Yonkers, Oklahoma is but a fading memory for most people in this part of the state and a footnote in Wagoner County history.
But those memories are revived in the book “Yonkers, Oklahoma, recalling the good old days,” which will be released at the Wagoner City Historical Museum on Nov. 18, said Liz McMahan, author. The book will be offered for sale from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $10.
The book is a consolidation of two books she and her mother, Nell Gilbert, compiled for community reunions in 1986 and 1987. Plus, new material has been added, McMahan said.
“There are stories of good times and hard times, of large families and one-room school houses,” she said. “Some of the families had 10 or more children and just getting by must have been rough. But they survived and have many happy memories of growing up in Yonkers.”
The community had stores, a post office, a railroad depot and a grist mill.
“Everyone knew everybody, doors were not locked at night and if a neighbor needed help, the community was there for them.”
Yonkers ended when Fort Gibson lake was filled and the town was flooded. There remains a small community in the area that was annexed to Wagoner County in 1924. Before that, it had been a part of Cherokee County.
On the east side of the lake, Yonkers is accessible to the Wagoner County sheriff’s office only by boat or routing officers north into Mayes County to Chouteau, then east, or by having them go through Hulbert in Cherokee County, then north.
Liz McMahan is a longtime former reporter for the Muskogee and Wagoner newspapers and has been recognized as a historian of the Wagoner area.