Latecomer for Oklahoma's Land Rush

Shortly before Daddy was born came the exciting news of the Land Rush into what had been Indian Territory. The so-called five civilized tribes of Indians had been moved from their homeland to this new “permanent” location, Oklahoma. The tribes involved were Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminoles. The Seminoles were the ones forcefully evacuated from Florida, traveling the “trail of tears” from Florida to Oklahoma. Many Seminoles died on this long trail.

Finally the lure of unoccupied land was too tempting for the white man, and the Indians were partitioned into a small part of Oklahoma; great plans were made to open the rest of the state for settlement. Government surveyors divided the state into 160-acre parcels. Every new homesteader would be allowed 160 acres of free land just by claiming it.

At noon on April 22, 1889 all the would-be homesteaders were lined up at the border. When the cannon fired, about 50,000 people rushed to claim the best pieces of land.

As a young boy in Nebraska, Daddy heard all the stories about the Sooners who slipped across the border early, the boomers who had been there all along, and the gun fights over parcels. Daddy’s imagination was sparked by all these stories but he never dreamed that he would someday settle in Oklahoma. When Daddy did finally settle in Oklahoma 30 years after the land rush, most of the farmers were the original homesteaders who had made the “run”.


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