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

McCurtain County, Oklahoma

McCurtain County Education, Geography, and History

McCurtain County, Oklahoma Courthouse

McCurtain County is located in the southeastern corner of the state of Oklahoma. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 33,151. Its county seat is Idabel. It was formed at statehood from part of the earlier Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory. The name honors an influential Choctaw family that lived in the area. Green McCurtain was the last chief when the Choctaw Nation was dissolved before Oklahoma became a state in 1907.

Etymology - Origin of McCurtain County Name

Named for a prominent Choctaw family, three members of which, brothers, were principal chiefs of the Choctaw Nation.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

McCurtain County History

The area now included in McCurtain County was part of the Choctaw Nation before Oklahoma became a state. In the 1820s, it was a major part of Miller County, Arkansas. The area was sparsely populated, with no roads or bridges and no towns. There were post offices established at small trading posts along the various trails. Towns began to form when the Arkansas and Choctaw Railway (later the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway) was built across the area in 1902. Between 1910 and 1921 the Choctaw Lumber Company laid tracks for the Texas, Oklahoma and Eastern Railroad from Valliant, Oklahoma to DeQueen, Arkansas. These roads still served the area at the beginning of the 21st Century.

Initially, the county experienced difficulty functioning because of lack of funds. When the Choctaws accepted their land allotments, their homesteads were not taxable for twenty-one years. No roads were built until a decade after statehood. There were no bridges, so ferries carried people and vehicles across the major streams.

Oklahoma History Center
At 1907 statehood McCurtain County was established with Idabel designated as the county seat. The name McCurtain honored a prominent Choctaw family, three of whom had served as principal chiefs of the tribe. The county occupies the extreme southeastern corner of the state, sharing boundaries with Arkansas on the east and Texas on the south. It adjoins Le Flore County on the north and Pushmataha and Choctaw counties on the west. McCurtain County possesses a total land and water area of 1,901.32 square miles and is the third largest county in the state. At the end of the twentieth century the incorporated towns were Broken Bow, Garvin, Haworth, Idabel (county seat), Millerton, Valliant, and Wright City.

The county's topography is varied, extending from the rugged foothills of the Ouachita Mountains in the north to the fertile Coastal Plain region along the Red River, which forms the southern boundary. The land slopes generally downward from the northwest to the southeast. Four rivers provide drainage, flowing to the south and southeast: the Red, Little, Mountain Fork, and Glover. The Little and Mountain Fork have been dammed to create two major reservoirs, which provide an abundance of water for both domestic and industrial use. The climate of McCurtain County is generally warm, moist, and subtropical with mild winters and a growing season averaging about two hundred days. Precipitation averages about fifty inches per year...McCURTAIN COUNTY

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,902 square miles (4,930 km2), of which 1,850 square miles (4,800 km2) is land and 52 square miles (130 km2) (2.8%) is water.

It is the third-largest county in Oklahoma by area. The terrain of McCurtain county varies from the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains in the northern part of the county to the rich Red River bottoms of the southern part. Sections of the Mountain Fork and Little River drainages lie in McCurtain county. Glover River originates in McCurtain County and flows 33.2 miles (53.4 km) to its confluence with Little River southeast of Wright City. Broken Bow Lake was created in 1968 by damming the Mountain Fork River. Mountain Fork river is one of the two year round trout fisheries in the state. The lowest point in the state of Oklahoma is located on the Little River in McCurtain County, where it flows out of Oklahoma and into Arkansas.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Le Flore County (north)
  • Polk County, Arkansas (northeast)
  • Sevier County, Arkansas (east)
  • Little River County, Arkansas (southeast)
  • Bowie County, Texas (south)
  • Red River County, Texas (southwest)
  • Choctaw County (west)
  • Pushmataha County (northwest)


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