The Civil War Battle of Honey Springs was fought about a half mile east of present-day Rentiesville, which is in McIntosh County, Oklahoma. Honey Springs was Oklahoma’s largest Civil War engagement and is sometimes called the “Gettysburg of the West.” The Civil War battle was won by black soldiers, many from the Creek Nation.
Rentiesville was founded as an all-black town in 1903 on land owned by William Rentie and Phoebe McIntosh. The post office opened May 11, 1904, and the town became a stop on the Missouri Kansas Texas Railroad. William Rentie was the town’s only lawman until 1908, when he was shot and killed by a man he had arrested for being drunk and disorderly.
The town recovered and prospered for a time, boasting a lumber store, cotton gin, and other businesses.
The Great Depression and lure of opportunities in urban centers caused an exodus of residents. By the late 1930s the population dwindled to 154, and the 1990 census reported 66 residents.
A noted attraction is the Down Home Blues Club of famed blues artist D. C. Minner. Every Labor Day weekend the Dusk ’til Dawn Blues Festival is held in the town. Rentiesville is also the birthplace of Dr. John Hope Franklin, considered by many the dean of African American historians.