The Pauls Valley Historical Society was chartered in 1978 to collect, preserve and exhibit, primarily the history of Pauls Valley and Garvin County, which was part of Indian Territory before Oklahoma became the 46th state in 1907.
“The Queen of the Washita” as the City of Pauls Valley was once known was one of the earliest settlements in Indian Territory.
Smith Paul, born in 1809 in New Bern, North Carolina, lived with the Chickasaw Indians in Northwestern Mississippi for seventeen years. On a wagon train trip to California, Paul discovered the fertile bottom land which is now Pauls Valley. Paul described the land as “a section where the bottom land was rich and blue stem grass grew so high that a man on horseback was almost hidden in its foliage”.
The Tri-Party Treaty of January 1, 1837 ceded this fertile part of what is now the State of Oklahoma to the Chickasaw Nation. When the Chickasaw Indians were relocated to Indian Territory that year, Smith Paul moved with them. He then married Ela-Teecha, a Chickasaw Indian woman. In 1857, the Pauls settled on the rich Garvin County bottom land which became known to locals as Smith Paul’s Valley. The Santa Fe Railroad shortened the name to Paul’s Valley when the railroad came to town in 1887.
The railroad brought growth and prosperity to Smith Pauls Valley. The first newspaper was published in 1887. The Pauls Valley townsite was laid out in 1892. A U.S. Court house was built in 1895. The first white school in Indian Territory was established and brick buildings were built downtown. In 1909, the streets were bricked. Today, Pauls Valley has more brick streets than any other town in the USA.
History on Display
Twelve blocks in the downtown business district are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Walking and Driving Tour Maps of Historical Pauls Valley are available at the Santa Fe Depot, and the Chamber of Commerce.