HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF
This is downtown Dougherty today. This old truck has been a part of Dougherty for years
First known as Henderson Flats, along the Washita River, Dougherty, OK, had a straight forward frontier beginning. The Town was originally settled by pioneers such as Mazeppa Turner, Thomas Johnson and William Nathan Price. The Community was located in the Chickasaw Nation in Tishomingo County, Indian Territory.
Mazeppa Turner was the original occupant of the current site of Dougherty. His wife being a Chickasaw woman drew an allotment on the Washita River bottom land in the heart of the Arbuckle Mountains. Mazeppa chose a hill on the east side of the river to build his home. When digging began, the workman uncovered graves of ancient Indian burial grounds. The Turners asked the Chickasaw Nation to move their allotment to an area down the Washita River, several miles, to an area known as Strawberry Flats. This was done.
Later, it is said, that the pioneer Thomas Johnson bought the land of the town site from the Indian medicine man Ishtickiyou for the amount of $200 in April of 1880. A considerable sum for the day and considering the small area purchased, approximately 2,500 feet by 1,500 feet. The Indian Ishtickiyou is thought to be buried in the Sorghum Flat Cemetery about 2 miles up river from Dougherty. (See Sorghum Flat cemetery registry).
The first buildings were erected with lumber brought in from Dennison, Texas in ox-drawn freight wagons. White Frost built the first mercantile store. His daughter, Snow Frost is buried in the Dougherty cemetery. (See Dougherty cemetery registry).
In 1887 the Santa Fe Railroad came through and the depot and post office consisted of a boxcar on the siding. The official Post Office was established on Sept. 3, 1887.
About 1887, the community of Henderson Flats became Dougherty. I have heard several stories how the town got it's name. The best one is that a railroad man by the name of Dougherty got off the train and fell in the mud. Somebody said "There lies Dougherty". More plausible, is the story that the town was named for early day Texas settler, Bill Dougherty. Yet another story says the town was named for a banker from Gainesville, Texas.
The first doctor arrived in 1890 by the name of Dr. Wood. Dr. Jesse Bird arrived in 1896 followed by Dr. Thomas Cape. The last doctor, a Doctor Johnson, departed in 1916. It is said that the Flu Epidemic of 1918 did not take a single soul. The Masonic lodge came to town in 1889 and the pioneer Mazeppa Turner was among the initial members. The lodge number was # 33 in Indian Territory. The Masonic Lodge was on the second floor above the Post Office in the new stone building in down town Dougherty.
Dougherty had the first telephone system in the county going on line in 1901. The switchboard was in the lobby of the McCollum Hotel. At this time Dougherty had two cotton gins. Mining was a huge economic boost to the community. Mining of crushed stone, sand, gravel, and asphalt employed 500 to 600 men in a town populated by 200 people. By 1943, 5 million tons of these products had been mined.
By the turn of the century, the railroad brought Sunday picnickers to the mountains for a day of sight seeing from as far away as Texas. The big attraction was "Burning Mountain". The mountain had been burning as long as anybody could remember, for centuries, Smoke and fire belched out of the mountain with no apparent explanation. It is believed, now, that the mountain had a formation of natural gas that was seeping to the surface and was struck by lightning.
A newspaper was established in Dougherty in 1890 and lasted till 1911. It was started by two gentlemen by the name of Mr.'s Granfill and Story. In 1890, A grand plan was formed to build a dam across the Washita to build a hydroelectric plant. When everyone realized that their farms and ranches were to be underwater, the plan was quickly abandoned.
By the 1950's the Town of Dougherty had never had a jail, or police force, a fire department or a mayor or city council, nor a city water or sewer service or a paved street. A citizens committee was formed and all these things were began and the 20th Century began. Today Dougherty is as fine a small town to live in as any in the country.
In the past it was generally known that if you went to Dougherty with an attitude, you would leave with an attitude adjustment. It was a very tough town.
Dougherty City Hall Dougherty, OK 73032 (580) 993-2312
Dougherty Fire Phone Dougherty, OK 73032 (580) 993-2444 (580) 993-2313 (fax)
Post Office Dougherty, OK 73032 (580) 993-2040Akers In & Out
Contributed by Dennis Muncrief - August, 2001