Spavinaw is a town in Mayes County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 437 at the 2010 census, a decline of 22.4 percent from 563 at the 2000 census. The town is best known as the birthplace of baseball player Mickey Mantle. It is also notable for the nearby Lake Spavinaw, the principal source of water for Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Location of Spavinaw, Oklahoma
The first recorded settler here was Lewis Rogers, son of Captain John Rogers. Lewis set up a mill, a distillery and a salt works in 1829. In 1839, the Eastern Cherokees began moving into the Spavinaw area of Indian Territory. The Cherokee council outlawed the operation of distilleries in their area and dispossessed Rogers of his distillery and the salt works, both of which had already been damaged by a flooding of Spavinaw Creek.
In 1846, Jacob Croft, a Mormon en route to Utah, decided to settle here instead. He was hired by Joseph Lynch Martin to restore the mill. In 1855, a group of Mormon missionaries from Utah arrived at Croft's home and began converting Cherokees and Creeks. When they began urging the converts to move to Utah, Lewis Rogers complained to the Cherokee council. In October 1856, Chief John Ross ordered all Mormons out of the Cherokee nation.
After the Civil War, Joseph "Greenbrier Joe" Lynch, brother-in-law of Joseph Lynch Martin, began operating the mill and the salt works.Greenbrier Joe had saved enough money to buy 100,000 acres (40,000 ha).The community that grew up around these works became known as Lynch's Mill. In October 1878, the community was renamed Spavinaw Mills.
After the city of Tulsa began the Spavinaw Water Project in the 1920s, construction of the Pensacola Dam to create Spavinaw Lake from Spavinaw Creek. The project submerged the site of the former Spavinaw Mills. The residents moved a short distance to found a new town called Spavinaw.