From it’s modest beginning in 1909, Chickasaw has grown to become an industry leader in telecommunications
What Do Mules Have To Do With Telecommunications?
Plenty, if you’re one of the Chickasaw companies. Back in 1909, our company was created because of two mules. You see, there was this farmer who bought a couple of mules from a Mr. John W. Gauntt on credit against his next year’s crop. But the crop failed and the poor farmer couldn’t pay John, so he set out to return those mules. Now, this put John in a bind because he had no use for a pair of mules that had been worked for a year. So John and the farmer sat down and worked out a deal.
John didn’t need the mules back because he had acquired more mules in the past year and he asked the farmer what else he had to cover the note. After a few suggestions John said, ”Is that all?” The farmer said, “Well, I have the Lone Grove Telephone Company with thirty-five telephones. If you want it you can have that.” John said, “I’ll take it.” Thus under new ownership the company began to grow. Then in 1937, John advised his son Royce Gauntt that, “You’re the last of 12 children; the others have gone from home and you now can have the telephone company since no one else wanted it.”
Royce went to college and then joined the Navy in 1942. During his 27 years with the Navy, members of his family assisted in running the company with Royce calling home once a week to check on operations. In 1956, while still on active duty, he secured an REA Loan. Plans were being made to continue expansion beyond Lone Grove, and the trade territory was located almost entirely in the Chickasaw Indian Nation thus was born the Chickasaw Telephone Company.
In 1962, Chickasaw Telephone moved their business office from Lone Grove to Ardmore after they had expanded into seven more operating areas. In 1975 they also acquired the Sulphur area and moved the business office to Sulphur on July 1, 1975.
Today Chickasaw Holding Company, which was formed in 1999, includes 14 separate companies.
From its modest beginning with two mules in 1909, Chickasaw has grown to become an industry leader in telecommunications.