Postal Code: 74829
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Information on the Town of Boley
Rusk Cemetery (aka Rusk Springs Cemetery) is an African American Cemetery located in the town of Boley. Boley is located halfway between Paden and Castle in Okfuskee County and is the largest and most well known of the more than fifty All-Black towns of Oklahoma and one of only thirteen still existing. The town, established on land allotted to Creek freedman James Barnett's daughter Abigail, was named after J. B. Boley, a railroad official of the Fort Smith and Western Railway. Founded in 1903 and incorporated in 1905, J. B. Boley and the African Americans living in the area prospered for many years. The Boley Progress, a weekly newspaper, began in 1905. The paper and various advertising campaigns circulated through the South and lured many former slaves to the new town.
In 1911 the town had a population of 4,000 and grew to 7,000. At one time, Boley had 5 grocery stores, 5 hotels, 7 restaurants, 4 cotton gins, 3 drug stores, 1 jewelry store, 4 department stores, 2 livery stables, 2 insurance agencies, 1 funeral home establishment, 1 lumber yard, 2 photographers and an ice plant. Additionally, Boley was known as having the first Black owned electric company and the one of first Black owned banks.
On November 22, 1932, members of Pretty Boy Floyd's gang tried to rob the Farmers & Merchants Bank in Boley. The robbers, two white and one Black, killed the bank's president D. J. Turner. Officers and vigilantes killed them during their escape.
Boley's downtown business district is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service. Boley, Oklahoma is on Hwy 62, sixty-eight miles southwest of Tulsa and sixty-seven miles east of Oklahoma City.
Directions to Rusk Cemetery (aka Rusk Springs Cemetery):
From Boley, go West approx 0.5 on HW 62 to NS366, then go South on NS366 approx 2.75 miles to EW 108, then go West 0.2 miles. Cemetery is on the North side of the road. The cemetery does not have a caretaker. There are graves with old funeral home markers. Other graves are unmarked, names without dates or graves that have markers that are too weathered and unable to read.