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How Claremore came to be…

Telling the history of Claremore…one story at a time.

Claremore got its beginnings when Chief Glahmo led his tribe of Osage Indians from Missouri in 1802. He soon established a fur trading post along the Verdigris River. The trading post sat atop a 25 acre mound which came to be known as Clermont, a French word meaning “clear mountain.” Over time, traders and Indians alike began to refer to the Chief as “Chief Clermont.”When the area became part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, it was designated as Indian Territory. Before long, the Cherokee tribe was forced from their eastern homes along the infamous “Trail of Tears” and was given title to the land, including Clermont Mound. The Osage Indians were removed to a reservation, which would later be called Osage County.A settlement made up primarily of Cherokee Indians was established on Clermont Mound beginning with a general store, a blacksmith shop and a school. In 1874 the post office was established with the intention of naming the town after Chief Clermont. However, due to a clerical error, the name was listed as Claremore, and so it was.The Cherokees, adapting to the “white mens” ways prospered, organized constitutional governments, published newspapers, and established an extensive educational system. In 1889, when the U.S. Government began to open up unassigned lands in Indian Territory to the white men, they flooded the territory and soon took control ofClaremore. By the turn of the century, Claremore was larger than Tulsa.In 1903, a test oil well was drilled in Claremore, but instead of finding oil, the drillers discovered a large flow of artesian mineral water. Before long radium bath houses became the rage in Claremore.In 1907, Rogers County was created from the Cherokee Nation and was named for Clement V. Rogers, the father of Will Rogers, and a member of the Constitutional Convention.When Route 66 came through the city, it was already well established, and quickly built motor courts, service stations and restaurants along the highway to service the many travelers of the road.Claremore is best known as the hometown of the Oklahoma’s favorite son, Will Rogers. Rogers was born nearby in a rough log cabin “halfway between Claremore and Oologah on November 4, 1879. He rose from a vaudeville career as a sideshow rope‑tricks artist to become one of the most popular humorists in America.

Today, Claremore features the Will Rogers Memorial that includes an eight-gallery museum with theaters and features items from his cowboy trick roping days to Vaudeville. Another “must stop” is the Will Rogers Hotel, once famous for its radium baths it has now converted its upper floors to senior apartments; and the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum, which displays over 20,000 firearms. Claremore is the setting of the classic Broadway musical, “Oklahoma,” to which the Lynn Riggs Museum is dedicated. Another interesting visit is the Belvidere Mansion, a restored turn of the century home that now serves as a museum and is allegedly haunted! To round out your history filled adventure inClaremore, visit the Oklahoma Military Academy Memorial Museum and scores of antique stores that line its downtown streets.Claremore also can boast as the hometown of singer Patti Page, who sold millions of records during the 1950s and ’60s, including the now-classic “Tennessee Waltz.” Incidentally, Page graduated from Daniel Webster High School in Tulsa, which also lies along Route 66. Along with Rogers and Riggs, Page has a major street named after her in Claremore. Page died at age 85 on New Year’s Day 2013. © Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated February, 2013 with additional edits by Ron Warnick, Route 66 News.


  • John
    Posted August 27, 2022 8:56 pm 0Likes

    And after 1802…

    “The Battle of Claremore Mound occurred in October 1817 when Western Cherokee and their allies attacked the lightly defended village of Chief Claremore (Gra-mo’n or Arrow Going Home), leader of the Arkansas Band of Osage. During the assault, many Osage died on an adjacent knoll where they had fled for safety. The hill, known as Claremore Mound, is located north of Sageeyah near the south bank of the Verdigris River in Rogers County.

    The bloodshed at Claremore Mound resulted from a long-standing struggle between the Osage and the Western Cherokee for control of present northeastern Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas. The Arkansas Band of Osage (so called because of their proximity to the Arkansas River) had occupied Oklahoma’s Three Forks area during the 1760s. Cherokee from east of the Mississippi began infiltrating the Arkansas River Valley soon thereafter. The Osage regarded the Cherokee as invaders. Osage efforts to defend their interests brought Cherokee retaliation, and vice versa. Approximately three thousand Cherokee resided in Arkansas by 1817, the same year in which the United States had guaranteed them land between the Arkansas and White rivers.

    Early in 1817 Western Cherokee leaders invited the Eastern Cherokee to participate in a war against the Osage. Joined by the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Delaware, and others, including whites, a fighting force of about seven hundred assembled at the Cherokee agency near present Russellville, Arkansas. The attack occurred when Chief Claremore and the majority of his people were hunting bison on the plains. Women, children, and elderly men occupied the village when it was attacked. Roughly eighty Osage were killed, including sixty-nine women and children. An additional one hundred were captured, and the village was burned. Only one attacker died, and several were wounded.”

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