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Norman in Cleveland County, Oklahoma — The American South (West South Central)
 

The Beginning of Cleveland County

 
 
The Beginning of Cleveland County Marker Front image. Click for full size.
By Brian Anderson, August 11, 2018
1. The Beginning of Cleveland County Marker Front
Inscription.  Although the Norman townsite was settled during the Land Run on April 22, 1889, Cleveland County did not exist for another year, and almost wasn't named Cleveland County. In fact, if not for the efforts of Norman's early citizens and civic leaders, Norman, Noble, Lexington, and Moore would now be part of Oklahoma County.

In 1890, the Fifty-First Congress of the United States began to draft the bill which would provide for a government in the newly settled Unassigned Lands. Early on, the location of county seats was limited to six towns: Oklahoma City, Guthrie, El Reno, Kingfisher, Stillwater, and Beaver (in No Man's Land).

The presence of a district court and courthouse was an asset to any town, and Norman Mayor D.W. Marquart and others began to lobby Congress to add a seventh county seat at Norman. Mayor Marquart sent several telegrams petitioning the House Committee in Washington; one telegram requested the county seat due to "Norman being centrally located and a town of importance commercially as well as in size and number of inhabitants."

The efforts were successful, and on May 2, 1890, President Benjamin
The Beginning of Cleveland County Marker Rear image. Click for full size.
By Brian Anderson, August 11, 2018
2. The Beginning of Cleveland County Marker Rear
Harrison signed the Oklahoma Organic Act, which created the Oklahoma Territory and established Norman as one of the county seats. George W. Steele was nominated by President Harrison to be the first Governor of the Oklahoma Territory and his first official act on May 24, 1890 involved setting boundaries for the new counties. The future Cleveland County was referred to only as the "Third County".

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The original north boundary of the Third County was located at what is now 59th Street in Oklahoma City; it was moved to 89th Street in 1891. The original east boundary was the Pottawatomic Indian Treaty line, located near present day 132nd Ave. SE in Norman; it was later moved six & one-half miles east.

Governor Steele called for an election, to be held on August 5, 1890 to choose a permanent name for the Third County. The editor of the Norman Transcript suggested "Little River County", but local political parties had other plans. The Democrats held caucuses on July 26 and chose the name "Mansur County" in honor of Charles Mansur (U.S. Representative, Missouri, 1887-1893) because he had supported the settlement of the Unassigned Lands. Two days later, county Republicans announced their choice of "Lincoln County", in honor of slain President Abraham Lincoln. After hearing the Republican choice,
The Beginning of Cleveland County Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Anderson, August 11, 2018
3. The Beginning of Cleveland County Marker
Democrat party leaders realized "Mansur County" might not fare well in the vote, and called an emergency session to choose a new name. William C. Renfrow, a prominent Norman businessman, suggested "Cleveland County", after former President Grover Cleveland.

When the election was held on August 5, the Democrats won by a wide margin: "Cleveland County” received 829 votes while "Lincoln County" received 405. (Renfrow's role in the win was duly noted by the Democrats, and when Grover Cleveland was elected to a second term as U.S. President in 1893, he removed then-Governor Abraham Seay, a Republican, from office and appointed Renfrow in his place).
 
Erected by Norman Historic District Commission.
 
Location. 35° 13.218′ N, 97° 26.487′ W. Marker is in Norman, Oklahoma, in Cleveland County. Marker is at the intersection of East Comanche Street and South Peters Avanue, on the right when traveling east on East Comanche Street. Marker is located on the courthouse grounds. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 200 South Peters Avenue, Norman OK 73069, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 1 other marker is within walking distance of this marker. Cleveland County Courthouse (within shouting distance of this marker).
 
Also see . . .  Cleveland County - The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture
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. Oklahoma Historical Society (Submitted on August 13, 2018, by Brian Anderson of Kingwood, Texas.) 
 
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Credits. This page was last revised on August 15, 2018. This page originally submitted on August 13, 2018, by Brian Anderson of Kingwood, Texas. This page has been viewed 88 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 14, 2018, by Brian Anderson of Kingwood, Texas. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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