Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma
established September 18, 1891
Before the official opening of county "B" citizens moved in to the capital of Tecumseh with knocked-down buildings to be re-assembled. Lumber yards popped up. "Johnny Moyle built a sawmill. And within a surprisingly short time tents became frame buildings. Then soon John and Ike Smith, general merchants, started the first stone building, the one now (1939) occupied by the Cooper furniture company."
In his book, Fortson lists the following as the first business firms in Tecumseh:
D.D. Klapp drug store
Exchange Bank operated by Ed Search
Gaylord Brothers drugs
J. H. Maxey bank
John A. Moyle sawmill and gristmill
Nichols and George hardware
Remington drug store
Sam Clay dry goods and groceries
Tom Smith & J.H. Hibbard bakery
Ike Renfro, ace gambling in a tent on main street
"In the spring of 1892 Miss Lela Hendry bought 25 pupils together, set them on box seats, and started the first teaching of fundamentals ever done in Tecumseh. For $3 a month she rented a frame building on West Main street. Her pupils paid $1.50 a month and gathered their ABCs from whatever books mother and father had saved. Early summer heat soon ended this first school.
The next fall businessmen got their heads together in an effort to organize a public school system. But again private schools had to suffice. One subscription school was taught that year by a Richard Hobson in the Friends' Mission building. Other small subscription schools were held that year in the Cumberland Presbyterian church, a store building on North Broadway, and in a house just east of the Rock Island depot.
By the fall of 1893 the town had built its first school building, on the present (1939) of Willard grade school. George Patrick, the first superintendent, was soon succeeded by George E. McKinnis, who served until 1895."
September 27, 1891, the first Sunday following the opening, Rev. William Meyer and William Davis, Presbyterian missionaries, held Tecumseh's first services under an oak tree at the northeast corner of the court house square. By October 17, Davis had organized a union Sunday school and on October 20, Rev. Meyer enrolled the names of nine people who wished to become organized into a Presbyterian church.
In March, 1893, several Baptist families got together in the old frame court house, and under the leadership of Rev. Lambright, organized the First Baptist church of Tecumseh. Within two years the court house was the scene of the organization of the First Christian church."
The building of the court house in 1897 ended a county seat skirmish with Shawnee in favor of Tecumseh.
(John Fortson, Pott Country: And What Has Come Of
It; USA: Eakin Press, 1936; pp. 72 & 74. Originally published under
auspices of the Pottawatomie County Historical Society.)