Oklahoma Counties
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Oklahoma Counties

There are seventy-seven counties in Oklahoma. Oklahoma originally had seven counties when it was first organized as the Oklahoma Territory. These counties were designated numerically, first through seventh. New counties added after this were designated by letters of the alphabet. The first seven counties were later renamed. 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

Beckham County, Oklahoma

Beckham County Education, Geography, and History

Beckham County, Oklahoma Courthouse

Beckham County is a county located on the western border of the state of Oklahoma. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 22,119. Its county seat is Sayre. Founded upon statehood in 1907, Beckham County was named for J. C. W. Beckham, who was Governor of Kentucky and the first popularly elected member of the United States Senate from Kentucky. Beckham County comprises the Elk City, OK Micropolitan Statistical Area.

(Beckham County, Kentucky was organized and named on February 9, 1904, but was dissolved April 29, 1904, by the Kentucky Court of Appeals because it was not created in conformance with state law).

Etymology - Origin of Beckham County Name

Named by the Constitutional Convention for Hon. J. C. W. Beckham of Kentucky, former governor and U. S. Senator from that state, at the instance of a native of Kentucky who was a delegate in the Constitutional Convention.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Beckham County History

In 1855, the US government leased the western part of the formerly reserved Choctaw and Chickasaw Nation lands, which became known as the Leased District. After the Civil War, the two nations were forced to cede the land to the US government under terms of new treaties required because they had been allies of the Confederacy. Under the treaties they were also required to emancipate their slaves and provide them with citizenship in their nations.

In 1869, the former Leased District was designated by the President as the Cheyenne Arapaho Reservation, following their removal from further west. During the 1880s, Texas cattlemen leased grazing land from the Cheyenne and Arapaho.

Under the Dawes Act of 1891, the government split up such communal lands, allocating plots to individual households of various tribes. After distribution was made, the government declared any additional lands on the reservation to be "surplus". In 1892, the government opened such surplus land to settlement by non-Indians, attracting numerous European-American settlers and immigrants.

The area was designated as County F in the newly created Oklahoma Territory, until it was renamed Roger Mills County. At statehood, portions of land from both Roger Mills and Greer counties were joined to form Beckham County. Sayre was named as the temporary county seat. A 1908 election after statehood made Sayre, Oklahoma the permanent seat.

In 1910, a piece of southern Beckham County was returned to Greer County. The Gannett survey of 1927-1929 found that the true 100th Meridian, the boundary between Texas and western Oklahoma, was 3,800 feet (1,200 m) farther east than previously thought. The US Supreme Court ruled that the strip of land must be returned to Texas, thereby reducing Beckham County's area slightly.

Oklahoma History Center
Established at 1907 statehood, Beckham County is situated in southwestern Oklahoma. It was formed from the northern portion of Greer County and the southern portion of Roger Mills County. Named in honor of Gov. John C. Beckham of Kentucky, the county is bordered by Roger Mills County on the north, Custer and Washita counties on the east, Greer and Harmon counties on the south, and Wheeler and Collingsworth counties, Texas, on the west. The county is drained by the North Fork of the Red River. Among the numerous tributaries that flow into the North Fork are the Timber, Sweetwater, and Buffalo creeks. The northwestern corner of the county lies within the High Plains, while the remainder of the county lies in the Gypsum Hills physiographic region....BECKHAM COUNTY

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 904 square miles (2,340 km2), of which 902 square miles (2,340 km2) is land and 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) (0.2%) is water. The county is drained by the North Fork of the Red River and its tributaries: the Timber, Sweetwater, and Buffalo creeks. The northwestern part of the county is part of the High Plains. The rest of the county is part of the Gypsum Hills physiographic region.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Roger Mills County (north)
  • Custer County (northeast)
  • Washita County (east)
  • Kiowa County (southeast)
  • Greer County (south)
  • Harmon County (southwest)
  • Collingsworth County, Texas (west)
  • Wheeler County, Texas (northwest)


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