NAME: Bernice
COUNTY: Delaware
CLIMATE: Hot Summers/Mild Winters
COMMENTS: Parts of the old town are now underwater with a possibility of some old buildings still standing intact underwater.
REMAINS: New small village with the same name
"Bernice came into existance in the late 1880's under the name of Needmore. A small country store was the first business started. Located in the valley of the Grand River, it was surrounded by productive agricultural land. Other businesses moved to the site, churches were established, and a school was built. In 1913 the name was changed from Needmore to Bernice when the Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad extended its tracks northeast from Muskogee through the village. By 1940 the population had exceeded two hundred. Bernice was forced out of existence in 1941 by the completion of Pensacola Dam across the Grand River, which caused the formation of Grand Lake O' The Cherokees. Many of the homes and buildings tha could be moved were taken from the area. The school building, a large brick and stone structure, burned before it could be torn down. Merchants advertised their goods for sale over a large area. A sign on the largest store stated: "A Clean Sweep--Must Get Out or Be Drowned Out." The old village is now under 20 feet of water. A new village still using the name of Bernice now overlooks the old site from the lake shore which borders it. Other than the name, there is little similarity between the old and the new." (from p. 26 of "Ghost Towns of Oklahoma." by John W. Morris.) Submitted by: Steven McGinty