The town was named for railroad official James Franklin Holden.
Because the name was so similar to another post office at Holder, the name was changed to Holdenville, and the post office opened on November 15, 1895.
Encompassing 814.64 square miles of total land and water area, Hughes County was carved out of land belonging to the Creek and Choctaw nations. The northern portion of future Hughes County was located in the Wewoka District of the Creek Nation, and the southern portion of the county was situated within the Moshulatubbee District of the Choctaw Nation.
It’s the state of swamps, prairies, forests and sand dunes…the state of western adventures, fascinating history and beautiful state parks.
Located in the Sandstone Hills physiographic region, the county is drained by the North Canadian, Canadian, and Little rivers. Built on the Little River, the post was southeast of present Holdenville. Theophilus Hunter Holmes, was established nearby and was a cantonment used by the 1834 Dodge-Leavenworth Expedition.
Prehistory of the area has been revealed in eight sites dating to the Archaic period (6000 B. Edwards's settlement moved north when the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad built a line through the area in 1895.
By the 1920s approximately 85 percent of the county was used for farming, with 15 percent in timber.
Cotton, corn, sorghum, and wheat were the main crops.