Locust Grove, Oklahoma

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Locust Grove is a town in Mayes County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 1,423 at the 2010 census, a 4.2 percent increase from 1,366 at the 2000 census.[3]


Locust Grove was the site of a small Civil War battle on July 3, 1862, in which approximately 250 Union troops surprised and destroyed a similar-sized Confederate contingent, killing about 100 and capturing another 100 while sustaining only minimal losses. The escaping Confederates retreated toward Tahlequah, leading to a loss of morale and desertions among the Cherokee Confederate supporters.[4]

A small community, named for the grove of locust trees where this battle took place, formed here, in the Cherokee Nation of Indian Territory. A post office was established here on March 26, 1873. Jim Bryan moved the post office to his store in 1908, after Oklahoma became a state and Mayes County was established. In 1910, Louie Ross bought the Bryan store and moved it to his father’s ranch house. The community of Locust Grove soon relocated closer to the store, and soon had a cemetery, a gristmill, two blacksmith shops, and a separate building to house the post office.[5]

The existing townsite was established in 1912 by O.W. Killiam, a lawyer, merchant, realtor and promoter who bought the Cherokee allotment that had belonged to Elzina Ross in connection with the construction of the Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway. Killiam platted the townsite and incorporated it March 4, 1913 [5]

In 1977, this small town received national attention as the location of the Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders, in which three young girls were raped and murdered as they were camping at the nearby Camp Scott. Gene Leroy Hart was arrested for the crime, but never proven guilty. The case remains open.

A popular restaurant, “Country Cottage” was linked to a highly publicized August 2008 outbreak of E. coli O111, a rare strain of the bacterium. The outbreak resulted in more than 100 cases of gastrointestinal food poisoning and one death;[6] subsequent studies were unclear about the source of the bacteria, leading Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson to accuse the state health department of having “botched” the investigation.[7][8] There was also a meningitis outbreak in 2012. There were only two cases.[citation needed]

Native American Cherokee sculptor Willard Stone lived near Locust Grove; a museum dedicated to his work is now located on the site.[9][10]

Locust Grove is home to the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry. There is only one other poetry museum in the U.S., the American Poetry Museum in Washington DC.[citation needed]


Locust Grove is located at 36°11′50″N 95°10′1″W / 36.19722°N 95.16694°W / 36.19722; -95.16694 (36.197290, -95.166993).[11] It is 11 miles (18 km) south of Salina, Oklahoma, at the intersection of State Highway 82 and US Highway 412.[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 587
1930 510 −13.1%
1940 545 6.9%
1950 730 33.9%
1960 828 13.4%
1970 1,090 31.6%
1980 1,179 8.2%
1990 1,326 12.5%
2000 1,366 3.0%
2010 1,423 4.2%
Est. 2015 1,406 [12] −1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]

As of the census[1] of 2010, there were 5,200 people, 819 households, and 363 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,606.7 people per square mile (620.5/km²). There were 567 housing units at an average density of 666.9 per square mile (257.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 57.32% White, 32.50% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.81% from other races, and 9.15% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.42% of the population.

There were 519 households out of which 38.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 17.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.9% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the town, the population was spread out with 32.1% under the age of 18, 12.2% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 16.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $20,655, and the median income for a family was $24,821. Males had a median income of $25,500 versus $16,389 for females. The per capita income for the town was $9,191. About 22.1% of families and 23.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.8% of those under age 18 and 19.5% of those age 65 or over.

According to the September 2018 issue of Southern Living magazine, Jennifer Garner’s family farm is “near Locust Grove Oklahoma”.


Locust Grove Public Schools is a K-12 public school system located in Locust Grove, OK. It serves the students from Locust Grove, Rose, and Peggs, OK.

The school system consists of four different schools: The Early Learning Center (Pre-K through 1st Grade), the Upper Elementary (2nd through 5th grades), the Middle School (6th through 8th grades), and the High School (9th through 12th grades).

Locust Grove High School is steeped in tradition. Every year the first football game of the season is Locust Grove versus Salina in the Battle of 82 (highway).[citation needed]

See also

Battle of Locust Grove