HISTORY OF AMBER, OKLAHOMA
Amber is located in Grady County, Oklahoma, on Highway 92 eight miles south of Tuttle, and is situated along the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway eight miles north of Chickasha. The completion of the Frisco line and the establishment of the Amber post office occurred in 1903. Railroad workers named the town Amber after the goldenrods that landscaped the countryside in autumn.
Lena Chastain, a mixed-blood Choctaw, sold the abstract of title for the town of Amber in 1906. She conveyed a parcel of land east of the Amber train station to W. T. Cloud, who dug the town water well and established a store, school, and livery barn on the site. The subscription school mainly educated railroad workers' children. Cloud sold his land and store in May 1907 and moved the school and livery barn two blocks east of their original location.
By 1909 a population increase had created a need for the construction of a five-room school. The new building also served Baptist, Methodist, and Holiness churches on alternating Sundays. Amber School became the first consolidated school in Oklahoma when it joined with the Askew and Drennan districts in 1912. Three hundred forty-eight students attended Amber School in 1919. The largest enrollment was in the 1929 30 school year with 499 students. In 1965 the Amber and Pocasset consolidated schools joined and brought nineteen small schools together. Amber had over two hundred residents in 1908. Its population increased from 416 in 1980 to 490 in 2000.
Amber's early business district thrived on agriculture as local farmers produced cotton, corn, wheat, oats, and alfalfa. Along with grain elevators and a cotton gin, other businesses circa 1908 included the Amber Hotel, the Amber State Bank, a blacksmith shop, general merchandise stores, lumberyards, and a drug store. The Amber Press was the community newspaper.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Mary Hewett Bailey, "A History of Grady County, Oklahoma" (M.A. thesis, University of Oklahoma, 1937). Gwen Jackson, Trails, Rails, and School Tales: A History of 125 Schools and Communities of Grady County (N.p., 1995). Hunter James, "Amber, A New Agricultural Center," Sturm's Oklahoma Magazine 7 (September 1908).
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HISTORY OF POCASSET OKLAHOMA
Located ten miles north of Chickasha, Pocasset lies in Grady County on U.S. Highway 81. In 1892 the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway (CRI&P) laid tracks from Minco to the Texas line, establishing the towns of Chickasha, Ninnekah, and Rush Springs in the Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory. Between Minco and Chickasha, at present Pocasset's location, was Siding Number One. In 1901 plans were being made for a townsite. The next year a Colonel James auctioned town lots, and the Post Office Department designated a post office, with Isaac Hilton serving as postmaster. The name referred to an American Indian village in Massachusetts and was probably suggested by an eastern railroad official.
Pocasset served area farmers and ranchers. In 1907 it was reported that 150 cars of hogs, 150 cars of cattle, 300 cars of hay, and approximately 1,400 bales of cotton were shipped from the town. By 1909 the estimated population stood at 260, and a bank, three blacksmiths, a hotel, a cotton gin, a livery, a lumber company, two general stores, and other various retail shops served the town. The Minter brothers constructed a two-story, brick building in the business district. In the early twentieth century the Pocasset Post reported the news. In 1918 the population estimate had climbed to 350, and another bank, a grain elevator, and a flour mill had been added.
In 1946 the town no longer supported a bank, but a cotton gin and a grain elevator remained. The Minter Brothers Building became a county landmark and had held a general store, a hardware store, automobile agency, grocery store, furniture store, and feed storage before it was demolished in 1963-64. In 1965 the Pocasset school consolidated with Amber, creating Grady County School District 128. In 1996 the Pocasset Gymnasium (NR 96001489) was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1998 the town officially incorporated. In 2000 the population stood at 192. Ray Giles, a state senator from 1977 to 1992 hailed from Pocasset, where he had a farm and ranch. In 2002 the town received grants to complete a community center and to renovate a building to house the fire department.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Alva (Oklahoma) Review, 4 September 1902. Daily Oklahoma (Oklahoma City), 27 June 1915, 27 December 1964, 1 June 1995, and 16 October 1998. Gwen Jackson, Trails, Rails, and School Tails: A History of 125 Schools and Communities of Grady County (N.p.: N.p., 1995). "Pocasset, Oklahoma," Sturm's Oklahoma Magazine 7 (February 1909).
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