The first land run in Oklahoma took place on April 22, 1889, when more than 50,000 people rushed to claim free land in the Unassigned Lands, which had been opened up for settlement by the federal government.

Payne County, Oklahoma, located in the central part of the state, holds a rich history dating back to prehistoric times. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Caddo and the Osage, who relied on the fertile land for hunting and agriculture. European explorers arrived in the 18th century, with French fur traders establishing trade routes in the region.

The 19th century brought significant changes to the area, as the United States government acquired the territory through a series of treaties with the Native American tribes. In 1889, the Land Run opened up Payne County for settlement, resulting in a rapid influx of settlers seeking opportunity on the vast prairies and fertile farmland. The county was named in honor of David Lewis Payne, a prominent advocate for the settlement of the area.

The founding of the town of Stillwater in 1884 marked a pivotal moment in Payne County's history. As the county seat, Stillwater became a center for commerce and education. It was the site of the first land-grant institution in the state, Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Oklahoma State University), which opened its doors in 1890. The college quickly became the heartbeat of the county, fostering growth, innovation, and a strong sense of community.

Throughout the 20th century, Payne County continued to evolve and adapt. It weathered the challenges of World War II and saw advancements in agriculture, industry, and technology. Today, its diverse economy incorporates education, agriculture, manufacturing, and oil and gas production. Payne County remains a thriving community, known for its vibrant cultural scene, natural beauty, and the welcoming spirit of its residents.

  • 1879 - Payne County is established on December 19th, named after David L. Payne, a Civil War veteran and leader of the "Boomers" movement
  • 1880 - The city of Stillwater is selected as the county seat
  • 1889 - Payne County becomes part of the newly formed state of Oklahoma on November 16th
  • 1894 - The first Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, later known as Oklahoma State University, is established in Stillwater
  • 1905 - The First National Bank of Stillwater, the first national bank in the county, is established
  • 1916 - The 19th Infantry Regiment is formed in Stillwater for service in World War I
  • 1938 - Lake McMurtry is created as a reservoir for Stillwater's water supply
  • 1951 - The Stillwater Public Library is established
  • 1969 - The Stillwater National Bank building, now known as OSU-Tulsa, is constructed
  • 1990 - The historic Sheerar Museum is founded in Stillwater
  • 2011 - The Payne County Courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places