 1900s. Purcell had a flour mill. Otherwise, there was little industrial activity. Many county residents commute to work in the Oklahoma City area. Mid-America Area Vo-Tech opened in 1971 to provide vocational education to students. Duke Energy North America built a power plant (which it sold to NRG Energy, Inc., that year) near Newcastle in 2001. The Chickasaw Nation operated a gaming casino at Newcastle.[3]

Education

K-12 schools

School districts include (all full K-12):[13]

Libraries

Pioneer Library System operates branch libraries in nine cities in Cleveland, McClain and Pottawatomie counties.[14] The Purcell Public Library at 919 N. 9th Street in Purcell is the only library in McClain County that is part of the Pioneer System.

Transportation

Major highways

The busiest highway in the county is Interstate 35, which enters the county on the north at Goldsby on the McCall Bridge. It then parallels the Canadian River through the county seat, Purcell. It eventually turns southward and leaves the county at its border with Garvin County.

Another important interstate highway is Interstate 44, which runs through the northwestern part of the county. The H.E. Bailey Turnpike Norman Spur connects this highway to the US-62/US-277/SH-9 intersection.

SH-9 enters McClain County via the McCall bridge, duplexed with I-35, and immediately turns due west, running along the northern edge of Goldsby until its intersection with U.S. Highway 62/U.S. Highway 277, south of Newcastle, Oklahoma. From this intersection the three highways continue southwest towards Blanchard and further on to Chickasha in Grady County.

County roads

Like many counties, McClain County contains an extensive network of county-maintained roads. They form a grid with parallel roads generally placed 1 mile apart.

To dispel confusion and assist the small cities introducing new 9-1-1 systems, the county road system was recently renamed and signed throughout the county. East–west roads are numbered, with 100th Street located along the southern edge of the county, and the numbers gradually increasing toward the northern tip of the county. North–south streets are named, generally indicating the name of the road in the Oklahoma City grid that the county road best aligns with. (e.g. Pennsylvania Avenue would, if extended northward, eventually connect with the street of the same name in Oklahoma City.)

Controversy

Contaminated water supply

In 2010, the EPA ordered local water utilities to begin the first nationwide tests for hexavalent chromium 6 (AKA The Erin Brockovich Chemical). From 2013 to 2015, utilities took more than 60,000 samples of drinking water and found chromium-6 in more than 75 percent of them.[15] The Purcell water supply tested positive for an average of 11.53ppb, 577 times the original recommendation from the scientists at the respected and influential California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment of 0.02ppb.[16]

Communities

Local landmarks

Main article: National Register of Historic Places listings in McClain County, Oklahoma

The following sites in McClain County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

References

  1. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: McClain County, Oklahoma; United States". www.census.gov. Retrieved August 6, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i O'Dell, Larry. "McClain County," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Oklahoma Historical Society, 2009. Accessed April 4, 2015.
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  5. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 6, 2022.
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  8. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  10. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  11. ^ "Current Registration Statistics by County" (PDF). ok.gov. February 28, 2022. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved August 6, 2022.
  12. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  13. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: McClain County, OK" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved July 23, 2022. - Text list
  14. ^ "Pioneer Library System to buy Borders bookstore building in Norman". NewsOK. The Oklahoman. September 27, 2011. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
  15. ^ "Occurrence data unregulated contaminant monitoring rule #3".
  16. ^ "U.S. EPA, Occurrence Data for the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule. April 2016".

Coordinates: 35°00′N 97°26′W / 35.00°N 97.44°W / 35.00; -97.44