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Pryor, is a city in and county seat of Mayes County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 8,659 at the 2000 census, compared to 9,539 in the 2010 census.
Originally named Coo-Y-Yah, Cherokee for Huckleberry, it was renamed Pryor Creek in 1887, the name of the local railroad station (named for the creek). Due to confusion in distinguishing handwritten mailing addresses to Pryor Creek and Pond Creek, the U.S. Postal Service name for the city was shortened to Pryor.
In the early 1800s, treaties with the Cherokee, Osage, and Choctaw gave the tribes allotments in Indian Territory in the region that would become Oklahoma. Captain Nathaniel Hale Pryor, who was married to an Osage woman and served as an agent to the Osage people, was among those settling northeastern Oklahoma. He established a trading post on Grand River, shortly before the Union Mission was established 5 miles southeast of present-day Chouteau in 1820.
In 1870, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad started construction in the Cherokee Nation along the Kansas border, laying tracks to Texas. By June 1871, the railroad reached present-day Pryor Creek.
A post office was eventually established naming the town Coo-y-yah, Indian Territory. Coo-y-yah is the Cherokee name for "huckleberry". On April 23, 1887, Coo-y-yah was changed to Pryor Creek, but the "Creek" was dropped by the post office on January 26, 1909.[The official name of the city government is still Pryor Creek despite a proposition put before voters in 1963 to change the name officially to Pryor.
In 1951, voters approved the present city charter of a mayor-council government system, which provided for the election of a mayor, clerk, treasurer, police chief and eight councilors. The charter also established a cemetery, park, library board, and a municipal utility board, which oversees operations of the city-owned gas, water, electric and sewer systems.
On April 27, 1942, a tornado swept along Pryor's main street from the western edge of the business district to the eastern edge of the city, destroying nearly every building and causing extensive damage to the residential section.
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