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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture


Tribbey is located ten miles south of the intersection of State Highways 9 and 102 in southern Pottawatomie County. The town's namesake, Alpheus M. Tribbey, and his family came from Texas to Marietta, Indian Territory, in 1888. When the Iowa, Sac and Fox, Citizen Band Potawatomi, and Absentee Shawnee lands opened for settlement on September 22, 1891, Tribbey staked a claim. He gave land to the Eastern Oklahoma Railway (later Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway) in 1903 and selected twenty-two acres for a townsite, platted in 1904. He built a two-story building that served as his residence and as the Tribbey Hotel. The post office opened on February 4, 1905, with Thomas Anderson as the first postmaster. J. W. Forster and his two sons established the first cotton gin and sawmill. The town soon bustled with two cotton gins, two blacksmith shops, a bank, several stores, and a livery.

With cotton as the main crop, farmers also raised corn, potatoes, alfalfa, fruit, and cattle. Tribbey was the shipping center for cotton until the market declined due to lack of rain and boll weevil devastation during the early 1920s. In 1919 Service Pipeline built a pumping station in Tribbey, employing approximately fourteen men as well as roughnecks and pipeline workers. In 1961 the station was replaced by an electronic system.

Between 1900 and 1920 population increased from approximately two hundred to approximately five hundred. After the Great Depression Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal programs provided employment to Tribbey citizens. During World War II residents commuted to the Oklahoma City area to work in defense jobs. Decline in population caused rail service to be discontinued in 1954 and postal service to be moved to Macomb in 1958. The school was annexed to Wanette in 1967. In 1989 an eight-and-one-half-foot-tall granite memorial was erected at Tribbey Cemetery in honor of approximately two hundred local military men. Tribbey incorporated in 1979, and the census counted populations of 215 in 1980 and 288 in 1990. With a population of 273 at the turn of the twenty-first century, Tribbey remained viable. The former Tribbey Baptist Church housed a quilting fabric store, and inside the Santa Fe Depot, built in 1905, was Sandmans' Café and Gas Station. The 2010 census found 391 people living in Tribbey.

Ruby Collier Wright


Madge Mitchell, The Story of Tribbey, 1905–1988 (Norman, Okla.: Privately printed, 1988).

Charles W. Mooney, Localized History of Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, to 1907 (Midwest City, Okla.: Thunderbird Industries, 1971).

Pottawatomie County History Book Committee, comp. and ed., Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma History (Claremore, Okla.: Country Lane Press, 1987).

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The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Ruby Collier Wright, “Tribbey,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=TR012.

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