Checotah is a town in McIntosh County, Oklahoma, United States. It was named for Samuel Checote, the first chief of the Creek Nation elected after the Civil War. The population was 3,481 at the 2000 census. According to Census 2010, the population has decreased to 3,335; a 4.19% loss.
Checotah is home to numerous antique malls, a Civil War battle site and a downtown historic district. Checotah claims to be the steer wrestling capital of the world. Early boosters called Checotah "The Gem of the Prairie".
The Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad (also known as the MKT or Katy) established a railhead on the old Texas Road in 1872 that would become the site of present-day Checotah. Although it was named Checote Switch for Samuel Checote, a later mapmaker spelled the name as Checotah. The town was chartered by the Creek Nation in 1893. The Dawes Commission held its first meeting here.
Between 1907 and 1909, the people of Checotah were involved in a dispute with nearby Eufaula known as the McIntosh County Seat War. After Checotah was designated as the new county seat, the people of Eufaula refused to hand over the county records. Soon after, a group of heavily armed men from Chectotah attempted to seize the records from the courthouse in Eufaula, but were beaten back and forced to surrender during the gunfight that followed. Eufaula was designated as the permanent seat of McIntosh County one year later.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.0 sq mi (23 km2). 8.9 square miles (23 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.67%) is water.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,481 people, 1,389 households, and 912 families residing in the city. The population density was 389.3 per square mile (150.3/km2). There were 1,576 housing units at an average density of 176.3 per square mile (68.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 67.91% White, 6.92% African American, 15.91% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 8.53% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.29% of the population.
There were 1,389 households, out of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.9% were married couples living together, 17.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 18.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.1% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 21.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 77.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 72.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $22,029, and the median income for a family was $30,741. Males had a median income of $26,094 versus $17,298 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,921. About 16.1% of families and 20.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.4% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over. The median house value is $50,500.
National Register of Historic Places
Checotah has multiple sites on the National Register of Historic Places listings in McIntosh County, Oklahoma, including the Checotah Business District (Gentry Ave between W 1st and W Main Sts., and Broadway Ave between Lafayette and Spaulding Aves), Checotah City Hall (201 N Broadway), Checotah MKT Depot (Paul Carr Dr.), the Methodist Episcopal Church (South) (419 W. Gentry St.), the Oklahoma Odd Fellows Home at Checotah (211 W North St.), and the Tabor House (631 W. Lafayette).
Honey Springs Battlefield
- American Idol (season 4) winner Carrie Underwood wrote a song on her album Some Hearts called "I Ain't in Checotah Anymore". It includes references to the local high school team (Wildcats), Highways 69 and 40, the Okra Fest (no longer held), and Eufaula Lake.
- Mel McDaniel, country musician
- Paul H. Carr, Silver Star recipient
- Woody Crumbo, Native American artist, lived and worked in Checotah during the later part of his career.
- Merle Haggard's parents James Francis Haggard and Flossie Mae Harp
- Jim G. Lucas (1914–1970), Journalist and war correspondent, winner of Pulitzer Prize in Journalism and two-time winner of Ernie Pyle Journalism award
- Tracy Scroggins, NFL linebacker
- Carrie Underwood, Grammy Award winning country musician and American Idol season four Fox winner and Country Music's reigning Queen
- "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- Chronicles of Oklahoma Archived August 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine chapter on Chief Checote. Accessed September 24, 2011.
- CensusViewer:Checotah, Oklahoma Population. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
- M. Bergstrom. "Checotah is Steer Wrestling Capital of the World". American Profile. Publishing Group of America, Inc. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
- Checotah Landmark Preservation Society, "Checotah." Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed February 20, 2013.]
- Butler, Ken (2007). More Oklahoma Renegades. Pelican Publishing. ISBN 1589804643.
- "The Jefferson Highway Route in Oklahoma". Oklahoma Members of the Jefferson Highway Association. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
- "Checotah". City of Checotah. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
- "Checotah cancels Okrafest". Muskogee Phoenix, August 16, 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
- Hunt, David C. Crumbo, Woodrow Wilson (1912–1989), Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved February 18, 2016.