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Maysville/Beef Creek
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It is my theory that there were two settlements side by side in this area in the old Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory days.  One settlement was on the homestead of Dave and Susan Mays and the other was along the watercourse called Beef Creek.  Beef Creek is a tributary of the Washita River.  During the early days of the range cattle industry, called the cattle trailing phase, the Washita Valley was renowned for it's stand of bluestem grass.  It has been said that in this area the bluestem grass grew so tall that a person on horseback could not be seen approaching from ground level.  It was like a screen.

The Mays Ranch was located south of Beef Creek on some low hills where the abundance of short prairie grasses were better suited for human habitation.  In the days of the open range which existed in the old Chickasaw Nation, a ranching operation required grazing land, herding pastures, pens or corrals.  The pastures and corrals existed on the Mays Ranch while the cattle were bred and fattened in the bluestem along Beef Creek.

After the War Between the States, cattle were much in demand for beef as the United States sought national healing through westward expansion.  The lush grass of south central Oklahoma was the domain of the Chickasaw Nation.  When  the central Texas ranchers began to demand access to the livestock markets in Chicago, and points north of the Red River, the Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation, Cherokee Nation, Muskogee Creek Nation and Seminole Nation with the approval of the United States Secretary of the Interior began issuing grazing permits and charging fees to trail bosses.

At this time, circa 1870, Dave Mays, a Texas supply wagon driver, married a Chickasaw woman, Susan Wilson.  She was entitled to live in and use the Chickasaw range.  They established a ranching enterprise on the rolling hills south of the Washita River in Pickens County, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory.  As often happened in open range phase of the range cattle industry, a small community of merchants and tradespeople settled around the ranch.  Many supply wagons and stagelines stopped at the Dave and Susan Mays' place as they crisscrossed the Washita Valley, thus adding to the community's growth.

When the trail herds began moving north from the breeding grounds of central Texas after the Civil War, the rank bluestem grass drew them to Beef Creek south of the Mays Ranch.  Grazing fees were assessed at Beef Creek station in the Chickasaw Nation by the Chickasaw government and the U.S. Department of the Interior.  Supply wagons for the forts and military posts stopped at both the Mays Ranch and at Beef Creek.   After 1890 and the official closing of the open range, the economic fortunes of both Mays Ranch and Beef Creek declined considerably.

Postal history of the Indian Territory indicates that before 1902 there were two United States postal facilities in this area.  One post office was called Maysville and the other Beef Creek.  As economic activity slowed, the business people decided to merge the two communities and to simply call the new town Maysville.

Business in Maysville continued much as it always had, only with emphasis shifted to individual herds rather than the open range.  Agriculture became agronomy, the management of farm land and replaced the management of livestock on the Chickasaw range.  Cattle, horses, swine and other livestock were now kept in pastures and the open prairie was bisected by fences after statehood in 1907.

During this period, after statehood, many unsavory elements entered the Maysville area.  However, the basic central core of stable people were here also.   Such early day industrialists as Earl Burford and Wiley Post made their home in or near Maysville.  Maysville grew into a thriving agricultural community with two small prosperous banks and all the necessary elements for future economic development.   This environment caused W.K. Warren to establish the Maysville Warren Petroleum Processing Plant in the late 1940's.

The Warren plants of Garvin County were sold by Mr. Warren in the early 1960's to Gulf Petroleum.  There are several Warren plants in the area.  In the late 1970's Gulf Petroleum merged with or was bought out by Chevron Oil Company.   Chevron restructured its operations and sold its Warren Petroleum plants to Texaco, Inc.  The emphasis of Warren Petroleum has always been the marketing of compress natural gas, for this is Mr. Warren's field of expertise.

From the Oklahoma Travel Handbook, by Kent Ruth, University of Oklahoma Press, 1977, Norman, OK
"Maysville (Garvin County, population 1380, at junction of OK 19 and OK 74.   Like nearby Lindsay, Maysville seems to have succeeded - where many other Oklahoma small towns have not - in making the traditional transition from agriculture to small industry.  The rich Washita River bottom lands have long made this the state's principal broomcorn producing area.  In recent years, however, this cash crop, through still important, has been pushed aside by petroleum.  Maysville likes to consider itself the 'Heart of the Golden Trend," after one of Oklahoma's more significant latter-day oil discoveries.  A Warren refinery is the town's biggest employer.

Settlement here began in 1878, making Maysville one of the county's older communities.  David and John Mays were local ranchers.  Best known native son; however, is Wiley Post, the pioneer airman who was killed with Will Rogers in a plane crash in Alaska in 1935.  Maysville stages an annual Wiley Post Day tribute to him in late November as well as traditional Fourth of July Celebration.

 

Submitted by Richard Duane Robinson of Maysville, OK

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