Afton is a town in southwest Ottawa County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 1,049 as of the 2010 census, with population growth stemming from the near abandonment of nearby towns of Cardin and Picher because of ground contamination sites by local mining quarries. The town may have been named for the Scottish River Afton. Afton developed in this part of the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory after the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company (later the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway, or Frisco) built tracks through the area to Vinita in 1871. According to Oklahoma historian George Shirk, a Scottish railroad surveyor, Anton Aires, named the town Afton after his daughter. Others have claimed the name comes from Robert Burns's poem, "Flow Gently Sweet Afton." Both Afton Aires' name and the Burns'poem honor the River Afton in Scotland. A post office was established in Afton during 1886. The 1900 census showed a population of 606. In 1901, the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis Railroad, which soon became part of the Frisco system, constructed another line through the town, creating a shorter route to Kansas City, and causing another spurt of population growth. The town became a Frisco division point and shipping center for the surrounding agricultural area In 1910, Afton's population was 1,276; the town had two schools, a waterworks, two hotels, two banks, a brick and tile plant, a creamery, a newspaper, mills and grain elevators. The population peaked at 1,518 in 1920, but a depression after World War I caused a drop to 1,219 in 1930.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,049 people living in the town. The population density was 620 people per square mile (240/km2). There were 488 housing units at an average density of 307.7 per square mile (119.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 77.46% White, 0.09% African American, 14.58% Native American, 0.09% Asian, and 7.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.70% of the population. There were 441 households, out of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.9% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.5% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.11.
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