Oklahoma City, OK

From Boomer to Mayor: The Story of William Couch


Oklahoma City gets its first mayor; life cut short by gunfight

Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this article. All outside references are accredited and may be followed using the links. The outline for this article was written with the assistance of ai. This article is for educational and informational purposes and although the author is not a historian, all dates and accounts are factual according to accredited sources.

Leader of the Boomers gets elected to be first mayor

William Couch was a significant figure in the history of Oklahoma City. As a boy, he was a bookworm and loved reading about adventure and foreign places. When he was 21, he met and married Cynthia Gordon, a pretty Quaker girl who was 7 1/2 years older than himself.

He was a trusted lieutenant of David Payne, the leader of the Boomer invasion, and after Payne’s death, William took over as the leader of the Boomers.

When the Unassigned Lands were opened for settlement in 1889, 39-year old William staked a claim to 160 acres of land west of Oklahoma City, where he and his family built a home. All 5 of his children had been born. William and Cynthia had 3 teenagers in the home, an 11-year-old and one-year-old Irene.

William was elected as the city’s first mayor, but his time in office was short-lived. In November, he resigned as mayor. Then just a few short months later on April 4, 1890, he was involved in a gunfight with J.C. Adams over his land claim, and William was wounded.

Despite medical treatment, he died 17 days later, almost one year to the day of the opening of the Unassigned Lands. Couch, like Payne, had worked tirelessly for the settlement of Oklahoma, but he did not live to see his dreams materialize.

Couch’s legacy, however, lived on-in his family

His family continued to play an important role in the development of Oklahoma, and the Couch family can be found in just about every part of Oklahoma these days. Watch the above YouTube video to listen to an interview with his granddaughter, Edna Mae Couch.

The story of William Couch is a testament to the bravery and determination of the early settlers of Oklahoma. They felt just as strongly about the towns and cities they live in as we do. Despite the challenges they faced, they remained committed to their vision of a better future and played a vital role in the growth and development of this state.

****If you enjoy reading about the history of Oklahoma, you might like A Desire for Revenge Ignited this Land Rush in Oklahoma


Hi, I'm Judy! I love bringing a magnifying glass to where psychology and history cross. What makes people do what they do? Why did they make that choice? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments and share this article on social media and with family and friends, if you'd like.

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Judy Derby has worked in the surrounding communities as a social worker and advocate. providing resources and information to help local families meet their basic needs. She's been writing about social issues and related topics for over 10 years.

Antlers, OK

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