Twenty states in the US still have active semi-municipal governments known as 'civil townships'. Oklahoma is no longer one of them. Mind you, we're not talking about a "survey township" which is usually an unnamed 6 mile square area of land, within a state.
Wikipedia posted this short article;
The historic civil Oklahoma Townships of Oklahoma.
On August 5, 1913, Oklahoma voters passed the Oklahoma Township Amendment, also known as State Question 58. This allowed the creation or abolishment of townships on a county by county basis; by the mid-1930s, all Oklahoma counties had voted to abolish them. These civil township boundaries (and their names) were still used by the United States Census for counting purposes up to and including the 1960 census.
Many of these townships led to a further economic development and eventually became cities. Even very large cities. Of course, Oklahoma was experiencing an oil boom during the 1920s.
Why did the county governments abandon them? and how did a majority of the 3 county commissioners (in each county) accomplish the death of the township?
Perhaps the idea was plagued by unreasonable expectations. By 1915, most Oklahomans were recent transplants from other states. But the founding territorial delegates who formed the state were not transplants. Perhaps the people who came from other states saw the value more that the establishment did? It was finally brought to a vote of the people in the 58th state question
When the people ask for something, but the ruling class doesn't see the value, there is going to be a problem meeting everyone's expectations.
And then there's the matter of doing the work of governing. Township governments are not going to pay a salary to anyone, so a person's eagerness to serve should be met with a healthy suspicion.
Township functions are generally overseen by a governing board (the name varies from state to state) and a clerk or trustee. Township officers frequently include justice of the peace, road commissioner, assessor, constable, and surveyor. In the 20th century, many townships also added a township administrator or supervisor to the officers as an executive for the board.
My own grandfather was repeatedly elected as the "township constable", which is the most basic office of township law enforcement. Everyone thought he was an honorable citizen and with each term he served, that notion was re-enforced. But they had a weakness in the area of following his state's fish and game laws. The truth was, he was an accomplished poacher,as well as a prominent businessman, sawyer, and farmer.
Of course there's always the activist motivation for organizing. When a group of neighbors want a big need addressed, forming a group might be the way to address a specific need.
It could be to get a nuisance saloon shut down. Or get more state or county funding for a bridge to replace the one that got washed out last spring.
Perhaps the dust bowl and great depression precipitated a lot of govt. failures?
For whatever reason, the townships of Oklahoma are generally a failed experiment.
But in recent years a few townships were formed.
Lotsee, in far western Tulsa county was formed by essentially one family which owns a massive ranch covering 2000 acres. The Spradling family markets their pecans at their shop along Hwy 51. The population at the last census was 11. That makes it officially the smallest incorporated town in Oklahoma. You might want to support them when you seek out the best pecans for your holiday baking.
Side note: Oklahoma was only 8 years old and already had 57 other state questions on the previous general election ballots.