General County Information

County Seat: Tahlequah

Cherokee County, created at statehood and named for the Cherokee Nation, is part of the area settled by the Cherokee Indians after the Trail of Tears. Tahlequah, the county seat, was established as the capital of the Cherokee Nation in 1839. It is the site of the Cherokee Heritage Center; Tsa-La-Gi Ancient Cherokee Village, an authentic replica of a Cherokee community during the 1600s; and the Cherokee National Museum. The Cookson Hills surrounding Tahlequah were noted as hiding places for outlaws and bandits, including the James Brothers and Belle Starr, around the turn of the century. Lake Tenkiller and the Tenkiller Wildlife Management Area, as well as the Illinois River, provide additional recreational opportunities in Cherokee County. Northeastern State University in Tahlequah provides a source of higher education in the area. The University's beginning dates back to 1846 when the Cherokee National Council authorized the creation of a National Male Seminary and a National Female Seminary. In 1909, the Oklahoma State Legislature authorized the purchase of the building, land, and equipment of the Cherokee Female Seminary to form the Northeastern State Normal School at Tahlequah.

State District Court Information
Favorability to Defendant: 3
Ratings Guide: 1=Extremely Favorable 2=Moderately Favorable 3=Neutral 4=Moderately Unfavorable 5=Extremely Unfavorable

State Court Judges:
Mark L. Dobbins, Sandy Crosslin, Lawrence Langley

Some plaintiff attorneys have more success here than others. With certain plaintiff attorneys the Favorability rating drops to a 4 or 5. *** [Please contact Steve Holden for further information.]

General Court Information:
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Notable Verdicts

Morelaw is a free reporting service that plaintiff and defense lawyers use. So, it is not necessarily a representative cross-section of verdicts. In our opinion, the plaintiff's bar reports favorable outcomes more frequently than the defense bar reports favorable outcomes.

Date: 11/07/04
Case Style: Bayhylee v. Jiffy Lube
Judge: B. Bruce Sewell
Outcome: Settled for $5 coupons for a potential $6 million Jiffy Lube customers and nothing for another $26 million
Description: Class action claim on behalf of Jiffy Lube customers.

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Date: 04/21/03
Case Style: Smith v. Walker
Judge: Sandy Crosslin
Outcome: $19,300
Description: Automobile accident.

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Employment Information

Unemployment Rate:
December 2016: 5.9%
December 2015: 4.5%
December 2014: 5.3%
December 2013: 7.0%
December 2012: 6.8%
December 2011: 7.3%
December 2010: 7.7%

Major Employers:
Since statehood, the economy of Cherokee County has been based on agriculture, especially production of corn, wheat, and vegetables. However, the percentage of the population engaged in farming has declined from 62 percent in 1940 to 4.4 percent in 1990. This is largely due to increased urbanization around Tahlequah since World War II. Agriculture remains very important. In 2002, this county ranked first in Oklahoma for the value of nursery and greenhouse crops and seventh in the state for poultry and eggs. Major non-agricultural employers in the county now include the Cherokee Nation government and Northeastern State University..

Demographic Information

Housing Units:

State Total: 1,711,453
County Total: 21,748

Poverty Populations:
State: 16.1%
County: 21.5%

Median Household Income:
State: $48,568
County: $38,694

State: 3,923,561
County: 48,097