Land Rush Of 1889

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Land Rush Of 1889

Land Rush of 1889

First land rush into the Unassigned Lands

Unassigned Lands = the center of the lands ceded to the United States by the Creek and Seminole Indians

A gunshot fired. A cannon roared. Horses startled and wagons sprang to life. On April 22, 1889, settlers flooded into the region of central Oklahoma known as the Unassigned Lands. President Benjamin Harrison signed a proclamation on March 23, 1889, opening the land and people came from across the country to claim it. According to the Homestead Act of 1862, if a settler could stay on the land he claimed for five years and improve it, it would be his free and clear. Some people were very excited about the 1889 Land Run and were ready to try to make a new life in Oklahoma Territory. There were people, however, who did not want new settlers to come into the territory.

The 1889 Land Run from three different perspectives

The University of Oklahoma's fight song, "Boomer Sooner", which derives from these two names.


Several women, white and African American, also participated in the 1889 Land Run alongside the men. They also were lured by promises of inexpensive land and further opportunities. Married women followed their husbands, sometimes unhappily, to what was considered the uncivilized frontier. Single and widowed women also made the race themselves for the same reasons. The Homestead Act stated, in regards to gender, women must be single or widowed, at least twenty-one years of age, and the head of household to claim a homestead. Upon arriving and staking a claim, women worked alongside men to build their homes and begin their farms.

David L. Payne helped launch a campaign to open the Unassigned Lands in Indian Territory to homesteaders. He held minor political posts in Washington where he learned about the possibility of obtaining land if the "Oklahoma" country was opened to settlement. In August 1879 he began organizing settlers to move into the Unassigned Lands. Between 1879 and 1884 Payne led a number of expeditions into the Unassigned Lands.In 1884 he went on a speaking tour to raise money for the Boomer movement. Despite his death in 1884, the campaign for opening the Unassigned Lands continued until the opening of the territory in 1889.


Sooners = were people who campaigned for the lands to be opened Boomers = were land thieves who settled before the lands were officially opened

American Indians viewed the land run very differently than the settlers. While those who made the run saw the situation as an opportunity to claim free land, American Indians feared they may soon again lose even more land.After Boomers, such as David Payne, continually violated Indian treaties by encroaching on their land, the United States government finally relented and in 1885, passed an Indian Appropriations Act to allow natives to sell their unoccupied land. Furthermore, in 1889, President Grover Cleveland passed a new Indian Appropriations Act on March 2, 1889, which opened up these Unassigned Lands to settlers, which was distributed by land runs.


By the end of the day (April 22, 1889), both Oklahoma City and Guthrie had established cities of around 10,000 people in literally half a day.

New life: settlers: improved their landschildren: sold creek water or gathered buffalo dungby the second week: schools openedwithin one month: Oklahoma City had five banks and six newspapers





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