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In the early days, Durant was a relay station on the Butterfield Overland Mail, with the first land mail service between the Mississippi Valley and the Pacific Coast. The Butterfield route followed the Texas road in 1858 from Stringtown to Colbert's Ferry which was located on the Red River and ran approximately three miles west of what is now Durant's downtown district.
Durant's namesake, Dixon Durant (originally spelled DuRant) came to Durant with his Choctaw-French family by way of the Trail of Tears in 1832 during the relocation of the Indians to Southeastern Oklahoma, which was part of the Choctaw Nation. Durant is proud to be the headquarters of the Choctaw Nation. Dixon Durant was credited with pastoring a number of local churches, establishing the first general merchandise store, and possibly had some influence on the erection of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad in 1872 which is better known as the Katy Railroad.
Durant is often referred to as the "Queen of the Three Valleys" due to its location in the fertile bottom lands of the Red, Blue and Washita Rivers.
In 1879, a Post Office for "Durant Station" was authorized, proving that Durant had become a town, but in 1881 service was discontinued, being reestablished in 1882 as "Durant, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory." The word "station" was never used again.
In 1908, Durant became the county seat of Bryan County (named for William Jennings Bryan). Durant's first census in 1900 showed a population of 2,969. Over the past century, Durant has expanded exponentially and is now home to over 16,000 citizens and the economic center of southeastern Oklahoma.
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