McClain County, originally part of Curtis County in the proposed state of Sequoyah, was created at statehood. The county was named for Charles M. McClain, a member of the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention. Forty-niners on their way to the gold fields of California passed through southern McClain County on the California Trail that paralleled present S.H. 59. To protect travelers going west, Camp Arbuckle was established by the U.S. Army in 1850, northwest of present-day Byars. For health reasons, the camp was abandoned after a year for a site 30 miles southwest in the Arbuckles. In the 1870s large ranching operations north of the Washita River belonged either to those of Indian blood or those related to Indians by marriage. Black slaves formerly owned by Choctaw and Chickasaw families were also eligible to own land. Cotton gins in many small towns prepared raw cotton for the cotton press in Purcell, the county seat. Broom corn growing was also productive in the 1920s and 1930s. Today, McClain County is basically rural in nature, but I-35 enables easy access to the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. The McClain County Historical Society has published a three-volume history of the area. Location: McClain County is in central Oklahoma. Climate: The average precipitation is 47.1 inches yearly in this area. January's average temperature is 42.0 degrees Fahrenheit and July's average is 80.8 degrees Fahrenheit. County Seat: Purcell Distances: Purcell to: Oklahoma City - 37 miles Ardmore - 62 miles Lawton - 85 miles Land Area: 580 square miles of plains in the north to rolling hills in the south

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May 28, 2012 at 5:24:04 UTC
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