The following is an excerpt from
"The History Of Ottawa County"
by Velma Nieberding
With additions by David Dye and Hollie Perkins, descendants.


Cardin was a city with four names: first Tar Creek Camp, then McConnell Mines, then Cardin, then Tar River, and finally, Cardin again.  It was incorporated in 1918. Its 1200 inhabitants changed the name from Tar River to Cardin when Oscar Cardin promised to construct a half-mile of side walk in the town. The town was located on three Cardin allotments: the Sarah Cardin Staton; the Felicia Magdalene Cardin Kenoyer and the (William) Oscar Cardin.  The actual 40 acre town site that was incorporated rested solely on William Oscar's allotment.

Louis LaFontain Cardin and his brothers, Oscar and (John) Alexander, and his sisters, Felicia Magdalene, Sarah C.,  Atha Josephine (Josephine Alta?) and mother, Esther Archangel (LaFontaine), had been adopted by the Quapaws and given allotments in 1894. The family was prominent in the early mining development of Ottawa County.

By 1919, Cardin was publicized as becoming citified. It was located on Tar Creek, the stream which "is lined on either side by rich mines for miles, where no thought has been taken so far other than to dig out and mill the rich dirt." It was, the writer admitted, practically a collection of shacks spread over a wide area and while it was true there were some concrete business houses, the building for the greater part had been with the idea of using the cheapest materials. There had been no thought of architectural beauty.

It was not a charming place to live in; it was not sanitary but it did have mines and mines made business. Thus said its boosters in 1919. Previously not a foot of deeded land had existed in the town, but now a forty-acre tract had been opened where property could be purchased with a certainty of owning it in fee simple.

In February, 1919, two hundred men were reported to be working in the streets of Cardin. They worked single-handed, with wagons, trucks or anything else they could use to build roads. A bond election was to be held, and it was hoped that citizens would vote for a $50,000 water system. (The water tower was erected in 1915)

Velma Becker, who retired as postmaster of Cardin in 1972, remembered that in 1918, Cardin had three theaters and three banks. Her appointment certificate was signed by President Harry Truman, April 22, 1948. At one time, she said, the post office was located in the back of a drugstore.

Cardin was a city of mills, for within the limits of the town there were dozens of concentrating plants, each one representing an investment of some $100,000. It was said that while it was true Cardin had been so busy making money, there had been little time for anything else; the great ore beds had scarcely been touched.

Almost within the limits of the town were located the great mines: LaClede, Dorothy Bill, Anna Beaver Number One and Anna Beaver Number Two; Bethel; Blue Goose, Tiger Number Two; Bluebird One and Two; Woodchuck; Kitty; Panther, and others.  A 1927 mining directory lists fifteen working mines in or near Cardin.

When the little community incorporated in 1918, it enthusiastically, if illegally, included 1,040 acres of restricted Quapaw Indian lands within its limits. It was 1923 before the land was released and the town site thereafter consisted of only forty acres.

In 1938, Cardin found itself with only 125 tax payers and voted to de-incorporate.

The town officers that year were J. A. Reynolds, chairman of the town board of trustees, and John LaFalier, Ben Parkison, Audrey Williams and A. W. Cox, board members.



Town            1980 Population     Chief Elected Official

Afton                   1,168        Bill Wright

Commerce              2,554        J. C. Jeffery

Fairland                1,004        Laverne Dieckhoff

Miami                 14,170        Wm. J. Hirsch

North Miami              537        Harold Wilson

Peoria                   163        Arthur Adams

Picher                  2,189        Jack Redden

Quapaw                1,093        Ethel Allison

Wyandotte                339        Lyle D. Blevins