History of Bartlesville & Washington County, Oklahoma

Advanced Search

Washington County, OK


(aka Mound City)

ExendineIn 1868 Jasper Exendine founded a settlement at this large mound west of Bartlesville, just inside what is now Osage County. Jasper was an early Delaware (it is reported that he was probably a bit over half-blood Indian) who was reputed to have two fast horses and to have been a crack shot at turkey-shoots. His son Albert became an All-American football player with the world famous Oklahoma athlete Jim Thorpe at Carlisle, and Albert innovated a Statue of Liberty play and later coached at Oklahoma State University.

Pistol Pete and Joe BartlesExendine had another important link to Oklahoma State, because its mascot Pistol Pete is based on his adopted son, Frank Eaton Jr. When he was eight years old and living in Caney, Kansas just across the Oklahoma state line, Frank saw his father killed by six cattle rustlers. In 1872, Frank and his family moved to a farm on Jesse Creek three miles south of what is now Bartlesville, just west of the Caney River in the Circle Mountain Valley. There he learned to mold bullets, shoot a pistol, and aim a rifle. He was dubbed "Pistol Pete" by the Army Commander of Ft. Gibson when Frank, at the age of twelve, managed to outshoot some of the Army's expert marksmen in a competition. At age sixteen, he went after his father's killers and over the next ten years hunted down and killed all six men. He was a United States Deputy Marshal for eight years, and in 1878 he was adopted at age eighteen by Jasper Exendine and his wife. Frank (Pete) worked for the Cattlemen's Association in Texas and Oklahoma and put down many cattle-rustling schemes. He traveled often to Bartlesville, and he and Jasper Exendine were friends and traders with Jacob Bartles. Pistol Pete, pictured here with Joe Bartles, died at age 97.

One tale involving Jasper Exendine is that he and George Keeler were supposedly rounding up cattle in the Osage Hills on a hot August day in 1875. The came to the near-dry Sand Creek and stopped to water their horses, but the horses wouldn't drink. The men then noticed that the water had a black scum on top. Neither man had seen crude oil before, but they were certain this was the stuff. By 1893 Keeler would be involved in oil exploration in the area, and was a key player in the drilling of Oklahoma's first commercial oil well.

By 1891 the Exendine settlement had become a stage stop known as Mound City along the road from Bartlesville to the Osage town of Pawhuska 25 miles west. Eventually the municipal airport would be located nearby. A hill west of the airport became the Bartlesville Country Club in 1908, which failed financially in 1915. The Oak Hill Club was organized at the site in 1916. It featured a nine-hole golf course, swimming pool and clubhouse with a dance hall and fireplaces. The Empire Oil and Gas Company ran a free shuttle bus from downtown to the club at 30-minute intervals after work and on Sundays. The Oak Hill Club folded by 1930, after members had begun organizing the Hillcrest Country Club in 1924.

A wheat field just north of the club was unfortunately the scene of Ku Klux Klan initiations in the early 1920s, including a major rally on July 4, 1922 which had about 300 Klansmen and 10,000 onlookers. The Oak Hill Club was not associated with this event.

A later U.S. Air Force radar installation gave the hill the new name of "Radar Hill", and today the gymnasium of the former radar facility is the home of Keepsake Candles.

Washington County Carrel