Washington County History
Located on the eastern edge of the Osage Hills, Washington County has a land area of 416.9 square miles and contains all of townships 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, and 29 north; the eastern half of R12E; the western half of R14E; and all of R13E.
Washington County was originally a part of the Cooweescoowee District, Cherokee Nation West, Indian Territory. Created at statehood, in 1907, it was named for George Washington.
This county is rich in the history of our country. A part of Indian Territory, it saw it's share of Indian settlements, Oil Booms, Law Men and Outlaws.
Bartlesville, the county seat, was the first oil-boom town in Indian Territory.
George B. Keeler, a local fur trader, knew of the existence of oil in this area as early as 1875, but lacked the financial support and tribal permission necessary to exploit his discovery. It was not until April 15, 1897 that the No. 1 Nellie Johnston, first commercial oil well in Oklahoma, was brought in by the Cudahy Oil Company. W.W. "Bill" Keeler, grandson of George, eventually became head of Phillips Petroleum Company and Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
Home of the Phillips Petroleum Company, Bartlesville is also the site of the Frank Phillips Home, an elaborately restored 26-room mansion and home of the founder of Phillips Petroleum.
The Woolaroc Museum, on the old Phillips Ranch, houses paintings and artifacts, collected mostly by Frank Phillips, pertaining to the development of man in the southwestern United States, and is a 4,000 acre wildlife refuge. It is located about 10 miles southwest of Bartlesville.
Dewey, the first town in Oklahoma to have electric lights, waterworks
telephone line, is the site of the Tom Mix Museum. Mix, one-time deputy sheriff and night marshal in Dewey, was an early-day silent film star.
Museums and Historic Sites:
- Nellie Johnston Oil Well
- Frank Phillips Home
- Phillips Petroleum Company Exhibit Hall
- Bartlesville History Museum
- Tom Mix Museum
- Dewey Hotel
Copan and Hulah
Major Streams Systems:
Caney River and tributaries to Bird Creek.