43 www.DurantChamber.org History of Bryan County Achille The story for the origin of the name is that a group of Cherokees settled the area during the Civil War and named it Atsila, the Cherokee word for fire. A post office was established on June 30, 1910, with the name “Achille.” Albany The Albany Post Office was established on July 10, 1874, with Joseph N. Thompson as the first postmaster. Armstrong On the banks of the Blue River is the community of Armstrong, named for Frank C. Armstrong, a member of the Dawes Commission. The community was near the site of the Armstrong Academy, named for William Armstrong, a Choctaw agent. It also served as the capital of the Choctaw Nation for nearly two decades. Bennington The community received its name from the mission started here, commonly called Bennington Mission. Its predecessor was the Mount Pleasant Mission, a Presbyterian mission started by the Rev. A.G. Lansing. It was renamed “Bennington” by the Rev. Charles C. Copeland who grew up near Bennington, Vt. A post office was estab- lished on Aug. 7, 1883. The entire town was moved two miles south to its present position when the Frisco Railroad was built in 1902. Bokchito The word is from the Choctaw meaning “big creek.” Like Bennington, the commu- nity moved from its original site to be near the railroad. It incorporated on April 27, 1901. Caddo The town was named after one of the original Native American tribes that lived in southeastern Oklahoma. The Choctaws settled the area and came into constant conflict with the Caddos. Unlike the Choc- taws, the Caddos were warriors and hunters and raiding other “nations” was part of their culture. The Choctaws became good tar- gets because of their possession of horses, highly prized by the Caddos. After many battles, legend tells, the final Caddo was killed on the hills southeast of the present community. The town prospered greatly, especially when the Katy Railroad arrived after the Civil War. Aaron Harlan followed the railroad construction looking to es- tablish a site for his Tishomingo business. An engineer told him a permanent station would be needed about 30 miles north of the Texas line, and he estabmaster. It became an incorporated town Nov. 27, 1898. The first mayor was Charlie McPherren. The Indian Territory museum and library is on Buffalo Street in the historic down- town. The museum is dedicated to Caddo history. It has a memorial to honor the three Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers killed in the line of duty May 26, 1978. Troopers James Pat Grimes, Houston F. Summers and Billy G. Young died in the line of duty during shoot-outs with escapees Claude Dennis and Michael Lancaster. The escap- ees were killed that same day in the yard of a Court Street home. The Rex Theater also is located downtown, and the town has an organization active in preserving the historic downtown. Calera Calera borders Durant to the south and like Durant, has seen tremendous economic growth. Several new eating establishments have opened in recent years and the town now has its own hotel. Other new business projects are in the works. Bryan County EMS has an ambulance and crew in the fire station and the town now has EMS service 24/7. The town has a veterans memorial at the Calera Ballpark. It honors all veterans, not just those from Calera. Also on these grounds, located in the northern part of the town, is the Jack Stockton Community Building. Originally the community was named “Cale.” The first authorized post office for Cale, I.T., was established on Nov. 30, 1889, with John C. Womach as postmas- ter. On June 20, 1899, a new post office was established with the name Sterret, I.T. The Katy Railroad would not agree to the name change and continued calling the area Cale or Cale Switch until 1911 when the name, “Calera,” was finally adopted. Cartwright When viewing Bryan County commu- nities by age, Cartwright jumps out as one of the newest. It literally became a commu- nity because of a dam. When construction began on the Denison Dam in 1939, a community of shelters – tents, shanties and trailers – for workmen was erected on the north side. It was named for Wilburn Cart- wright, a former U.S. congressman. A post office was established April 25, 1940. See HISTORY | 44