Land Run of 1889
A land rush in progress.
|Date||April 22, 1889|
|Also known as||Oklahoma Land Rush|
The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 was the first land run into the Unassigned Lands and included all or part of the 2013 modern day Canadian, Cleveland, Kingfisher, Logan, Oklahoma, and Payne counties of the U.S. 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).
The Unassigned Lands were considered some of the best unoccupied public land in the United States. The Indian Appropriations Bill of 1889 was passed and signed into law with an amendment by Illinois Representative William McKendree Springer, that authorized President Benjamin Harrison to open the two million acres (8,000 km²) for settlement. Due to the Homestead Act of 1862, signed by President Abraham Lincoln, legal settlers could claim lots up to 160 acres (0.65 km2) in size. Provided a settler lived on the land and improved it, the settler could then receive the title to the land.
Boomers and Sooners
A number of the people who participated in the run entered the unoccupied land early and hid there until the legal time of entry to lay quick claim to some of the most choice homesteads. These people came to be identified as "Sooners." This led to hundreds of legal contests that arose and were decided first at local land offices and eventually by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Arguments included what constituted the "legal time of entry." While some people think that the settlers who entered the territory at the legally appointed time were known as "boomers," the term actually refers to those who campaigned for the opening of the lands, led by David L. Payne.
"At twelve o'clock on Monday, April 22d, the resident population of Guthrie was nothing; before sundown it was at least ten thousand. In that time streets had been laid out, town lots staked off, and steps taken toward the formation of a municipal government."
Many settlers immediately started improving their new land or stood in line waiting to file their claim. Many children sold creek water to homesteaders waiting in line for five cents a cup, while other children gathered buffalo dung to provide fuel for cooking. By the second week, schools had opened and were being taught by volunteers paid by pupils' parents until regular school districts could be established. Within one month, Oklahoma City had five banks and six newspapers.
On May 2, 1890, the Organic Act was passed creating the Oklahoma Territory. This act included the Panhandle of Oklahoma within the territory. It also allowed for central governments and designated Guthrie as the territory's capital.
Depiction of 1889 Land Rush
Hollywood has produced motion pictures illustrating the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889 and the way of a pioneer's life on the acreaged claims.
- Cimarron (1931): based on the 1929 novel by Edna Ferber; directed by Wesley Ruggles; screenplay cast includes Richard Dix, Irene Dunne and Estelle Taylor
- Cimarron (1960): based on the 1929 novel by Edna Ferber; directed by Anthony Mann and Charles Walters; screenplay cast includes Glenn Ford, Maria Schell and Anne Baxter
- Nannita Daisey, believed to be the first woman laying claim on Oklahoma land
- Bradford, Susan (2007-02-10). "Oklahoma Land Openings 1889-1907". Retrieved 2007-03-03.
- "1890 Oklahoma Territory Census". Archived from the original on 2006-02-06. Retrieved 2007-03-03.
- Hoig, Stan. "Land rush of 1889". Archived from the original on 2006-04-11. Retrieved 2007-03-03.
- Sooners Sports website: What is a Sooner
- Howard, William Willard (1889-05-18). "The Rush to Oklahoma". Retrieved 2007-03-04.
- "History of the Unassigned Lands". 2007-01-02. Retrieved 2007-03-04.