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The Archivist: Town names in Oklahoma have odd history

Mary Phillips: Chickiechockie eventually was shortened to Chockie in Oklahoma.
Mary Phillips Published: July 29, 2013

The “2013-14 Oklahoma Official State Map” lists 1,042 cities and towns. I know this because after being transferred through several state departments, a kind state employee counted the list and gave me the answer.

The names for these cities and towns come from a variety of places, and many of them are the names of people.

In November 1963, The Oklahoman began a new column by veteran state newsman Francis Thetford, “Dateline: Oklahoma.” The description that accompanied the debut announcement read: “His newsbeat is the state. His subjects are its people.”

The column ran until September 1969, just before Thetford's death in December.

This is an excerpt from the Jan. 31, 1965, “Dateline: Oklahoma” column:

“Oklahoma has at least 50 cities and towns with strictly feminine names. Some of the better known are such county seat cities as Ada, Alva, Enid, Idabel, Marietta, Okemah and Vinita. Others like Bessie, Maud, Talihina, Wanette, Wynona and Helena are almost equally as familiar.

“Want to read a few more? How about Aline, Amorita, Bernice, Carmen Christie, Clarita, Cora, Daisy? Add to the list, Eva, Fay, Gerty, Jessie, Joy, Lela, Letitia, Madge, Martha, May, Mazie, Nida, Octavia, Oleta, Rose, Sharon, Vera and Vivian.

“One of the oddest among feminine names for state towns is Chockie, an old Choctaw village in northern Atoka County. Known originally as Chickiechockie, the little settlement was named in honor of Capt. Charles LeFlore's daughters, Chickie and Chockie. They, in turn were named for the respective Chickasaw and Choctaw nationalities of their father and mother.

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