History of Henryetta

Henryetta Historical Society - Henryetta Territorial Museum
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Hugh Henry - Founder of Henryetta Oklahoma
This is the only known photograph of Hugh Henry.

 

Beginnings

Henryetta began when Hugh Henry arrived in the area in 1885 and discovered coal in the creeks. The land where he pitched his tent belonged to the Creek Nation, 1 of the 5 Civilized Tribes. Since he was part Creek, he established his ranching operations using the coal he found to fire the forge of his smithy.

 

Coal Business

Those coal deposits came to the attention of businessmen back east, and soon the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway, the Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad and the Okmulgee Norther Railway opened several active mines throughout the area.

 

Hugh Henry Home
The Hugh Henry house with its native rock wall still stands today looking over the valley that has become Henryetta.

Furrs Settlement

A settlement called Furrs started next to the mining operations. On August 28, 1900 a post office opened with the official name of Henryetta. The name came from resident Henry G. Beard and his wife, Etta.

 

City Government

In 1901 a city government was formed, and Olin Meacham served as the first Mayor.

 

Economy

Coal, oil, natural gas and agricultural products provided the economic base for the town during the 1st part of the 20th century. Within the first 9 years of its existence, there were 14 coal mines operating here that provided a $70,000 payroll.

 

Further Economic Growth

More economic growth came to the community in the next 20 years. There were 23 industrial plants that included a dozen coal mines, broom factory, several brick factories and a bottling plant.
 

Smelter & Ore Deposits

Eagle Pitcher opened a smelter in Henryetta that took advantage of ore deposits found in the northeastern part of Oklahoma. Soon there were over 700 workers producing most of the free world’s supply of germanium. That rare metal proved to be invaluable in the burgeoning transistor and diode industries. 

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