Home |  PublicationsEncyclopedia |  Etowah

The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture


Located in Cleveland County, Etowah lies on Etowah Road eleven miles east of Noble. Historian George Shirk noted that the town name was derived from a Cherokee settlement in Georgia. In the nineteenth century the area around the future town lay in the Unassigned Lands. This region opened to general settlement with the 1889 Land Run. The rural community of Etowah soon emerged on the road connecting Purcell to Tecumseh.

In 1894 the U.S. Post Office Department designated an Etowah post office. In 1898 the town had one business, a general merchandise store operated by William R. Roselius, who also served as postmaster. In 1899 the local school had forty students taught by Arthur Keenan. In 1907 the community lost its post office when the area received free rural delivery from the Noble office. In 1911 Etowah's estimated population stood at seventy-five residents, and it had two general stores, a blacksmith, and a cotton oil mill. For most of the twentieth century it remained a small, dispersed rural community. In the 1930s the village initiated a homecoming or town reunion, which continued into the twenty-first century.

In 1967 residents petitioned the Cleveland County commissioners to incorporate. The commissioners approved and ordered an election, which never occurred. Community leaders formed a municipal government and operated as a town, but the incorporation was not officially finalized. In 1983 the town trustees enacted zoning ordinances that led to a number of residents questioning the legal status of Etowah. That year a district judge ruled the town incorporated, citing that it operated as a municipality for almost twenty years without being questioned. In 1980 the population was 28, and it added five residents in 1990. The 2000 population stood at 122, with most workers commuting to larger cities. At the end of the twentieth century area children attended school at Noble. The 2010 census showed a population decline to 92 residents. In April 2020 the census reported 160.

Larry O'Dell

Browse By Topic

Urban Development



Learn More

Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 3 May 1983, 18 June 1984, and 21 September 1984.

"Etowah," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Bonnie Speer, Cleveland County: Pride of the Promised Land (Norman, Okla.: Traditional Publishers, 1988).


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Larry O'Dell, “Etowah,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=ET001.

Published January 15, 2010
Last updated March 1, 2024

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and part or in whole.