Location of Medford within Oklahoma
Medford was founded by Hobart Johnstone Whitley, a land developer, banker, farmer and Rock Island Railroad executive. The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma states only that the town name was for Medford, Massachusetts, which it says was the home town of a railroad official.
Before the opening of the Cherokee Outlet to non-Indian settlement on September 16, 1893, the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway (later the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad) built a line from southern Kansas that passed through the future Medford townsite in a north-south direction. A post office was established October 31, 1893. The townsfolk voted to incorporate on March 10, 1894. In 1897 the Gulf Railroad (later the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway) built a line that passed through Medford from northwest to southeast.
Voters in Grant County chose Medford as the county seat by an election on May 27, 1908. A courthouse was dedicated July 4, 1910. A fire destroyed five blocks of businesses and residences on June 25, 1911
Medford has a council-manager form of government.