Oklahoma Panhandle

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Oklahoma Panhandle
Unorganized Territory of the United States
Flag of Texas.svg
1850–1890 Flag of Oklahoma.svg
US 33 Star GreatStar Flag.svg US 38 Star Flag concentric circles.svg
FlagFlag
Location of "Cimarron Strip" or "No-man's Land" Map of Oklahoma highlighting Panhandle.svg
Location of "Cimarron Strip" or "No-man's Land"
The three counties of the Oklahoma Panhandle
Capital Beaver City
36°48′N100°31′W / 36.800°N 100.517°W / 36.800; -100.517 Coordinates: 36°48′N100°31′W / 36.800°N 100.517°W / 36.800; -100.517
GovernmentProvisional, unelected, unrecognized [1]
President
  1886–1887Owen G. Chase
History
   Texas Republic founded; includes Panhandle areaMarch 2, 1836
  Texas Republic surrenders claim; Panhandle becomes "unattached" territory1850
  First petition for territorial status sent to CongressFebruary 1887
  Second petition for territorial status sent to CongressDecember 1887
  Attached to Oklahoma Territory 1890

The Oklahoma Panhandle is the extreme northwestern region of the U.S. state of Oklahoma, consisting of Cimarron County, Texas County and Beaver County, from west to east. As with other salients in the United States, its name comes from the similarity of its shape to the handle of a pan.

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

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.

Cimarron County, Oklahoma County in the United States

Cimarron County is the westernmost county in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 2,475, making it the least-populous county in Oklahoma. Its county seat is Boise City.

Contents

The three-county Oklahoma Panhandle region had a population of 28,751 at the 2010 U.S. Census, representing 0.77% of the state's population. This is a decrease in total population of 1.2%, a loss of 361 people, from the 2000 U.S. Census.

2010 United States Census 23rd national census of the United States, taken in 2010

The 2010 United States Census is the twenty-third and most recent United States national census. National Census Day, the reference day used for the census, was April 1, 2010. The census was taken via mail-in citizen self-reporting, with enumerators serving to spot-check randomly selected neighborhoods and communities. As part of a drive to increase the count's accuracy, 635,000 temporary enumerators were hired. The population of the United States was counted as 308,745,538, a 9.7% increase from the 2000 Census. This was the first census in which all states recorded a population of over half a million, as well as the first in which all 100 largest cities recorded populations of over 200,000.

Geography

State welcome sign on the New Mexico border of the Panhandle Oklahoma.JPG
State welcome sign on the New Mexico border of the Panhandle

The Panhandle, 166 miles (267 km) long and 34 miles (55 km) wide, is bordered by Kansas and Colorado at 37°N on the north, New Mexico at 103°W on the west, Texas at 36.5°N on the south, and the remainder of Oklahoma at 100°W on the east. The largest town in the region is Guymon, which is the county seat of Texas County. Black Mesa, the highest point in Oklahoma at 4,973 feet (1,516 m), is located in Cimarron County. The Panhandle occupies nearly all of the true High Plains within the state of Oklahoma, being the only part of the state lying west of the 100th meridian, which generally marks the westernmost extent of moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. The North Canadian River is named Beaver River or Beaver Creek on its course through the Panhandle. Its land area is 5,686 square miles (14,730 km2), which is larger than that of the state of Connecticut, and comprises 8.28 percent of Oklahoma's land area. [2]

Kansas State of the United States of America

Kansas is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita, with its most populated county being Johnson County. Kansas is bordered by Nebraska on the north; Missouri on the east; Oklahoma on the south; and Colorado on the west. Kansas is named after the Kansas River, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native Americans who lived along it banks. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the (south) wind" although this was probably not the term's original meaning. For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes. Tribes in the eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys. Tribes in the western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison.

Colorado State of the United States of America

Colorado is a state of the Western United States encompassing most of the southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. It is the 8th most extensive and 21st most populous U.S. state. The estimated population of Colorado was 5,695,564 on July 1, 2018, an increase of 13.25% since the 2010 United States Census.

37th parallel north circle of latitude that is 37 degrees north of the Earths equatorial plane

The 37th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 37 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Africa, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean.

The area also includes Beaver Dunes State Park with sand dunes along the Beaver River and Optima Lake, the home of the Optima National Wildlife Refuge.

Optima Lake lake of the United States of America

Optima Lake was built to be a reservoir in Texas County, Oklahoma. The site is located just north of Hardesty and east of Guymon in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

Optima National Wildlife Refuge

Located in the middle of the Oklahoma panhandle, the 4,333-acre (17.54 km2) Optima National Wildlife Refuge is made up of grasslands and wooded bottomland on the Coldwater Creek arm of the Optima Lake project.

History

Map of Oklahoma Territory, Indian Territory and the "neutral strip" Okterritory.png
Map of Oklahoma Territory, Indian Territory and the "neutral strip"
The 1845 Texas annexation included the area of the future Oklahoma Panhandle Wpdms republic of texas.svg
The 1845 Texas annexation included the area of the future Oklahoma Panhandle
No Man's Land Monument, U.S. Highway 64 east of Gate (Oklahoma Panhandle) No Man's Land Monument.jpg
No Man's Land Monument, U.S. Highway 64 east of Gate (Oklahoma Panhandle)

What is now the Oklahoma Panhandle has been occupied by humans for millennia. The Paleo-Indian people of the region were part of the Beaver River complex. A Paleo-Indian encampment, the Bull Creek site dates back to approximately 8450 BCE, and Badger Hole site dates to circa 8400 BCE. [3]

Shortly before the arrival of European and African explorers, [4] the panhandle was home to Southern Plains villagers. From 1200 to 1500 CE, the semi-sedentary Panhandle culture peoples, including the Antelope Creek Phase, [5] lived in the region in large, stone-slab and plaster houses in villages or individual homesteads. As horticulturalists, they farmed maize and indigenous crops from the Eastern Agricultural Complex. Several Antelope Phase sites were founded near present-day Guymon, Oklahoma, including the McGrath, Stamper and Two Sisters sites. [5] The arrival of horses from Spain in the 16th century, allowed American Indian tribes to increase their hunting ranges. These Southern Plains villagers became the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes.

Southern Plains villagers

The Southern Plains villagers were semi-sedentary Indians who lived on the Great Plains in western Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and southeastern Colorado from about AD 800 until AD 1500.

Panhandle culture

Panhandle culture is a prehistoric culture of the southern High Plains during the Middle Ceramic Period from AD 1200 to 1400. Panhandle sites are primarily in the panhandle and west central Oklahoma and the northern half of the Texas Panhandle.

Maize Cereal grain

Maize, also known as corn, is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago. The leafy stalk of the plant produces pollen inflorescences and separate ovuliferous inflorescences called ears that yield kernels or seeds, which are fruits.

The Western history of the Panhandle traces its origins as being part of the Spanish New Spain empire. The Transcontinental Treaty (Adams–Onís Treaty) of 1819 between Spain and the United States set the western boundary of this portion of the Louisiana Purchase at the 100th meridian. With Mexican independence in 1821, these lands became part of Mexico. With the formation of the Texas Republic, they became part of Texas. When Texas joined the U.S. in 1846, the strip became part of the United States. [6]

The Cimarron Cutoff for the Santa Fe Trail passed through the area soon after the trade route was established in 1826 between the Spanish in Santa Fe and the Americans in St. Louis. The route was increasingly used during the California Gold Rush. The Cutoff passed several miles north of what are now Boise City, Oklahoma and Clayton, New Mexico before continuing toward Santa Fe. [7]

When Texas sought to enter the Union in 1845 as a slave state, federal law in the United States, based on the Missouri Compromise, prohibited slavery north of 36°30' parallel north. Under the Compromise of 1850, Texas surrendered its lands north of 36°30' latitude. The 170-mile strip of land, a "neutral strip", was left with no state or territorial ownership from 1850 until 1890. It was officially called the "Public Land Strip" and was commonly referred to as "No Man's Land." [8] [9]

The Compromise of 1850 also established the eastern boundary of New Mexico Territory at the 103rd meridian, thus setting the western boundary of the strip. The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 set the southern border of Kansas Territory as the 37th parallel. This became the northern boundary of No Man's Land. When Kansas joined the Union in 1861, the western part of Kansas Territory was assigned to Colorado Territory, but did not change the boundary. [9]

Cimarron Territory

After the Civil War, cattlemen moved into the area. Gradually they organized themselves into ranches and established their own rules for arranging their land and adjudicating their disputes. There was still confusion over the status of the strip and some attempts were made to arrange rent with the Cherokees, despite the fact that the Cherokee Outlet ended at the 100th meridian. In 1885, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the strip was not part of the Cherokee Outlet. [10] In 1886, Interior Secretary L. Q. C. Lamar declared the area to be public domain and subject to "squatter's rights". [11]

The strip was not yet surveyed, and as that was one of the requirements of the Homestead Act of 1862, the land could not be officially settled. Settlers by the thousands flooded in to assert their "squatter's rights" anyway. They surveyed their own land and by September 1886 had organized a self-governing and self-policing jurisdiction, which they named the Cimarron Territory. Senator Daniel W. Voorhees of Indiana introduced a bill in Congress to attach the so-called territory to Kansas. It passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives but was not signed by President Grover Cleveland. [10]

The organization of Cimarron Territory began soon after Secretary Lamar declared the area open to settlement by squatters. The settlers formed their own vigilance committees, which organized a board charged with forming a territorial government. The board enacted a preliminary code of law and divided the strip into three districts. They also called for a general election to choose three members from each district to meet on March 4, 1887, to form a government. [12]

The elected council met as planned, elected Owen G. Chase as president, and named a full cabinet. They also enacted further laws and divided the strip into five counties (Benton, Beaver, Palo Duro, Optima, and Sunset), three senatorial districts (with three members from each district), and seven delegate districts (with two members from each district). The members from these districts were to be the legislative body for the proposed territory. Elections were held November 8, 1887, and the legislature met for the first time on December 5, 1887. [10]

After the meeting in March, Owen G. Chase went to Washington, D.C., to lobby for admission to Congress as the delegate from the new territory. He was not recognized by Congress. [13] A group disputing the Chase organization met, and elected and sent its own delegate to Washington. [14] A bill was introduced to accept Chase but was never brought to a vote. Neither delegation was able to persuade Congress to accept the new territory. [11] Another delegation went in 1888 but was also unsuccessful. [13]

Settlement and assimilation

In 1889, the Unassigned Lands to the east of the territory were opened for settlement, and many of the residents went there (see Land Run of 1889). The remaining population was generously estimated by Owen Chase at 10,000 after the opening. Ten years later, an actual count revealed only 2,548. [15] The passage of the Organic Act in 1890 assigned Public Land Strip to the new Oklahoma Territory, and ended the short-lived Cimarron Territory aspirations. [13]

Beaver County encompassed the whole Panhandle from 1890 until statehood Old Beaver County.png
Beaver County encompassed the whole Panhandle from 1890 until statehood

In 1891, the government completed the survey and the remaining squatters were finally able to secure their homesteads under the Homestead Act. The new owners were then able to obtain mortgages against their property, enabling them to buy seed and equipment. Capital and new settlers came into the area and the first railroad, the Rock Island, built a line through the county from Liberal, Kansas, to Dalhart, Texas. Agriculture began changing from subsistence farms to grain exporters. [9]

No Man's Land became Seventh County under the newly organized Oklahoma Territory, and was soon renamed Beaver County. Beaver City became the county seat. When Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory joined the Union in 1907 as the single state of Oklahoma, Beaver County was divided into the present Beaver, Texas, and Cimarron counties. The Oklahoma Panhandle had the highest population it has ever recorded at its first census, more than double its current population. [16]

Dust Bowl

The Panhandle was the part of Oklahoma that was most adversely affected by the drought of the 1930s. The drought began in 1932 and created massive dust storms. By 1935, the area was widely known as the Dust Bowl. The dust storms were largely a result of poor farming techniques and a plow-up of the native grasses that held the fine soil in place. Despite government efforts to implement conservation measures and change the basic farming methods of the region, the Dust Bowl persisted for nearly a decade. It contributed significantly to the length of the Great Depression in the United States. [17] Each of the three counties experienced a major loss of population during the 1930s.

Demographics

As of the 2010 census, there were a total of 28,751 people, 10,451 households, and 7,466 families in the three counties that comprise the Oklahoma Panhandle. [18] The racial makeup of the region was 80.26% white including persons of mixed race, 59.46% non-Hispanic white, 1.34% African American, 1.21% Native American, 1.18% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 15.53% from other races, and 2.78% from two or more races. [18] Hispanic and Latino Americans made up 35.85% of the population. [18]

As of the 2000 census, 7.7% of the population was under the age of five, and 12.5% of the population exceeded 65 years of age. Of the population under the age of 5, 54.95% were non-Hispanic white, 41.12% were Hispanic of any race, and 0.80% were African American alone. Of the population 65 years of age and over, 95.29% were non-Hispanic white, 3.52% were Hispanic, and 0.03% was African American. Of the non-Hispanic white population, 16.45% were 65 years of age or older.

As of the 1990 census, 89.40% of the population was non-Hispanic White, 9.11% were of Hispanic of any race, and 0.27% were African American. 6.72% of the population was under 5 years of age, and 14.7% were 65 years of age or older.

The median income for a household in the region was $34,404, and the median income for a family was $40,006. Males had a median income of $27,444 versus $19,559 for females. The per capita income for the region was $16,447.

Cities and towns

Major communities

Other communities

Economy

The Panhandle is rather thinly populated (when compared to the rest of Oklahoma) making the labor force in this region very small. Farming and ranching operations occupy most of the economic activity in the region, with ranching dominating the drier western end. The region's higher educational needs are served by Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell, 10 miles southwest of Guymon, the Panhandle's largest city. [19]

Politics

The Oklahoma Panhandle is one of the most universally Republican areas of what has become one of the most Republican states in the nation. Beaver and Texas counties last supported a Democrat for president in 1948, while Cimarron County last supported a Democrat in 1976.[ citation needed ]

In the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, the three counties gave a weighted average of 87.5% of their votes to John McCain and 12.5% to Barack Obama, with McCain carrying the state over Obama 65.6% to 34.4%. [20] Also, in 2006 the Oklahoma Panhandle counties were the only three where the majority voted against the successful Democratic incumbent, Governor Brad Henry.[ citation needed ]

In 2012, Democratic voters in the Panhandle voted for Randall Terry, a Pro-Life activist, over incumbent Democrat Barack Obama in the Democratic Presidential primary.[ citation needed ]

Points of interest

Notes and references

Notes

  1. Richter, Sara and Tom Lewis. "Cimarron Territory," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Oklahoma Historical Society, Accessed July 1, 2015.
  2. "Oklahoma Geography from NETSTATE". www.netstate.com.
  3. Leland Bement, "Beaver River Complex Contribution to Folsom Archaeology: An Update and Future Directions," The Digital Archaeological Record (2015).
  4. "African Explorers of Spanish America". Park Ethnography Program. US National Park Service. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  5. 1 2 Lintz, Christopher. "Antelope Creek Phase". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  6. Gibson, Arrell M. Oklahoma: A History of Five Centuries. Retrieved May 11, 2013. Available on Google Books.
  7. Map of the Santa Fe Trail. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  8. "Oklahoma Panhandle: Badmen in No Man's Land". Wild West magazine. 2006-06-12. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  9. 1 2 3 Turner, Kenneth R. "No Man's Land". Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  10. 1 2 3 Sara Richter and Tom Lewis, "Cimarron Territory", Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed April 13, 2013.
  11. 1 2 Wardell, p. 83.
  12. Wardell, p. 84.
  13. 1 2 3 "Beaver County – No Man's Land". Annual Reports of the Department of the Interior for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1904. U.S. Department of the Interior. 1904. pp. 463–465. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  14. Wardell, p. 86.
  15. Wardell, p. 885
  16. "Cimarron: Concept of Panhandle state nixed by political squabbling". 4 November 2015.
  17. Library of Congress. "America's Story from America's Library: The Dust Bowl of Oklahoma." Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  18. 1 2 3 American FactFinder Archived September 11, 2013, at the Wayback Machine , United States Census Bureau. (accessed September 3, 2013)
  19. Goins, Charles Robert and Danney Goble. "The Oklahoma Panhandle, 2000." In: Historical Atlas of Oklahoma. Available on Google Books.p. 206. Retrieved January 19. 2014.
  20. "US Election Atlas".

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References

Further reading