Historical Markers in
Delaware County, Oklahoma

Oklahoma is known as the "Sooner State" because of the land runs that occurred in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. "Sooners" were people who snuck into the unassigned lands of the Oklahoma Territory before the official opening of the land runs. The term "Sooner" eventually became a nickname for people from Oklahoma.
Delaware County, Oklahoma, has a rich and diverse history that spans back thousands of years. Before European settlement, the area was inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Delaware, Cherokee, and Osage. The Delawares were the first tribe to establish a permanent settlement in the area, which is how the county got its name. The Native American heritage is still celebrated and preserved today by many tribal communities in Delaware County.

European settlers began arriving in the late 18th century, primarily through the Cherokee Nation's forced relocation on the Trail of Tears. The Cherokee Nation established itself in the area, and during the mid-19th century, the community thrived. Several towns and communities were developed, and agriculture became a significant industry. However, this prosperous period was interrupted by the American Civil War, during which the area witnessed various conflicts and struggles.

In the late 1800s, the Kansas City Southern Railway was built in Delaware County, leading to increased commerce and growth. This also brought more settlers to the region, expanding the population and the development of towns such as Jay, Grove, and Colcord. The county continued to thrive agriculturally, with farming and ranching becoming the primary economic activities.

In the 20th century, Delaware County experienced both progress and challenges. The construction of Grand Lake, a popular recreational area, in the 1930s provided a boost to the county's tourism industry. However, like other parts of Oklahoma, the area was significantly affected by the Dust Bowl and the economic downturn of the Great Depression. Despite these setbacks, the county rebounded during World War II and continued to grow throughout the 20th century. Today, Delaware County is known for its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and vibrant communities.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Delaware County, Oklahoma.

  • 1830s - Delaware County is originally inhabited by the Delaware Tribe of Native Americans.
  • 1828 - The Delaware Tribe signs a treaty with the United States, ceding their lands in the area.
  • 1832 - The Cherokee Nation signs a treaty with the United States, acquiring the lands that include present-day Delaware County.
  • 1907 - Oklahoma becomes a state, and Delaware County is officially established as a county.
  • 1930s - The construction of dams and reservoirs, such as the Grand Lake o' the Cherokees, leads to increased tourism and economic development in the county.
  • 1950s - The creation of the Cherokee Turnpike facilitates transportation and brings more visitors to the area.
  • 1980s - The construction of the Pensacola Dam on the Grand River further boosts tourism and water-based recreational activities in Delaware County.
  • 2000s - The county's economy continues to rely on tourism, agriculture (primarily poultry farming), and manufacturing industries.