Many cities and towns in Oklahoma have history attached to their names.
None is probably more convoluted than the little town of Jefferson in Grant County.
In 1893, when the Cherokee Outlet was opened for settlement, Jefferson existed, but its name was Pond Creek.
By 1894, Round Pond was Pond Creek and Pond Creek took the name of Jefferson.
Round Pond was on the south side of Salt Fork Creek while Pond Creek was on the north side.
Round Pond took its name from a portion of the river that was cut off from the main river and formed a pond.
Pond Creek took its name from the creek of the same name.
How did the names get changed? Blame it on the government and the railroad.
According to a 1919 article in The Oklahoman:
“Pond Creek on the north (now Jefferson) was originally designated as the county seat of Grant County ... ”
“However, it is said, before work was commenced on the county buildings, Hoke Smith, then secretary of the interior, sent a man to locate sites for such buildings and to determine definitely the county seat.”
This unknown man told the people of Pond Creek they would have to pay him to be named a county seat.
The people refused, so the government man located the site three miles south of Pond Creek which put it closer to Round Pond.
Now enters the railroad, the Rock Island to be specific.
“Now comes the Rock Island railroad on the scene. Its officials said: “Pond Creek (now Jefferson) has been officially designated as the county seat and we will not have it any other way.” So that railroad did not recognize Round Pond at all — the trains never stopped there and no mail, freight or express was put off at Round Pond.”
“But Round Pond was not to be squelched by a peevish railroad. The business men of this southern city banded together to force trainmen to stop, and they succeeded. Oiling the tracks, tearing sections out of the rails and similar tactics are said to have been employed, practical railway officials decided it would be cheaper to stop at Round Pond than three miles farther north at Pond Creek.”
But the practical railroad didn't change the name of its station, so Round Pond became Pond Creek and the former Pond Creek lost its county seat designation and its name.
So the population of Pond Creek packed up the town, moved it a mile north of its original location and renamed the town Jefferson.
Jefferson's population continued to slide after a peak in 1922 of 322. Its 2010 population was 12.
Pond Creek fared a little better. Its population hovers about 800, but it is no longer the county seat for Grant County having lost that to Medford.