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.
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