Land run

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A land run or land rush were events in which previously restricted land of the United States was opened to homestead on a first-arrival basis. Lands were opened and sold first-come or by bid, or won by lottery, or by means other than a run. The settlers, no matter how they acquired occupancy, purchased the land from the United States Land Office. For former Indian lands, the Land Office distributed the sales funds to the various tribal entities, according to previously negotiated terms. The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 was the most prominent of the land runs while the Land Run of 1893 was the largest. The opening of the former Kickapoo area in 1895 was the last use of a land run in the present area of Oklahoma.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

General Land Office former agency of the US Department of the Interior

The General Land Office (GLO) was an independent agency of the United States government responsible for public domain lands in the United States. It was created in 1812 to take over functions previously conducted by the United States Department of the Treasury. Starting with the passage of the Land Ordinance of 1785, which created the Public Land Survey System, the Treasury Department had already overseen the survey of the "Northwest Territory", including what is now the state of Ohio.

Land Rush of 1889 1889 land rush in the US

The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 was the first land rush into the Unassigned Lands. The area that was opened to settlement included all or part of the Canadian, Cleveland, Kingfisher, Logan, Oklahoma, and Payne counties of the US state of Oklahoma. The land run started at high noon on April 22, 1889, with an estimated 50,000 people lined up for their piece of the available two million acres (8,000 km2).


In Oklahoma

After years of raids—led by the leaders of the Boomers activist movement such as David L. Payne—into the central area of what would become the U.S. state of Oklahoma, Congress finally agreed to open what was dubbed the Unassigned Lands. Seven land runs in all took place in Oklahoma, beginning with the initial and most famous Land Rush of April 22, 1889, which gave rise to the terms "Eighty-Niner" (a veteran of that run) and "Sooner." That area led to today's Canadian, Cleveland, Kingfisher, Logan, Oklahoma, and Payne counties of Oklahoma. [1]

Boomers (Oklahoma settlers) settlers of Oklahoma when it was called "Unassigned Lands"

Boomers is the name given to settlers in the Southern United States who attempted to enter the Unassigned Lands in what is now the state of Oklahoma in 1879, prior to President Grover Cleveland opening them to settlement by signing the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889 on March 2, 1889. The Sooners, settlers who entered the Unassigned Lands just prior to the April 22, 1889 official opening, were preceded by Boomers by a decade.

David L. Payne American pioneer, father of Oklahoma

David Lewis Payne was an American soldier and pioneer. Payne is considered by some to be the "Father of Oklahoma" for his work in opening the state to settlement.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

The nearly two million acres of land opened up to white settlement was located in Indian Territory, a large area that once encompassed much of modern-day Oklahoma. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 eventually led to the Trail of Tears. Creek and Seminole tribes were granted area known before the Land Run as the Unassigned Lands. Some American Indian tribes signed a treaty of alliance with the Confederacy in 1861. Initially considered unsuitable for white colonization, Indian Territory was thought to be an ideal place to relocate Native Americans who were removed from their traditional lands to make way for white settlement. The relocations began in 1817, and by the 1880s, Indian Territory was a new home to a variety of tribes, including the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Cheyenne, Commanche, and Apache.

The Land Run of September 22, 1891, opened the Iowa, Sac and Fox, Potawatomi, and Shawnee lands to settlement. The land run opened 6,097 plots of 160 acres (65 ha) each of former reservation land. [1] On the following day, a land run was held to settle Tecumseh, the pre-designated location of the county seat of County B, later renamed as Pottawatomie County. On September 28, 1891, another land run was held to settle Chandler, the pre-designated location of the county seat of County A, later renamed as Lincoln County.

The Land Run of 1891 was a set of horse races to settle land acquired by the federal government through the opening of several small Indian reservations in Oklahoma Territory. The race involved approximately 20,000 homesteaders, who gathered to stake their claims on 6,097 plots, of 160 acres (0.65 km2) each, of former reservation land.

Sac and Fox Nation

The Sac and Fox Nation is the largest of three federally recognized tribes of Sauk and Meskwaki (Fox) Native American peoples. Originally from the Lake Huron and Lake Michigan area, they were forcibly relocated to Oklahoma in the 1870s and are predominantly Sauk.

Potawatomi Native American peoples

The Pottawatomi, also spelled Pottawatomie and Potawatomi, are a Native American people of the Great Plains, upper Mississippi River, and western Great Lakes region. They traditionally speak the Potawatomi language, a member of the Algonquian family. The Potawatomi called themselves Neshnabé, a cognate of the word Anishinaabe. The Potawatomi were part of a long-term alliance, called the Council of Three Fires, with the Ojibwe and Odawa (Ottawa). In the Council of Three Fires, the Potawatomi were considered the "youngest brother" and were referred to in this context as Bodéwadmi, a name that means "keepers of the fire" and refers to the council fire of three peoples.

The Land Run of April 19, 1892, opened the Cheyenne and Arapaho lands.

The Land Run of 1892 was the opening of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation to settlement in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. One of seven in Oklahoma, it occurred on April 19, 1892, and opened up land that would become Blaine, Custer, Dewey, Washita, and Roger Mills counties. The land run also opened up what would become part of Ellis County, but was designated County "E" and then Day County prior to statehood.

Cheyenne group of indigenous people of the Great Plains

The Cheyenne are one of the indigenous people of the Great Plains and their language is of the Algonquian language family. The Cheyenne comprise two Native American tribes, the Só'taeo'o or Só'taétaneo'o and the Tsétsêhéstâhese. These tribes merged in the early 19th century. Today, the Cheyenne people are split into two federally recognized Nations: the Southern Cheyenne, who are enrolled in the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma, and the Northern Cheyenne, who are enrolled in the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana.

Arapaho Native American tribe

The Arapaho are a tribe of Native Americans historically living on the plains of Colorado and Wyoming. They were close allies of the Cheyenne tribe and loosely aligned with the Lakota and Dakota.

The Land Run of September 16, 1893 was known as the Cherokee Strip Land Run. It opened 8,144,682.91 acres (12,726 square miles or about 3.3 million hectares) to settlement. The land was purchased from the Cherokees. It was the largest land run in U.S. history, four times larger than the Land Rush of 1889. [2] The Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center museum at the eastern edge of Enid, Oklahoma commemorates this event.

Land Run of 1893

The Land Run of 1893, also known as the Cherokee Outlet Opening or the Cherokee Strip Land Run, marked the opening to settlement of the Cherokee Outlet in Oklahoma's fourth and largest land run. It was part of what would later become the U.S. state of Oklahoma in 1907.

Cherokee Outlet

The Cherokee Outlet, or Cherokee Strip, was located in what is now the state of Oklahoma in the United States. It was a sixty-mile (97 km) wide parcel of land south of the Oklahoma-Kansas border between the 96th and 100th meridians. The Cherokee Outlet was created in 1836. The United States forced the Cherokee Nation of Indians to cede to the United States all lands east of the Mississippi River in exchange for a reservation and an "outlet" in Indian Territory. At the time of its creation, the Cherokee Outlet was about 225 miles (360 km) long. The cities of Enid, Woodward, and Ponca City would later be founded within the boundaries of what had been the Cherokee Outlet.

Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center

The Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center (CSRHC) museum at the eastern edge of Enid, Oklahoma focuses on the history and culture of the Cherokee Outlet and the Land Run of September, 16, 1893. Previously named the Museum of the Cherokee Strip, the museum has undergone renovations expanding the museum space to 24,000 square feet.

The final land run in Oklahoma was the Land Run of 1895 to settle the Kickapoo lands. Each run had exhibited many problems and the Federal Government deemed the run to be an inefficient way to distribute land to would-be settlers. After 1895, the government distributed land by sealed-bid auctions. Major openings by this method included Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Reservation (1901), the Wichita-Caddo Reservation (1901), and the Big Pasture (1906). [3]

Land Run of 1895

The Land Run of 1895 was the smallest and last land run in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It came about with an agreement between the Kickapoo Indians and the federal government that gave individual Kickapoos 22,640 acres (91.6 km2). The federal government purchased the remaining 183,440 acres (742.4 km2) and opened them up to settlers.

Kickapoo people Native American tribe based in the United States and Mexico

The Kickapoo People are an Algonquian-speaking Native American and Indigenous Mexican tribe. Anishinaabeg say the name "Kickapoo" means "Stands here and there," which may have referred to the tribe's migratory patterns. The name can also mean "wanderer". This interpretation is contested and generally believed to be a folk etymology.

There was one land run in the 20th Century, but on a much smaller scale, held to select lots in the community of Arcadia, on August 6, 1901. This was similar to the run to settle Chandler in 1891. [4]


In honor of Oklahoma's Centennial of statehood, sculptor Paul Moore won the commission for the Oklahoma Centennial Land Run Monument. [5] As Moore completed elements of the 45-piece monument, such as horses and riders, wagons and horse teams, dogs, and others, they were installed in lower Bricktown, Oklahoma City. To be completed at a future date the monument covers approximately 365 feet (111 m), making it overall one of the largest bronze sculptures in the world. [6]

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<i>Cimarron</i> (novel) novel by Edna Ferber

Cimarron is a novel by Edna Ferber, published in 1929 and based on development in Oklahoma after the Land Rush. The book was adapted into a critically acclaimed film of the same name in 1931 through RKO Pictures. In 1960, the story was again adapted for the screen by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, to meager success.

Indian Territory U.S. 17th-, 18th- and early-20th-century territory set aside by the United States Government for the relocation of the indigenous peoples of the Americas

As general terms, Indian Territory, the Indian Territories, or Indian country describe an evolving land area set aside by the United States Government for the relocation of Native Americans who held aboriginal title to their land. In general, the tribes ceded land they occupied in exchange for land grants in 1803. The concept of an Indian Territory was an outcome of the 18th- and 19th-century policy of Indian removal. After the Civil War (1861–1865), the policy of the government was one of assimilation.

Logan County, Oklahoma County in the United States

Logan County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 41,848. Its county seat is Guthrie.

Newkirk, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Newkirk is a city and county seat of Kay County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,317 at the 2010 census.

Oklahoma Territory territory of the USA between 1890-1907

The Territory of Oklahoma was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 2, 1890, until November 16, 1907, when it was joined with the Indian Territory under a new constitution and admitted to the Union as the State of Oklahoma.


Sooners is the name given to settlers who entered the Unassigned Lands in what is now the state of Oklahoma before the official start of the Land Rush of 1889. President Benjamin Harrison officially proclaimed the Unassigned Lands open to settlement on April 22, 1889. As people lined up around the borders of the Oklahoma District, they waited for the official opening. It was not until noon that it officially was opened to settlement. The name derived from the "sooner clause" of Proclamation 288 — Opening to Settlement Certain Lands in the Indian Territory, which stated that anyone who entered and occupied the land prior to the opening time would be denied the right to claim land.

Unassigned Lands lands in Oklahoma that were not assigned to any native tribes

The Unassigned Lands in Oklahoma were in the center of the lands ceded to the United States by the Creek (Muskogee) and Seminole Indians following the Civil War and on which no other tribes had been settled. By 1883 it was bounded by the Cherokee Outlet on the north, several relocated Indian reservations on the east, the Chickasaw lands on the south, and the Cheyenne-Arapaho reserve on the west. The area amounted to 1,887,796.47 acres.

Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma

The Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma is one of three federally recognized Kickapoo tribes in the United States. There are also Kickapoo tribes in Kansas, Texas, and Mexico. The Kickapoo are a Woodland tribe, who speak an Algonquian language. They are affiliated with the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, and the Mexican Kickapoo.

Indian Appropriations Act several related U.S. laws

The Indian Appropriation Act is the name of several acts passed by the United States Congress. A considerable number of acts were passed under the same name throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, but the most notable landmark acts consist of the Appropriation Bill for Indian Affairs of 1851 and the 1871 Indian Appropriations Act.

History of Oklahoma history of the U.S. state of Oklahoma

The history of Oklahoma refers to the history of the state of Oklahoma and the land that the state now occupies. Areas of Oklahoma east of its panhandle were acquired in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, while the Panhandle was not acquired until the U.S. land acquisitions following the Mexican–American War.

Northwestern Oklahoma

Northwestern Oklahoma is the geographical region of the state of Oklahoma which includes the Oklahoma Panhandle and a majority of the Cherokee Outlet, stretching to an eastern extent along Interstate 35, and its southern extent along the Canadian River to Noble County. Northwest Oklahoma is also known by its Oklahoma Department of Tourism designation, Red Carpet Country, which is named after the region's red soil and alludes to the metaphor that the panhandle is a "red carpet" into Oklahoma. The region consists of Cimarron, Texas, Beaver, Harper, Woods, Alfalfa, Grant, Kay, Ellis, Woodward, Major, Garfield, Noble, Dewey, Blaine, and Kingfisher counties.

William Couch First mayor of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

William Lewis Couch, a native of North Carolina and later a resident of Kansas, was best known as a leader of the Boomer Movement and as the first provisional mayor of what became Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He joined the Boomer Movement in 1880 and became the sole leader of the movement after David L. Payne's death on November 28, 1884. He participated in the Oklahoma Land Run on April 22, 1889 and was elected provisional mayor soon thereafter on April 26, 1889. He remained mayor until November 11, 1889. On April 4, 1890, he was shot by J. C. Adams in a dispute over his homestead claim, and died on April 21, 1890.

Cherokee Commission

The Cherokee Commission, was a three-person bi-partisan body created by President Benjamin Harrison to operate under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, as empowered by Section 14 of the Indian Appropriations Act of March 2, 1889. Section 15 of the same Act empowered the President to open land for settlement. The Commission's purpose was to legally acquire land occupied by the Cherokee Nation and other tribes in the Oklahoma Territory for non-indigenous homestead acreage.


  1. 1 2 Oklahoma Land Run Openings 1889-1907 (accessed October 6, 2013).
  2. Green, Donald E., "Settlement Patterns," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, 2009. Accessed March 1, 2015.
  3. Everett, Dianna. "Land Openings." Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed July 22, 2016.
  4. Young, Roy B. "Apache," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed September 1, 2016.
  5. Moore, Paul. "Monuments". Crown Arts Inc. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  6. Centennial Land Run Monument Archived 2013-06-18 at the Wayback Machine , City of Oklahoma City. (accessed October 6, 2013)

Further reading