Johnston County was created at statehood and named for Douglas H. Johnston, governor of the Chickasaw Nation. The County seat, Tishomingo, is the historic Capitol of the Chickasaw Nation.
The Great Chickasaw Nation has restored the two-story granite building which was the last council house of the Chickasaw at the time of statehood. That building constructed in 1898 became the Johnston County Courthouse following statehood. The Capitol Building is now one of the finest cultural centers of the area, housing early artifacts and the history of the Chickasaw Nation. The Bank of the Chickasaw Nation Building, named for Robert Maxwell Harris, former Governor of the Chickasaws was built in 1902, has been restored and now contains the Johnston County Historical Society Museum and Bank Museum. Both buildings are open to the public and welcome tours.
Johnston County is rich in history, having had two governors from Tishomingo. Those being the only father – son governors from this fine state. They were William H. ‘Alfalfa Bill’ Murray, 1931-1935; and his son Johnston Murray, 1951-1955. Alfalfa Bill is the father of our Oklahoma Constitution and Johnston Murray is the only recorded Native American to have served as governor of Oklahoma. Both are buried in the Tishomingo City Cemetery. Johnston County is also where 4-H in Oklahoma began, as the Boy’s Corn Club, in 1909.
Major industries in the county are Martin Marietta Material; Vulcan Materials Company; U.S. Silica, Mill Creek Dolomite, Tape-Matics, Sundowner Trailers, Tri-Agri Farm Center, and Agriculture and Cattle Operations. Wildlife and recreational areas include the Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge, The National Fish Hatchery and Catfish Research Center near Reagan, and the Blue River Public Hunting and Fishing Area. Blue River is stocked with trout every fall and a trout fishing derby is held in February and November each year.
Tishomingo is the home of Murray State College, a two year college established at statehood. Murray State has one of four accredited gunsmithing programs in the country, and also has an Applied Science in Nursing, Physical Therapy Assistant, and Occupational Therapy Assistant programs. Murray State is educating approximately 2,400 students from all across Oklahoma.