The Early History of Caney
by Frank W. Blackmar (1912)
Caney, one of the four important towns of Montgomery county, is located near the Oklahoma line at the junction of the Missouri Pacific and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas R. R., 20 miles southwest of Independence, the county seat. It is in the gas belt and has grown very rapidly, especially in the past ten years, during which time it has trebled its population. It has a good system of waterworks and an efficient fire department. The combined output of the gas wells in the vicinity is 175,000,000 cubic feet per day. The largest oil tank farm in the state is located near here. It covers 800 acres.
The manufacturing interests in Caney include 2 large glass factories, a brick and tile works, a large zinc smelter and an oil refinery. There are 2 banks, an ice and cold storage plant, 3 public school buildings, a public library, 2 weekly newspapers (the Chronicle and the News), telegraph and express offices and an international money order postoffice with one rural route. The town was incorporated in 1905. About this time it received extensive advertising throughout the whole nation on account of a gas well which took fire and burned furiously for several months. Tourists, many of whom were from distant states, flooded the town to view the immense flames, the roaring of which could be heard for miles. According to the census of 1910 the population of Caney was 3,597.
The first store in Caney was opened by Dr. J. W. Bell in 1869. A genera! merchandise store was established by O. M. Smith in 1870. A mail route was established in that year which enabled the settlers to get their mail regularly. The town was laid out and a number of business enterprises started. The first newspaper (the Caney Chronicle) was started in 1885. Caney was organized and incorporated as a city of the third class in 1887. The first officers were: Mayor, P. S. Hollingsworth; police judge, F. H. Hooker; clerk, F. H. Dye; councilmen, William Rodgers, Harry Wiltse, J. J. Hemphill, J. A. Summer and W. B. Williams. The first railroad reached Caney about 1887.
Caney is located at 37°0'49N, 95°56'1W (37.013537, -95.933739). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.1 km² (1.2 mi²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,092 people, 850 households, and 574 families residing in the city. The population density was 673.1/km² (1,738.0/mi²). There were 992 housing units at an average density of 319.2/km² (824.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.44% White, 0.19% African American, 5.59% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 1.39% from other races, and 2.29% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.01% of the population.
There were 850 households out of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.03.
In the city the population was spread out with 28.6% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 87.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,316, and the median income for a family was $40,000. Males had a median income of $29,833 versus $22,917 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,578. About 6.1% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.5% of those under age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over.