Wewoka’s history begins with John Horse, who was also known as Gopher John. Horse was an African-American leader of Black Seminole units who fought against US government troops during the Seminole Wars in Florida. Of Seminole-African-Spanish descent, he moved to what was then Indian Territory in what is now part of Oklahoma.
In the late 1840s, Horse and a group of Black Seminoles founded a settlement near modern-day Wewoka, in what is now Seminole County. The town was named after a woman who was of both Seminole and African ancestry.
Wewoka was first inhabited by Seminole Freedmen who arrived in 1849 and were assigned their own land. In 1866, a trading post and post office were established in Wewoka, making it a regional hub. In 1923, oil was discovered nearby, leading to many new arrivals.
The town’s name means “barking waters.” A film based out of Wewoka called Barking Water was made in 2009.