Purcell is a city in and the county seat of McClain County, Oklahoma, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 5,884. The 2020 population is listed as 6,420, which has grown to the 67th largest Oklahoma municipality. Founded in 1887, Purcell was a railroad town named after Edward B. Purcell, who was an official with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.
Purcell is often called the "Quarterhorse Capital of the World" and its official motto is "Heart of Oklahoma"; the city has registered trademarks on both titles.
Purcell was founded in 1887. It was named after Edward B. Purcell, a vice president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad (ATSF). Purcell was at the north end of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway, owned by the ATSF. Amtrak still serves the town with the Heartland Flyer at the station near the old Santa Fe depot.
Purcell was the only town on the border of the Unassigned Lands, and began attracting hopeful settlers even before the Land Rush of 1889. Town lots went on sale April 5, 1887, and a post office was established 16 days later. The Purcell Register, the town's oldest newspaper, was established in 1887, and continued operating into the 21st Century. Residents elected the town's first mayor, James Taylor Bradley, on August 13, 1895. The town was incorporated on October 3, 1898.
Located on the Canadian River, it was called the "Queen City of the Chickasaw Nation." In 1895, one of the five district courts of the Chickasaw Nation was located in Purcell, with the first session opening November 18, 1895.