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Pryor Creek or 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 "place of the huckleberries", it was renamed Pryor Creek in 1887 which was the name of the local railroad station, which is turn was named for the nearby 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, and both names are in common usage.
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.
Pryor Creek is along the path of the Texas Road cattle trail, and the later Jefferson Highway of the early National Trail System, both roughly along the route of U.S. Route 69 through Oklahoma today.
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 Cherokee for "place of the huckleberries". 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.
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