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Ellis County

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    In August 1820 an expedition led by Maj. Stephen H. Long passed through Ellis County, exploring the length of the Canadian River eastward to Fort Smith. In May 1858 a force of Texas Rangers and Indians under Capt. John S. "Rip" Ford crossed into the Indian Territory in pursuit of affiliated Indian bands accused of raiding in Texas. The Rangers attacked a Comanche village at the mouth of Little Robe Creek, in present Ellis County. Known as the Battle of the Antelope Hills or of Little Robe Creek, the encounter is notable because the Texans' illegal incursion into the Indian Territory resulted in the killing of Comanche leader Iron Jacket.
    Settlement by non-Indians transpired in the late 1800s as the region developed as a transportation corridor. From the mid-1870s to the 1890s the Fort Supply (Indian Territory) to Fort Elliott (Texas) military road crossed the area, passing near present Fargo and present Gage, southward toward present Arnett, and southwestward into the Texas Panhandle. Serving troops and supply wagons, the route also had civilian stage stops, most notably at the crossing of Wolf Creek near Fargo and near Gage. In the 1880s the Western (cattle) Trail from Texas to Kansas intersected the military road a few miles northeast of Fargo. In 1886-87 the Southern Kansas Railway, later owned by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway system, constructed a line southwest from Kiowa, Kansas, through the future county, and along the tracks emerged Fargo, Gage, and Shattuck. A large settlement of Germans from Russia around Shattuck in 1901-1902 gave Ellis County's history an ethnic aspect. By 1910 Ellis County's population of 15,375 included 526 ethnic Germans born in Russia and several thousand American-born family members.
    Ellis County's organization in 1907 involved dissolving an existing county and rearranging another. The northern part of present Ellis County had formed the southwestern corner of the Cherokee Outlet from 1835. This area had been included in Woodward County after the Outlet opening in September 1893. The southern part of present Ellis County, between the Cherokee Outlet and the Canadian River, had originally been part of the Creek lands but from 1856 to 1866 was Seminole land. After the Seminole ceded it to the U.S. government, the area was part of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation. Those lands were opened by run in April 1892. Afterward, this part had been organized into Day County, which also included northern Roger Mills County. Day County's seat of government was established first at Ioland and then at Grand. At 1907 statehood Day County was eliminated, Roger Mills County was extended northward to the Canadian River, and Woodward County was subdivided into several counties. It gave up its southwestern corner, which was combined with the remainder of Day County as Ellis County.
    Named for Albert H. Ellis, a vice president of the 1906 Constitutional Convention.


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    200 NE 18th St.
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
    Phone: (405) 522-3579
  • The Oklahoma State Archives provides an excellent library of genealogy records including: Commissioner of Confederate Pensions Applications, 1915-33, Commissioner of Confederate Pensions Pension Files, 1915-49, U.S. District Land Office Homestead Registers, 1889-1908, Oklahoma Supreme Court Applications to the Bar, 1907-42, Oklahoma Board of Medical Examiners Deceased Files, 1907-86, Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy Deceased Pharmacist Files, 1907-75, and Oklahoma Board of Chiropractic Examiners Inactive License Files, 1921-84.

Oklahoma Genealogical Society Library and Archives

  • 2100 N. Lincoln Blvd.
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105-4997
    Phone: (405) 522-5225
  • The Oklahoma Genealogical Society maintains a library and archives that the public is allowed to visit. The Library and Archives contains over 62,000 volumes with emphasis on Oklahoma, Native American, and western history. In addition to these materials -- many of which are rare and out-of-print -- the library also houses a number of special collections.
County Clerk
100 South Washington St.
Arnett, OK 73832
Phone (580)885-7301
Court Clerk
100 South Washington St.
Arnett, OK 73832
Phone (580)885-7255

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Adjacent Counties

Harper County | Woodward County | Dewey County |Roger Mills County | Beaver County
Hemphill County, Texas | Lipscomb County, Texas

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