Pauls Valley is a city in and the county seat of Garvin County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 6,187 at the 2010 census, a decline of 1.1 percent from 6,256 at the 2000 census. It was settled by and named for Smith Paul, a North Carolina native who married a Chickasaw woman and became a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation before the Civil War. The town economy is largely based on agriculture and oil production.
The area that eventually became the city of Pauls Valley was one of the earliest European-American settlements in what was then known as Indian Territory. Smith Paul, born in 1809 in New Bern, North Carolina, discovered the fertile bottom land which is now Pauls Valley while a member of a wagon train traveling to California. Paul described the land as "a section where the bottom land was rich and blue stem grass grew so high that a man on horseback was almost hidden in its foliage."
The Tri-Party Treaty of January 1, 1837, ceded this part of what is now the State of Oklahoma to the Chickasaw Nation. When the Chickasaw people were relocated to Indian Territory that year, Smith Paul moved with them and married Ela-Teecha, a Chickasaw woman. In 1847, the Pauls established a plantation on the rich Garvin County bottom land, where Rush Creek joined the Washita River, which became known to locals as "Smith Paul's Valley". Mail to the Pauls was often addressed to "Smith Paul's Large Farm". By 1871, postal service was established in the area, although the post office was designated "Paul's Valley, Arkansas", because the Indian Territory was being administered out of Arkansas at that time.
The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (a.k.a.