LARGEST OKLAHOMA LAND RUN BEGAN 122 YEARS AGO TODAY
Oklahoma Territory (JFK+50) A century and 22 years ago today, September 16, 1893, the Cherokee Strip Land Run began with the loud boom of a cannon at Noon local time. More than 100,000 men stood along the Kansas border poised to race to claim their share of two million acres.
In 1818, the Congress of the United States declared Oklahoma to be Indian Territory. All white settlers were ordered out and Native American tribes, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole were ushered in.
By 1893, with economic depression throughout the land, the Oklahoma Territory was once again open to white settlement. This time, those who wished to claim one of the 42,000 parcels of soil had to wait on the border until the signal was given for them to legally cross into Oklahoma.
President Grover Cleveland designated September 16, 1893 as the date for the Cherokee Strip Land Run, just one of five "land runs," but what was to be the largest. There was also a land lottery and a land auction.
The 100,000 faced a line of soldiers with rifles raised to fire. When the cannon shot erupted, each soldier fired his weapon into the air and the race was on. There were not just men on foot, but there were horses, some mounted and others hitched to wagons. There was even a locomotive with ten carloads of men.
"Cherokee Strip Land Run: September 16, 1893," Oklahoma Historical Society, www.okhistory.org/
"The Great Oklahoma Land Rush of 1893," Eyewitness to History, 9-18-2010, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/