The Oklahoma Land Run of 1889
The Oklahoma Land Run of 1889 was probably one of the most prominent of the land runs. Although there were seven land runs in Oklahoma altogether, with the 1983 Cherokee Strip Land Run being the largest land run in the history of the United States.
In 1889 Congress amended the Indian Appropriations Bill that would authorize President Harrison to proclaim two-million acres of land open for settlement, called the “Unassigned Lands.” This was land previous promised to the Native Americans who were driven from their homeland to this promise land. Under the Homestead Act of 1862, a settler could claim 160 acres of public land, and if they lived on it and improved the land for 5 years could receive a clear title to their claim.
In the spring of 1889, would be settlers, filled camps at the border towns of Arkansas City and Caldwell, Kansas. These camps came to be called the “Boomer Camps.” It was all the U.S. troops could do to restrain the people. From the south, long lines of wagons from Texas wound their way up directly to the south line of the Unassigned Lands at Purcell in the Chickasaw Nation. On the east side they lined the Canadian River. On the West, clusters of drought-stricken families from the Texas Panhandle flooded near the boundary near Fort Reno and west of Kingfisher stage station.
People came from all over in hopes of a piece of the “American Dream.” They came in wagons, on horseback, train, and even foot. Although the run was intended primarily for agricultural allotments, many came for the opportunities that came with the creation of towns and community governance. One entity called the “Seminole Townsite and Improvement Company,” founded by the officials of the Santa Fe line, entered the Oklahoma Lands early and surveyed the town sites at various stations. They also secured men on the first trains, ready to jump off and begin staking their claims. However there were other surveyors that would also conduct...
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