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CLOSING

COURT HOUSE WILL BE CLOSED STARTING MARCH 18, 2020 DUE TO EMERGENCY DECLARATION BY THE WOODWARD COUNTY COMMISSIONERS DUE TO COVID-19

Woodward County


Woodward County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 20,081. Its county seat is Woodward.

Woodward County comprises the Woodward, OK Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Woodward County was originally known as "N" County and was composed of present-day Woodward County and portions of Harper, Ellis, and Woods County. Before its division at statehood, Woodward County, then 60 miles square, was the westernmost county of the Cherokee Outlet and adjoined Texas and the Oklahoma Panhandle on the west and Kansas on the north. Political pressure applied by William H. Murray during Oklahoma's Constitutional Convention resulted in the reduction of the size of Woodward County to its present boundaries. It is unknown exactly whom the county (and the town) is named after, but the two leading candidates are Brinton W. Woodward, a Santa Fe railway director, or Richard Woodward, a buffalo hunter.


History
Located in northwestern Oklahoma, Woodward County is part of the Osage Plains. With an area of 1,242 square miles, Woodward County hosts several vacation spots for the whole family.


Early History
Formed in 1893 from a portion of the Cherokee Outlet, as were parts of Harper, Ellis and Woods County. Then known as County N, the citizens voted to change the name to Woodward, establishing the Town of Woodward to be the county seat. The first Courthouse constructed was completed in 1901. The fourth and final courthouse was constructed in 1936-37. Sustaining damage from the tornado of April 9, 1947, this courthouse still stands today.


Temple Houston
Temple Lea Houston, son of Texas revolutionary Sam Houston, came to Woodward in 1884. He was legal counsel of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Temple became widely known and popular for his courtroom dramatics. He was charged with murder in the shooting of a brother of the outlaw Al Jennings, after an argument in the Cabinet Saloon, and was acquitted. Not slowing his career, in 1899 he delivered his “Soiled Dove Plea” in a makeshift courtroom in Woodward’s opera house. The argument on behalf of Minnie Stacey, a prostitute who worked at the Dew Drop Inn, who became famous for her acquittal after 10 minutes’ consideration by the jury. Temple Lea Houston died on August 15, 1905 and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Woodward along with his wife.


Economy
The county’s main income producing activities have always been farming and cattle raising. Woodward’s depot became one of the most important points in the Territory for cattle shipping to the East. Broomcorn was an important crop and grown in abundance in Woodward County, however wheat was the county’s primary crop. The agricultural depression after World War I continued into the 30s and took a toll on Woodward. The impact somewhat lessened with mineral production, salt bentonite and petroleum.

The Big Salt Plain deposit spans 5,000 acres in Woodward and surrounding counties. Access to air, rail and highway transportation makes it favorable for manufacturers and service industries. A principal center of trade in Northwest Oklahoma, agriculture, petroleum, wind energy, natural gas and one of the worlds’ largest iodine deposits, contribute to its success today.


Education
Woodward’s education facilities include the new Early Childhood Center, several grade schools, Middle and Junior High School, Senior High School, High Plains Technology Center and a new campus for Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

County Statistic
1893 founded in
Woodward, OK Seat
20459 Population /2017/
1246sq/mi total area

What is County Government?

Counties are one of America's oldest forms of government, dating back to 1634 when the first county governments were established in Virginia. Ever since, county governments continue to evolve and adapt to changing responsibilities, environments and populations. Today, America's 3,069 county governments invest nearly $500 billion each year in local services and infrastructure and employ more than 3.3 million people. Most importantly, county governments are focused on the fundamental building blocks for healthy, safe, resilient and vibrant communities:

  • Maintain public records and coordinate elections
  • Support and maintain public infrastructure, transportation and economic development assets
  • Provide vital justice, law enforcement and public safety services
  • Protect the public's health and well-being, and
  • Implement a broad array of federal, state and local programs


No two counties are exactly the same. County governments are diverse in the ways we are structured and how we deliver services to our communities. The basic roles and responsibilities of our county governments are established by the states, including our legal, financial, program and policy authorities. Under "Dillon" rules, counties can only carry out duties and services specifically authorized by the state. Meanwhile, home rule or charter counties have more flexibility and authority.

In general, county governments are governed by a policy board of elected officials (often called county board, commission or council). Nationally, more than 19,300 individuals serve as elected county board members and elected executives. In addition, most counties also have a series of row officers or constitutional officers that are elected to serve, such as sheriffs, clerks, treasurers, auditors, public defenders, district attorneys and coroners.



With permission. Original Source Oklahoma State University, County Training Program



History
Located in northwestern Oklahoma, Woodward County is part of the Osage Plains. With an area of 1,242 square miles, Woodward County hosts several vacation spots for the whole family.


Early History
Formed in 1893 from a portion of the Cherokee Outlet, as were parts of Harper, Ellis and Woods County. Then known as County N, the citizens voted to change the name to Woodward, establishing the Town of Woodward to be the county seat. The first Courthouse constructed was completed in 1901. The fourth and final courthouse was constructed in 1936-37. Sustaining damage from the tornado of April 9, 1947, this courthouse still stands today.


Temple Houston
Temple Lea Houston, son of Texas revolutionary Sam Houston, came to Woodward in 1884. He was legal counsel of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Temple became widely known and popular for his courtroom dramatics. He was charged with murder in the shooting of a brother of the outlaw Al Jennings, after an argument in the Cabinet Saloon, and was acquitted. Not slowing his career, in 1899 he delivered his “Soiled Dove Plea” in a makeshift courtroom in Woodward’s opera house. The argument on behalf of Minnie Stacey, a prostitute who worked at the Dew Drop Inn, who became famous for her acquittal after 10 minutes’ consideration by the jury. Temple Lea Houston died on August 15, 1905 and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Woodward along with his wife.


Economy
The county’s main income producing activities have always been farming and cattle raising. Woodward’s depot became one of the most important points in the Territory for cattle shipping to the East. Broomcorn was an important crop and grown in abundance in Woodward County, however wheat was the county’s primary crop. The agricultural depression after World War I continued into the 30s and took a toll on Woodward. The impact somewhat lessened with mineral production, salt bentonite and petroleum.

The Big Salt Plain deposit spans 5,000 acres in Woodward and surrounding counties. Access to air, rail and highway transportation makes it favorable for manufacturers and service industries. A principal center of trade in Northwest Oklahoma, agriculture, petroleum, wind energy, natural gas and one of the worlds’ largest iodine deposits, contribute to its success today.


Education
Woodward’s education facilities include the new Early Childhood Center, several grade schools, Middle and Junior High School, Senior High School, High Plains Technology Center and a new campus for Northwestern Oklahoma State University.