Historical Markers in
Ellis County, Oklahoma

The first permanent European settlement in Oklahoma was established by French fur traders in 1719 near present-day Spiro.
Ellis County, located in Oklahoma, has a rich history that dates back to the ancient times when Native American tribes inhabited the area. The area that is now Ellis County was originally home to the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, who lived off the land and utilized the region's resources for their sustenance and cultural practices.

In the 1800s, European settlers began to venture into the area, attracted by the promise of fertile land and abundant natural resources. The Land Run of 1892 led to a surge in population as settlers sought to claim their piece of the vast open prairie. Ellis County was officially established on July 16, 1907, as part of the newly formed state of Oklahoma.

Agriculture quickly became the backbone of the county's economy, as settlers cultivated crops such as wheat, corn, and cotton. The arrival of the railroad in the early 1900s further facilitated the growth of agriculture and enabled the transportation of goods to markets outside the county. The railroad also played a crucial role in the development of small towns within Ellis County, such as Arnett and Shattuck, which served as important trading and social centers for the local population.

Over the years, Ellis County has faced its share of challenges. The Dust Bowl era of the 1930s brought severe drought and wind erosion, leading to devastating agricultural losses and widespread economic hardship. However, the resilience of the local community allowed for recovery and growth in subsequent years. Today, Ellis County remains rooted in its agricultural heritage while also embracing modern industries and businesses that contribute to its continued development.

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

  • 1850: The area that would become Ellis County is open for settlement as part of the Indian Territory.
  • 1868: The Medicine Lodge Treaty is signed, opening up the area for white settlement.
  • 1870: The first European settlers arrive in the area.
  • 1882: Ellis County is formally established.
  • 1898: The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad is built through Ellis County, leading to increased growth and development.
  • 1907: Oklahoma becomes a state, and Ellis County is part of the new state.
  • 1930s: The Great Depression hits Ellis County hard, causing economic hardship for many residents.
  • 1940s: Ellis County experiences a population decline due to the effects of World War II, as many young men leave to serve in the military.
  • 1950s-1960s: Ellis County sees a period of growth and prosperity, with the oil industry playing a significant role in the local economy.
  • 1980s-1990s: The oil industry experiences a decline, leading to economic challenges for Ellis County.
  • Present: Ellis County continues to be a rural area with agriculture and energy production as key industries.