Noble County - History
Noble County was one of seven counties located in the Cherokee Outlet. The counties were Noble, Woodward, Woods, Garfield, Grant, Kay and Pawnee. Counties at that point were designated only by a letter of the alphabet. Noble County was "P" county. The others were K. L, M, N, O and Q.
The first county election was held November 6, 1894, and it was then that the name was changed from "P" to Noble County. Noble County was named in honor of John M. Noble of St. Louis, Secretary of the Department of the Interior under President Harrison. Prior to the election county officials had been serving by appointment of the territorial Governor, W.C. Renfrow.
Each county seat town in the Outlet was laid out around a central square at the direction of the secretary of the interior, Hoke Smith. Perry was designated as the county seat of Noble County. When the squatters were driven off Government Acre (Perry's central square) one month after the run, the five-acre tract was forlorn and neglected. Only a tiny wooden Post Office building, and for a time, the Land Office, sat upon it. Otherwise it was a windswept and dusty eyesore in the center of Perry. The ground was plowed and sowed to alfalfa in the spring of 1895 to keep down the suffocating cloud of sand and dust.
In 1896 Will T. Little, a nature lover and ecologist who lived on a farm noth of Perry, received permission from the county commissioners to supervise the planting and tending of elm trees in the Perry courthouse park. He proposed to plow up the alfalfa, disc and harrow the ground, and plant 8,600 seedling Wisconsin white elm sprouts in furrows extending east-west.
The sprouts were from six to eight inches long. Little agreed to charge nothing for his time if the commissioners would provide funds to pruchase the trees and pay for preparing the grounds. Apparently each sprout took root. Enough trees were sold from this crop to repay the county for all the expense of stock and planting. Perry's lush courthouse park today is a living memorial to Mr. Little.
County officers were meeting in rooms upstairs and down, all around the square. A courthouse was an obvious necessity but no funds from taxation were available. T. M. Richardson & Sons, lumbermen, came to the rescue and constructed a two-story frame building, seventy by one hundred feet, on the east side of the courthouse park. The building served the county well for twenty years.
A bond issue in the amount of $100,000 for the construction of a new courthouse was approved in the spring of 1915. It was to be a three-story fireproof structure with a basemant and a jail block to set atop the building. Manhattan Construction Co. began work on October 21 of that year, and the building was accepted by county commissioners in May 1916.
Beers, Fred G. The First Generation, A Half Century of Pioneering in Perry, Oklahoma. Perry, OK: The Charles Machine Works, Inc., 1991.