In 1899, two men, waiting for a train at a station house, climbed on a boxcar to look over the countryside. Their eyes traveled over the Washita River Valley, and one of them said, "Theres the place to build a town." The men were J.L. Avant and E.E. Blake. They were looking at the site where the town of Washita Junction would spring up, almost overnight, some four years later. However, before the dream could become a reality, there was a political fight that reached as far as the United States Congress and the start of a feud erupted between the already thriving frontier town Arapaho, and Washita Junction.
There were many obstacles to overcome. Foremost was the fact that the land was owned by the Indians. Federal law specified that an Indian could sell no more than half of his 160-acre allotment only after he was granted permission by Congress. So the men, working in secrecy, picked 320 acres allotted to four different Indians - Hays, Shoe-Boy, Nowahy, and Night Killer - and paid them each $2000 for 80 acres.
In 1902 the bill finally came on the floor in Washington D.C., and Blake secured congressional approval for the land. The partners had also gained a third and fourth member: Tom J. Nance and F.E. Richey. The land was acquired, and almost overnight it was a city. The postal department refused to accept the name Washita Junction for the new town. Therefore, "Clinton" was chosen in honor of the late Judge Clinton Irwin, who was instrumental in the founding and development of this town and much of this section of the state.
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