Overview & History

McCurtain County, Oklahoma

Rivers Edge is comprised of 12 beautiful cottages located along the Mountain Fork River on 300 private acres, just northeast of Watson, Oklahoma. Watson is a small community in McCurtain County, Oklahoma. It is located along State Highway 4 in northeastern McCurtain County. Although it is unincorporated, Watson has a post office, which was established on January 25, 1908.

At 1907 Oklahoma statehood, McCurtain County was established with Idabel designated as the county seat. The name McCurtain honored a prominent Choctaw family, three of whom had served as principal chiefs of the tribe. The county occupies the extreme southeastern corner of the state, sharing boundaries with Arkansas on the east and Texas on the south. It adjoins Le Flore County on the north and Pushmataha and Choctaw counties on the west. McCurtain County possesses a total land and water area of 1,901.32 square miles and is the third largest county in the state.

The county's topography is varied, extending from the rugged foothills of the Ouachita Mountains in the north to the fertile Coastal Plain region along the Red River, which forms the southern boundary. The land slopes generally downward from the northwest to the southeast. Four rivers provide drainage, flowing to the south and southeast: the Red, Little, Mountain Fork, and Glover. The Little and Mountain Fork have been dammed to create two major reservoirs, which provide an abundance of water for both domestic and industrial use. The climate of McCurtain County is generally warm, moist, and subtropical with mild winters and a growing season averaging about two hundred days. Precipitation averages about fifty inches per year.

About Our Land

The land of McCurtain County was surveyed into sections and townships in the late 1890s to facilitate allotment to the Choctaws in severalty. Section line roads were slowly opened, but it was a decade after statehood before any modern roads were built. The Bankhead Highway, later to become U.S. 70, was built in the 1920s across the county from east to west. The Williams Highway from Broken Bow to the northern part of the county was constructed at the time of World War I and subsequently became part of U.S. Highway 259. State highways 3, 37, and 87 serve the southern part of the county; State Highway 4, the northern section; State Highway 98, the western area.

The Arkansas and Choctaw Railway (later the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway) was built across the county in 1902. Between 1910 and 1921 the Choctaw Lumber Company laid tracks for the Texas, Oklahoma and Eastern Railroad to serve its interests from Valliant to DeQueen, Arkansas. These roads still served the area at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

On Oct. 29, 1961, John F. Kennedy dedicated the opening of US Highway 259, finally providing a modern, paved highway over and through the Ouchita and Kiamichi Mountains of southeastern Oklahoma, from north to south. It extends from Nacogdoches, TX, northward through Smithville, OK, and northward another 30 miles or so. The Oklahoma length of Hwy 259 has recently been designated an American Scenic Biway.