Lee Stinchcomb was a young farmhand of 24 in south Texas when he decided to strike out on his own to make a new life with free land in Oklahoma. With just a horse, a saddle, a gold watch, and $35 Stinchcomb rode all day during the Land Run of 1889 until he reached the North Canadian River in this area. He forded the river on his horse and staked his claim to this land as his homestead. In later years he married Sarah Exline and they raised nine children.
The Stinchcomb family donated the land for this wildlife refuge to the city in the 1980s. It was originally named the rather unattractive Lake Overholser Sedimentation Basin because of the four lakes, or basins, critical to the Oklahoma City water supply system. As water flows in from the river, it is held in Lake Overholser which backfills into the basins in the refuge. After the water in the basins settles and sediment drops to the bottom, it travels along the Lake Hefner Canal, past the canal goats, and into Lake Hefner where it will be treated for use in our homes.
In 1983, after the parks department decided to preserve the area as a wildlife refuge, the city council changed the name to Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge in honor of Lee Stinchcomb.