FYI - Guide to life in Stephens County, OK 2019 - Page 5

BRAY-DOYLE Bray-Doyle, with a population of over 1,200, sits about 6 miles directly east of Marlow and 18 miles to the northeast of Duncan. Bray shares the trend of Stephens County with a strong agricultural community for the rural town. An important institution for the town is the school, home of the Bray-Doyle Donkeys, and their athletic events. Bray also plays home to its own store and volunteer fire department that also works with Doyle’s district. CENTRAL HIGH Central High township is a rural community that sits about 16 miles to the northwest of Duncan and has a population over 1,100. Many residents are farmers and ranchers, or work in the public school system. Those who work outside the town limits have an average commute of about 30 minutes to their job. The top three most common industries lie within education, health care and agriculture. Central High also features a strong, spiritual community, with several rural churches within the area. COMANCHE Comanche, a city located in southern Stephens County, is nicknamed “The Rodeo Capital of the World.” The city is located 8 miles south of Duncan on U.S. 81, and has grown from 547 residents in 1900 to a population of over 1,600. Chickasaw J.D. Wilson plotted the site for the town in 1892. Originally, the town was named Tucker for the Tucker Post Office that preceded the creation of the town, but the post office was renamed Comanche as settlers made their way through the area. The first oil well was established in 1918 and within 20 years, 200 wells were producing within an eight-mile radius of Comanche. Agriculture helps provide a foundation for the economy and the city features one of the largest cattle stockyards in southern Oklahoma. DUNCAN As the county seat for Stephens County and Crapemyrtle Capital of Oklahoma, Duncan is a home of history. The town founded by William Duncan, who came to America from Scotland, spawned from extensions ranging from Kansas to Texas along the Rock Island Railroad. While at a Shriner convention in Topeka, Kansas, Duncan learned about the extension plans and discovered it would cross his own land. A brother of Duncan’s, from Gainseville, Texas, took directive from Duncan and retrieved lumber to begin the foundation of Duncan by building a new store and homes for the family. It wasn’t long before others heard of the railroad’s soon-to-be new found territory and the word spread. Duncan’s population had grown to 300 individuals before the first train had ever arrived in Duncan. Now, the city is home to over 23,000 people over an area of 47 square-miles. EMPIRE Empire, with a population of over 750, sits about 8 miles to the southwest of the center of Duncan. Empire City began as the oil industry was picking up in the area around 1910. Empire City was revived 50 years after it was established in response to encroachment from nearby Duncan and Comanche, so 40 acres were incorporated as Empire City in 1967. The Empire City post office was established in February 1921 and discontinued in December 1934. The town was extended two miles in 1920. The Empire school building remained until it was demolished in the mid-90s, but the Empire School District remains. MARLOW Marlow, home of the outlaws, began as a tent city in Indian Territory along the Chisholm Trail. The nickname of the residents, the Outlaws, stems from the Marlow family, who arrived to the area in the mid 1880s with five sons: Alfred, George, Charlie, Lewellyn and Boone. The group of five worked with cattle and at one point, were accused by a U.S. Marshall of stealing horses, charges that would later be unfounded. The family lived in a cave in what is now Redbud Park until 1888. The family moved to the Gunnison Mountain area in Colorado. The original Marlow settlement was known as “Marlow Grove.” In 1892, the first train arrived, and loading pens were established to accommodate the cattle still being driven through the area. One year earlier, Marlow had petitioned to become a town. Marlow has become a town of about 5,000, with plenty of recreational options and jobs for residents. VELMA-ALMA The town of Velma is located 16 miles east of Duncan on State Highway 7 and 9 miles east of the Stephens County and Carter County Line. A post office was established in Velma in 1886, named for Velma Dobbins, daughter of a man who took over the town’s first store in 1885. The post office was established at the site of the old store. The plot for the town was approved in 1902 and the first bank came soon after. Settlers of Velma lived in tents, dugouts and log homes. The Passmore Cemetery became the first known burial ground in 1885. Grahamite mining was an early economic driver. The Velma Old Settler’s Picnic became a tradition in 1890 that is carried on today. Today, Velma’s population is over 700. The three most common industries in Velma are the oil and energy sector, transportation and warehousing and wholesale and retail trade. DUNCAN MAGAZINE | FYI 2019 5