Kildare History


"This information was gathered from various sites throughout the Internet. The numbers behind the sentences correspond to the web page I got the information from during my research. It is a conglomeration of information that has it's resources on the corresponding webpages. Please visit those web pages as the people there have done hard work in making history more available to all of us.

Paul Reeves

At the bottom of the page are 'Places of Interest' where I have captured some of the history of the local area.

Located in Kay County, Kildare is situated one mile east of the junction of U.S. Highway 77 and State Highway 11. By 1892, one year before the Cherokee Outlet Opening, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway had built a section house, a tool house, an agent's cottage, and a depot near the future town's site.[3] The community was named for the town and county in Ireland.

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Kildare is a town in Kay County, in the Ponca City metro area that was platted out on Chief Bushyhead's land allotment. The community was named for the town and county in Ireland,[1] Kildare, county, 654 sq mi, E central Republic of Ireland. The county seat is Kildare.

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With the railroad's presence, the location became a potential development area. Before the land run of September 1893, some Cherokee leaders recognized an opportunity. Dennis Bushyhead, former Cherokee chief, and Robert L. Owen, mixed-blood Cherokee and influential political figure, along with Howard Ross, W. D. Wisdom, and C. F. Winton, chose Kildare as a county seat site and drew up a plat with ninety-eight blocks. It included locations for a courthouse square, park, and school. With the railroad depot and the site centrally located on a small, rolling hill, it appeared a good choice.[3]

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Because a portion of Kildare was located on Bushyhead's land and he had clear title, those individuals buying lots in parts of the town were able to obtain warranty deeds much more quickly than other homesteaders. Like many early-day communities, Kildare blossomed overnight with newspapers, hardware stores, saloons, lumberyards, drug and grocery stores, and a jail. A post office was established on October 24, 1893.[3]

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In spite of Kildare's apparent advantages, history did not prove kind. Water was always a problem, and in the beginning it was hauled from Willow Springs, a few miles to the north. Lots did not sell as quickly as anticipated, and taxes became a crucial factor. Three fires devastated the business area, and each time fewer enterprises rebuilt. After the initial influx of settlers in 1893, population stood at 162 at 1907 statehood and peaked at 216 in 1910. On March 2, 1905, the territorial legislature approved Council Bill Number 80 and legalized Kildare's incorporation. At the turn of the twenty-first century 92 people resided in there.[3]

The Bank of Kildare was in existence on January 2, 1897.[2]



Cherokee chief Dennis Wolfe Bushyhead was born on Mouse Creek near present Cleveland in Bradley County, Tennessee, on March 18, 1826. His father was the Rev. Jesse Bushyhead, a Baptist minister and member of the Chief John Ross faction. Dennis Bushyhead began his education at the Candy Creek Mission in Tennessee and continued until his sophomore year at Princeton College. He removed to the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, in 1839.

The California gold fields beckoned Bushyhead, and he left home in 1849. He returned in 1868 and served as treasurer of the Cherokee Nation from 1871 to 1879. In 1879 he was elected principal chief, an office he held until 1887. During his two terms as chief Bushyhead dealt with issues of importance to the Cherokee Nation that included railroad rights-of-way, land allotment, education,   white intruders, tribal citizenship, and grazing rights. He was very much concerned with the individual citizens of the Cherokee Nation, as his personal correspondence indicates.

In 1897 Bushyhead was a member of a Cherokee commission that protested the "proposal of the [United States] government relating to the extinguishment of our national title to the lands of the Cherokee Nation." Bushyhead married twice, had five children, and adhered to the Baptist faith. He died on February 4, 1898, and was buried in Tahlequah.


ROBERT LATHAM OWEN (1856-1047)[5]

Robert L. Owen was born in February 2,1856 at Lynchburg, Virginia, of Scotch-Irish and Indian ancestry. Educated in the private schools of Lynchburg, he attended Washington and Lee University where he received a Master of Arts degree in 1877. Soon afterwards, he moved to the Cherokee Nation where he practiced law, taught school, and served as secretary of the Board of Education of the Cherokee Nation. In 1885, Owen was appointed agent for the Five Civilized Tribes and functioned in that position until 1887. Owen served as the attorney for the Choctaws beginning in 1890 and later in the same capacity for the Western and Eastern Cherokees. He organized the First National Bank of Indian Territory at Muskogee in 1890 and acted as its president until 1900.

Owen was elected to the United States Senate from the state of Oklahoma in December 1907 and was reelected in 1912 and in 1918. In 1920, Owen's name was submitted as a Democratic candidate for President of the United States. In the end, he ranked fourth among the candidates but declined the nomination for vice president. As a senator, Owen was the drafter of the Federal Reserve Act and the Farm Loan Act. Child labor laws were another of his interests. Owen retired from the U.S. Senate in 1925.

After his retirement, Owen engaged in activities which promoted the interests of Indians, both in the field of legislation and in the courts. He maintained his interest in world affairs and international law and became involved in a goal to enable people all over the world to speak together in a phonetic global alphabet. His later years were spent pursuing this project. Senator Owen died in Washington, D.C., on July 19, 1947.


Places of Interest:


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