Opened to settlement in the Land Run of April 22, 1889, Cleveland was one of the 7 counties organized as the Oklahoma Territory in 1890. Its first citizens named it for President Grover Cleveland.
Osage Indians had fought the Plains Tribes here where settlers built cities and broke the sod for farms. Explorers pushing westward had marveled at the Cross Timbers in the eastern part of the county and the vast prairies beyond. Colonel A. P. Chouteau established a trading post near Lexington, and Jesse Chisholm ran one of his cattle trails through the county. Washington Irving killed a buffalo in the vicinity of present-day Moore and wrote about it in A Tour on the Prairies.
Cleveland County is the home of the state’s largest comprehensive university, the University of Oklahoma in Norman. While other cities were battling to become the capital, Norman’s mayor skillfully directed a bill through the Territorial Legislature designating Norman as the site for the first institution of higher learning.
By the Numbers
Although Cleveland County is the eighth smallest Oklahoma county in area, it has the third largest population and 2 of the state’s 9 largest cities, Norman and Moore. Farming, oil production and horse breeding are important industries. For more information, call the County Clerk’s Office at 405-366-0240.