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Sallisaw is a city and county seat of Sequoyah County. The population was 8,880 at the 2010 Census, an 11.2 percent increase from 7,891 at the 2000 census. Sallisaw is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas–Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area.
French explorers and traders had travelled through this part of North America in the 17th Century, and were the people who attached the name Sallisaw to several geographic features.
In the 1840s and 1850s, Sallisaw had been the name of one of the 22 Arkansas River steamboat landings between Fort Smith and Fort Gibson. Modern Sallisaw's beginning as a permanent community began in 1887–1888, when Argyle Quesenbury, a white man, and Will Watie Wheeler, a collateral relative of noted Cherokee leader Stand Watie, laid out lots for a town. Several post offices had existed in the area nearby, even before there was a named community. The site of present-day Sallisaw fell within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation after the tribe was forced to emigrate from its former home in the Southeastern U.S. It had a post office called Childer's Station from 1873 to 1888, when the name was changed to Sallisaw. Another community fifteen miles north bore the name Sallisaw for a period until 1888, when the name of the post office there was changed to Mays, but it closed in 1896.
Will Watie Wheeler established several businesses in the town during the 1880s and 1890s. These included a cotton gin, saw mill, grist mill and lumberyard.
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