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Volume 10, Issue 5 -- 2008-02-03

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Sometimes it seems like checking, picking what the gas prices will do is like playing the lottery [more]...
 ~NW Okie regarding Okie's story from Vol. 7 Iss. 44 titled UNTITLED

Patricia, there is a forum for the Louthan family that you might try [more]...
 ~NW Okie regarding Okie's story from Vol. 10 Iss. 45 titled UNTITLED

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Gazebo's, Winter & Ground Hog Day

Ooops!.... We won't be sitting under this gazebo anytime soon! This is one of the things that happened last Sunday evening into the early morning hours of Monday (Jan. 28, 2008) when 8 inches of heavy, wet snow fell here in the valley of Southwest Colorado. AND... Sunday brings more of the same -- SNOW!

We woke up this last Monday morning to NO electricity at 7:15a.m., Monday, 01/28/2008, with over 8 inches of fresh wet, heavy snow that had accumulated during the night before, on top of the 6 or so inches we received in the last few weeks. That gives us a valley TOTAL of over a foot of snow this Winter.

Our electricity stayed off until "High Noon" MDT. So... If you were trying to see Monday morning photos from our webcam, they were NOT updated until after "High Noon" (MDT) when the electricity came back on mid-day Monday.

Glad to hear that the sun was brightly shining in Oklahoma after a 6 inch snow storm passed through there this week. It's been snowing here in Southwest Colorado since we wokeup this weekend, Saturday, in the valley and continued to do so until early evening hours before dusk, when a few stray rays of sunshine broke through the clouds.

Our SW Colorado gas prices are hanging around $2.99.9 for regular, as usual, with a 12-cent difference between "plus," "premium' and "regular."

Our temperature Saturday morning measured 27F with a snow advisory in effect until 6pm MST, this afternoon. The winter storm watch remains in effect from Sunday morning through Monday afternoon. I suppose some of this snow watch will head towards Kansas and Northwest Oklahoma, huh?

Saturday, Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, 2008 -- Will there be another six weeks of winter?

Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil says six more weeks of Winter! Phil's official forecast was read 02/02/2008 at sunrise at Gobbler's Knob, in Pennsylvania. On Gobbler's Knob on Groundhog Day, February 2, 2008, Punxsutawney Phil, after casting a weathered eye toward thousands of his faithful followers, he consulted with President Cooper and directed him to the appropriate scroll, which proclaimed: "As I look around me, a bright sky I see, and a shadow beside me. Six more weeks of winter it will be!"

BUT... that was in Pennsylvania! Does Punxsutawney Phil predict the weather for Pennsylvania or for all of the United States? What did the ground hog (marmot, prairie dog, whatever, etc...) predict in your neck of the woods? I don't think he could have seen his shadow in the snowy morning hours in the valley of Southwest Colorado where it snowed most of the night and day.

This is a very special holiday for those of us who look forward to the Winter festivals going on this time of year. Ground hog day is just one of many festivals. If that little guy somewhere in Pennsylvania doesn't see his shadow, then spring will be early.
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Grazing Elk In SW Colorado Valley

January 31, 2008, during the early before evening hours -- before dusk set in, a herd of Fat Elk were spotted grazing at our place near Stone Mountain, in the north pasture, in the SW Colorado valley east of Ignacio -- South of Bayfield, Colorado.

You can view the Elk of 2008 at our OkieLegacy Mac Site. These same herd of elk have been playing havoc with our fencing and leaving down fences for the horses to crossover.
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Oklahoma Question In Congress of '88

From Vol. 2, A Standard History of Oklahoma, pp. 603-636, by Joseph B. Thoburn, we learn a bit more history of the Cherokee Outlet, Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association, 1889 Opening of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Question in Congress during those early days of Oklahoma & Indian Territory.

The opening of the unassigned lands to settlement was introduced at the beginning of the first session of the 49th Congress with opposition. The opposition to the opening of the vacant public lands of Oklahoma came from two sources, the cattlemen with large herds of stock in the territory and did not want to give up the ranges; and the Indians who regarded the proposed change as the beginning of an invasion which would result in changing the old order where they preferred to live on in their own way and to cling to their own institutions.

The livestock interests claimed to have maintained no lobby in Washington for influencing legislation, but it was openly charged that a number of senators and representatives were interested in some of the cattle companies which held memberships in the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association.

A memorial addressed to the President of the United States, November 27, 1889, by the members of the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association, contained the following statement:

  • "Although bitterly attacked by a hostile portion of the newspaper press, and by some members of Congress, we have at no time had any agent, lobby or influence at the seat of Government, seeing to influence legislation. The nature of our pursuits and the character and disposition of our people have disqualified us from responding to the defamations and calumnies, which seem well nigh to have convinced the public mind that the individual who has, or has had, an interest in cattle on the range, is little better than a highwayman and a bandit and is worthy of penal reprobation." - printed copy of memorial, p. 15.

  • As an instance of the spirit of accord between the cattlemen and some of the leaders in Congress, even before the organization of the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association, the following extract copy of a letter, dated at Washington, District of Columbia, January 19, 1883, from United States Senator Preston B. Plumb of Kansas to E. M. Hewins, who was shortly afterward chosen a director of the association under its articles of incorporation, bears evidence:

  • "Yesterday the Secretary [of the Interior] wrote a letter to the President, strongly recommending that the Government buy the entire Cherokee Strip. The President will transmit this to Congress in a day or two. Of course, if the Government buys the land, it will be covered with squatters within two months and the cattlemen will have to leave. Of course, also, I cannot help but take the settlers' aide when they find the land is that of the government. But, on account of my friendship for you, Titus, Hamilton and others, I feel that I ought to let you know what is going on. Please say nothing about this to any one until you have thought it all over and have written to me. I shall be glad to aid you, in all proper ways of course. Talk with Hood also about it if you think best." --- Eldred, a director of the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association.

  • When the 50th Congress convened, in December, 1887, the Oklahoma measure was again introduced and was championed by its old friends, Weaver and Springer, together with representative Charles Mansur, of Missouri. During the winter and the early part of the following Spring, the Oklahoma Bill occupied a great deal of attention in congress. Its friends were no more determined than its enemies, the latter being aided by strong lobbying forces. On 26 April, 1888, the opponents of the Oklahoma Bill made a desperate effort to have the so-called No-Man's Land attached to Kansas, hoping to cripple the Oklahoma movement, but the attempt resulted in failure.

    The agitation for the opening of the unoccupied lands in the Indian Territory had the effect of attracting increased attention to Indian affairs generally and led to the introduction of several novel measures into congress for the purpose of regulating the same. One of those, which was the occasion of considerable sarcastic comment in the Indian Territory was introduced in the Senate by Senator Henry L. Dawes, of Massachusetts, and had for its object the discouragement of further intermarriages between Indians and whites.

    In the House, Representative S. W. Peel, of Arkansas, introduced a bill to authorize the people of the Indian Territory to elect a territorial delegate to the 51st Congress.

    Representative George T. Barnes, of Georgia, introduced a measure as a substitute for the Springer Bill, one of the purposes of which was to provide for the removal of all Indians in the territory to lands lying East of the 98th Meridian in order that the entire western part of the territory might be thrown open to white settlement.

    Springer, Weaver and Mansur did not succeed in making much headway with their Oklahoma Bill. The opposition threw every possible obstacle in the way and, as the first session lengthened out, other matters seemed to crowd it aside. The excitement of a presidential campaign also tended to detract from the popular interest in the proposed legislation for the legal opening of Oklahoma to white settlement. Much of the popular interest in the Oklahoma movement may have seemed to lag during the summer and autumn of 1888. It was apparent that it was but a temporary lull, for when congress reconvened in December, it gave evidence of added strength.

    Couch, Clarke and Crocker, who were the personal representatives of the "boomers," were on the ground to watch every movement and urge immediate action. The business interests of adjacent states began to take an active part in the matter. An Oklahoma convention was held in Baxter Springs, Kansas, December 18, 1888, which was largely attended by representatives of various parts of Kansas and Missouri. It memorialized congress to pass the Oklahoma Bill. A similar convention was held at Fort Smith, Arkansas, January 24, 1889, and gave formal expression to the same sentiment. But the winter wore away with little or no show of progress toward the passage of the Oklahoma Bill.

    During the winter of 1888-89 the Indians of the five civilized tribes were represented at Washington by delegations which included some of their ablest men and leaders.

    The Indian delegation included Col. George W. Harkins (Choctaw but representing Chickasaws), W. P. Boudinot, Cherokee (nephew of Stand Watie), L. B. Bell (Hooley in Cherokee), Isparhechar and Col. G. W. Grayson (Creek), Judge B. W. Carter (Cherokee-Chickasaw), Senator George Sanders ("Soggy") and Stan W. Gray (Cherokee), Campbell LeFlore (Choctaw), and Sam Paul (Chickasaw).

    Hooley (Bell) was asked by a member of congressional committee on territories: "Mr. Bell, what do you do for a living?" With a serio-comic expression on his face Hooley replied, "Various things. I practice law a little, farm some, run for office occasionally, now and then take a hand at poker and never miss a horse race if I can get to it. The rest of my time I spend in trying to fool God like you white people do."

    Chances of the Oklahoma Bill were growing more doubtful as the days went by. Finally, in sheer desperation, Representative James B. Weaver, of Iowa, led in a resort to filibustering tactics until, very reluctantly, the committee on rules was forced to abandon its arbitrary position and consent to the consideration of the Oklahoma bill.

    The Springer bill was passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 148 to 102, February 1, 1889. In the Senate it was debated and referred to the committee on territories, which submitted a favorable recommendation, without amendment, February 18, 1889. One week later, Senator Shelby M. Cullom, of Illinois, tried to have it called up for consideration but was unsuccessful on account of other measures which had precedence over it.

    Saturday, March 2, 1889 arrived and no further progress had been made. Inaction probably suited the opposition to the Oklahoma bill better than negative action, since it did not put them on record. Although, it looked as if the measure was doomed to failure, its leaders and backers were not lacking in resourcefulness to this critical juncture.

    Assured of the friendship of a strong majority in the House, they naturally turned to that body in their extremity. An amendment to the Indian Appropriation Bill (which had not yet been passed), was hastily prepared, providing for the opening of the unassigned lands to settlement under the homestead laws. No attempt was made to include provisions for territorial government. Thus amended, the measure passed the House late in the last day of the session. The Senate strongly objected to this course of procedure but in the end it was forced to cecede or see the Indian Appropriation Bill fail of enactment. The President of the United States was also authorized to create two land districts and locate the land offices.

    The amendment to the Indian Appropriation Bill provided that the unoccupied lands of the tracts ceded to the government by the Creek and Seminole Nations should be regarded as a part of the public domain of the United States and subject to homestead entry from and after a date to be set by an executive proclamation which should prescribe needed rules and regulations to cover possible contingencies.
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    Cherokee Outlet & Cherokee Live Stock Assoc.

    As the agitation for the opening of Oklahoma to settlement was continued a popular interest began to increase, the question of the ownership and use of the Cherokee Outlet, or "Strip," as it was commonly called, constantly assumed greater importance in the discussion of the proposed opening.

    This was due to the natural antipathy which existed between the "boomers" on the one hand and the Cherokees, who were the owners of the outlet, and the cattlemen, who were leasing and using its lands for the ranging of their herds, on the other. Every thinking man knew that, if the lands of the unassigned district were opened to settlement, it would only be a question of time until the lands of the Cherokee Outlet would likewise have to be opened to settlement. Manifestly, this could not be done without having at least the nominal consent of the Cherokee people.

    In the beginning, the Cherokees collected (or attempted to collect) a head tax on all cattle grazed on the outlet lands. The net amount received was ridiculously small, though the cattlemen seemed to think the amounts assessed against them were excessive. As neither of the parties to the arrangement were satisfied, it led to the organization of the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association, which in its corporate capacity, leased the entire tract and then sublet it to the individual ranchmen for cattle companies to whom certain definite ranges were assigned. This obviated the necessity of sending out collectors, as the directors of the leasing association were bound by the the terms of their contract to pay in one-half of the annual rental every six months.

    The Cherokees never derived any benefits, tribal or individual, from their ownership of the "perpetual Outlet, West," during the first forty years that its title was vested in the Cherokee Nation, and though it had taken most of the proceeds of the head tax on cattle to collect it under the old arrangement, yet the leasing of the entire tract for $100,000 per year was severely criticized on the ground that it was worth much more and the question soon reached a very acute stage in the politics of the Cherokee Nation. Meanwhile, there were other white men who also thought the lands of the outlet were worth more than $100,000 per year.

    In the latter part of 1886, the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association, which had already had its business conditions disturbed by the activity of the "boomers" and by the expulsion of the herds from the ranges of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Reservation, was still further disquieted by the discovery that a syndicate had been formed for the purchase of all of the Cherokee lands west of the 96th meridian. That the proposed purchase of the Cherokee Outlet was more than an idle rumor, seems to be conclusively proven by the following extracts from correspondence of the period:

  • "Vinita, C. N., October 14, 1886 -- Dear Mr. Thompson: "I expected to meet you on your return & very sorry, for I can't express myself as clear by letter & for this reason I want to have you give me a few minutes to read my favor carefully.

    "I expect to visit council with a gentlemen, who, if he comes, comes to make the Cherokee Nation a bona fide offer of twelve or eighteen million dollars for the entire land west of 96 meridian. He is now making a more thorough inspection than my own report. This offer was intended for last council but it was entrusted to trifling parties & fell through. The bind money has all been subscribed, as the enclosed letter will explain and if nothing new comes up and my report of the resources of the "Outlet" is verified, this gentleman and probably one other will reach this place between now and Council time and I will bring them or send them to Tahlequah. They will make an offer of cash and ask probably an option long enough to have Congress of the U. S. ratify or sustain the Cherokee deed and in case Congress fails, to secure it from the Supreme Court, for every detail of the Cherokee title has been examined and it has been found from the best legal opinion the title to the "Outlet" is perfect within the Cherokees and in case the sale falls through you will see the great advantage of this offer to establish a future value on these lands, and if ever an intelligent Delegation is secured, to get a higher raised valuation on the lands already sold. But at the least, I want your cooperation, and let it be, like my own, to be unknown. The sale, even at $12,000,000.00, at 5% interest, will give many times more value than the lease.

    I have been working on this scheme carefully since 1882, as also has my partner, Mr. Wallace. I fear opposition from Hoolie in this asked for option, for the reason that I wish to drop him for the failure last year and for you to quietly break his influence, if he has any. We may decide to ask the Nation for 7-1/2% of the cash money paid outside of our own sale to other parties. If we decide on this, I can imburse you and two or three other influential Cherokees handsomely for aid, etc., outside of the great advantages derived from this offer, from the large amount of wealth paid into the treasury of this country.

    And as I said to you, I had a very interesting subject to talk to you of; now you know it and not even my wife knows scarcely even a word, for all of my correspondence on this subject has been carefully withheld from every one, and 'tis possible this offer by this Syndicate may fall through, but I trust, as the enclosed letter will explain to be there and have the option asked of this Council. -- Very Truly Your friend, (signed) Fred W. Strout.

    To Johnson Thompson, Tahlequah, C. N. -- P.S. I wish you would drop me a line if you look favorable upon both these schemes and if you will help me. -- (enclosure) Leadville, Colo., 214 W. 7th St., Oct. 4, 1886.

  • Dear Strout: Your letters received. A representative of the New York syndicate is on his way here and, on his arrival, I wll accompany him to Vinita. Will telegraph you when I start. The money is all subscribed if we can secure the option. -- Very Truly, J. W. Wallace, Per E. W W."

  • The following is a copy of the offer of the New York syndicate, as drawn up and signed by J. W. Wallace and John Bissell:

  • "To the Hon. D. W. Bushyhead, Prin'l Chief of the Cherokee Nation: We desire, on behalf of the syndicate which we represent, to bring to your attention, and through you to the attention of the Hon. Council now in session, the offer of our syndicate to puruchase what is commonly known as the 'Perpetual Outlet West,' being the lands west of 96 meridian. It seems only necessary to suggest that our offer is to buy the lands, whatever their acreage, at $3.00 per acre, the amount generally being determined by the surveys already made. The entire scheme will, in event that your wisdom shall bring the matter to the attention of the Hon. Council, be fully presented to the committee to which it may be referred and fully embodied in the Bill which will be laid before them. In the mean time, should you desire more exact detail, we shall take pleasure in furnishing you with explicit information. We have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servants on behalf of the Syndicate -- Jno. Bissell, J. W. Wallace.

  • This proposition was submitted to Principal Chief Bushyhead but was not laid before the Cherokee Legislative Council, presumably for the reason that public sentiment among the Cherokees was overwhelmingly against the sale of the outlet lands. At the same time, the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association, which had several representatives present at Tahlequah during the session of the council, was striving to secure a renewal of its five year lease, which still had nearly two years to run.

    The title to the lands of the outlet, as claimed by the Cherokees, was apparently complicated by the action of the Cherokees in accepting an appropriation of $300,000 which had been made by an act of congress approved March 3, 1883, as being "due under appraisement of such lands." The lands of the Cherokee Outlet had been appraised under the direction of the president of the United States at $47.49 per acre as a basis of settlement for the lands purchased for the Osage, Kaw, Pawnee, Ponca, Otoe and Missouri and Nez Perce tribes, for which appropriations had been made and paid to the Cherokee Nation in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of 1866.

    The influences which were back of this appropriation of $300,000, together with the fact that 7-1/2% of that sum was said to have been paid to the attorney of the Cherokee Nation at Washington (Col. William A. Phillips) caused much bitterness in the protracted campaign which preceded the election of new national officers by the Cherokees, in August, 1887.

    Then Col. E. C. Boudinot, who openly questioned the legal right of the Cherokee Nation to lease the lands of the outlet to the cattlemen without having first the authority of an act of Congress, and who also favored the establishment of a territorial government, took the matter of the 7-1/2% on the $300,000 congressional appropriation into the Federal Court, where Col. William A. Phillips and several prominent Cherokees were indicted for conspiracy. The conservative Downing party was triumphant in the election over the radical National party, electing Joel B. Mayes as principal chief over Rabbit Bunch by a substantial majority.

    After the election and inauguration of the new tribal officers, the question of a new lease came up for consideration in the Cherokee council and was the subject of much jockeying and wire pulling. The inauguration did not take place in as orderly a manner as it should, the count of votes having been delayed for some reason unexplained, so the newly elected principal chief forcibly took possession of the executive office and was sworn in. He issued a proclamation three days later (November 10) convening the council in special session.

    Much time was spent on contested elections, organization and patronage. After being in session a number of weeks, the council finally passed a bill to authorize a new lease with the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association for the sum of $125,000 per year as rental on the lands of the outlet. This bill was vetoed by the principal chief. A strong effort was made to pass the bill over the executive veto but it was defeated, though several members of the principal chief's own party (Downing) voted with the opposition. The council adjourned (February 9, 1888) without taking further action in regard to the matter.

    Chief Mayes then suggested that the proper way to lease the lands of the outlet would be to offer the lease to the highest bidder. This started still further discussion among the people and thus popular interest in the matter was kept up until Chief Mayes issued another proclamation, convening the council in special session on 25 June 1888. A bill was passed within a few days, authorizing and directing the principal chief to execute a new lease with the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association for the sum of $150,000. Claiming that he had two higher bids (one of $160,000 and another of $175,000 per year), Chief Mayes vetoed this bill also. the council then amended its bill, raising the amount to $175,000 per year, but Chief Mayes' other bidders having raised their bids to $185,000 per year, he vetoed that also.

    Charges of favoritism on the part of the principal chief and of corruption and venality on the part of leading members of the opposition in the council were freely made. The situation finally became so unpleasant, unpromising that Chief Mayes availed himself of his constitutional prerogative and adjourned the council after it had been in session nearly four weeks.

    The 5 year lease of the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association was to expire on 1 October 1888, while the legislative council of the Cherokee Nation was not to convene until five weeks later. In September, Chief Mayes issued a proclamation, addressed to all concerned and more especially to the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association and its sublessees, giving due notice of the expiration of the 5 year lease and serving notice also that the agents of the Cherokee Nation would on or immediately after the first day of October call upon the lessee and its sublessees to surrender the property, together with improvements thereon, in accordance with the terms of the lease made and entered into in 1883.

    But the officials of the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association were not asleep. Assuming that something must be done to "bridge the hiatus" between the expiration of the lease (October 1) and the date of the next council meeting (November 5), E. M Hewins, director and president of the association, went to Tahlequah and entered into a temporary contract with Robert B. Ross, treasurer of the Cherokee Nation, whereby the association was to retain possession of the lands of the outlet until January 1, 1889, at a rental rate of $175,000 per year, the sum of $43,750 being paid to cover the rental for the three months designated as the term of the contract.

    Chief Mayes repudiated the Ross contract (which was evidently executed without authority) and issued a supplemental proclamation (October 9, 1888) demanding immediate redelivery of the property held under lease. After the council convened in November, the long contest was finally ended by the passage and approval of a bill providing for the renewing the lease of the lands of the outlet to the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association for 5 years at an annual rental of $200,000.

    The New York syndicate had a representative on the ground at Tahlequah to renew its offer, made two years before, namely, to purchase the entire tract at a price of $3 per acre, but the offer did not receive serious consideration, even though it was expected that the Cherokee Nation might later be forced to sell the lands to the United States for a much smaller price.
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    Opening of Oklahoma (April 22, '89)

    We also learn a bit more history of the Opening of Oklahoma (April 22, 1889) from Vol. 2, A Standard History of Oklahoma, pp. 603-636, by Joseph B. Thoburn.

    The appearance of the proclamation of President Harrison setting a date for the formal opening of Oklahoma to settlement under the homestead laws of the United States, was eagerly awaited by the prospective settlers in many places throughout the West, and especially along the borders of the adjoining states, where many of the former "boomers" were residing.

    The assembled multitudes included people from practically every state in the Union, attracted by the novelty of the situation. There were people of all classes and conditions of life, farmers, mechanics, laborers and professional men, composing the principal elements, though there was an unduly large proportion of adventurers, gamblers and sharpers. Peace and good order generally prevailed, for most of the people were disposed to be civil and good natured. Although there were many who came to the border because of their curiosity, or who were actuated by a mercenary or speculative spirit, the vast majority were moved by an impulse to seek land and build homes. As the people who prepared to make the race for the privilege of filing on the most prized quarter sections of land had come from many different directions, so they also posted themselves on all sides of the unassigned lands.

    Many moved southward from the Kansas border and posted themselves on the southern boundary of the Cherokee Outlet, on the North. Others gathered on the line of the Iowa, Kickapoo and Pottawatomie-Shawnee reservations, on the East, while still others took up their stations in the valley of the South Canadian, on the South, or on the line of Cheyenne and Araphao country, on the West.

    Some settlers became anxious and disregarded the conditions set forth in the rules prescribed for the opening of the lands to settlement. Eluding the vigilance of the cordon of troops by which the bounds of the district were patrolled, slipped in and concealed themselves at points conveniently near to the best lands so that they would not have far to go when the legal hour of opening arrived. Many of these people, who were called "sooners," from the circumstance of having entered the country too soon, were removed by the soldiers. However, it was found impossible to apprehend all of them, so there were many who succeeded in concealing themselves and thus eluding arrest and removal.

    Most of the "sooners" who succeeded in staying in the country and filing on claims, were later dispossessed as the result of contests before the land office authorities or the courts. A few were locally reputed to have held their claims, making final proof by perjury, but it was a noteworthy fact that these had not prospered. The word "sooner" seems to have taken its place as the official nickname of everything pertaining to Oklahoma.

    The Southern Kansas towns nearest to the Oklahoma country continued to be overcrowded until the morning of the opening day. There was but one line of railway in the Oklahoma country then -- that of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, which passed through the center of the tract from North to South. Fifteen passenger trains left Arkansas City between daylight and 1 a.m., on the day of the opening. Fully 10,000 people wanted to board the first train out, a large part of them having been without lodging the night before. Standing room was at a premium in every coach, the platforms and steps being occupied, and many men rode on the roofs of the coaches. The first train ran to the northern boundary of the unassigned lands, where it stopped to await the noon hour. As the other trains came up successively, each was stopped as close as possible behind the one preceding.

    The people who had encamped on the boundary of the promised land prepared for the noon day race. Some being in wagons while others were in buggies, buckboards or road carts, with many on horseback and not a few on foot. All these formed in line, extendiing along the boundary as far as the range of vision extended, both ways.

    During those hours of weary waiting, strong men felt the grip of nervous tension such as they had never felt before. A sensation that had been not inaptly likened to the feeling of the soldier in his first battle. Even the horses seemed to tire of waiting as if a portion of the eagerness and impatience of driver or rider had been imparted to them. The cavalrymen were posted at long intervals, and set patiently on their steeds while waiting to give the signal to start the race.

    The fateful hour of noon approached; everyone took his place in line, and then a strange hush fell upon the waiting people as they fixed their gaze upon the trooper who was to give the signal. The faint notes of a distant bugle came drifting up the line and then the trooper out in front fired his carbine. Then arose a mighty shout, which had been likened unto that which was heard when the walls of Jericho fell, and the great race was on in all of its intensity.

    It was estimated that 100,000 people entered Oklahoma on the day of the opening, April 22, 1889. Fifteen thousand were said to have spent the first night in Guthrie and fully 10,000 at Oklahoma City, and others of the new cities and towns were peopled in like proportion. Nothing in the history of American pioneering -- not even California in '49, nor the Pike's Peak country in '59 -- equalled or even remotely resembled the rush into Oklahoma on that April, 1889 day.

    The press of the newly settled country had its nucleus in one paper in Oklahoma City (The Times) and one in Guthrie (The State Capital), the initial numbers of which were printed outside the limits of the territory, before it was possible to bring in and set up printing plants. The first paper actually printed in Oklahoma after the opening of 1889 was the Guthrie Get-up, a three-column folio, which was printed on a job press, with Will T. Little as editor and publisher.

    The galaxy of Oklahoma's first newspaper men was a notable one, including a number who were counted as veterans and others not less talented who were younger in years. The newspaper business, like other lines, both professional and commercial, was overcrowded at first and there were a number of consolidations and suspensions in consequence.

    Most of the pioneers of 1889 were people of very moderate means and not a few of them were in straitened circumstances. Under such conditions, it was not strange that the improvements made on many of the claims that first year were of a very modest and inexpensive character. Some of the settlers absented themselves from their homesteads during part of the following fall and winter in order to find work in some of the neighboring states. Some sold relinquishments to their claims and left the country, little, if any, better off than they were when they made the race. Others, who were no better off in the beginning, held on in spite of poverty and discouragement and ultimately achieved a competence.
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    Seeking Davey Drumright

    "I am seeking a Davey Drumright who lived in Enid, Oklahoma and used to visit Rosalea's Hotel in Harper, Kansas during the mid to late 1970s. Does any one know of his whereabouts. Send information regarding Davey Drumright to Email:" -- Rosalea Hostetler
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    SUPER TUESDAY Democratic Watch Party - Bristow, OK, Feb 5th

    "Little Deep Fork Democrats Invite You to their SUPER TUESDAY DEMOCRATIC WATCH PARTY - February 5th, 2008, Bristow Community Center, 10th and Chestnut, Bristow, Oklahoma.

    Our election night coverage begins at 7 PM. We hope you can bring some of your favorite snack food to share. Don't miss this opportunity to root for your candidate and have a great time. For Information call: Nancy Van Orden - 918 367-7094; 918-351-0207
    Leo Howard - 918-367-2917
    Frank and Margaret Keeter - 918-367-3731
    J C Hutson - 918-367-2155
    Pat Thompson - 917-277-6029
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    Okie! To Be! or... Not To Be!

    "Even though I have lived in Texas for the last 30+ years, I am an Okie through and through and proud to be considered so. My kids were born in Texas and tease me about my Okie Pride. It's been awhile since I've been back, but when they were little, whenever we crossed the Red River into Oklahoma to visit my aunts, uncles, & cousins, I'd sing the state song to them at the top of my lungs!" -- P Schuchert - Comment: OkieLegacy
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    Original Runnymede Hotel - Kansas Colony

    "The Runnymede now is on the web at and you can contact Ken Brown for further information." -- Ken Brown - Email: - Comment: OkieLegacy - Runnymede Hotel
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    Snow In the San Juans

    Thursday, we had 13" of snow. It started snowing, lightly but steadily, at 11:00 a.m. today (Jan. 27, 2008). The later we got into the afternoon, the heavier the snow became. We've accumulated 8.5" new snow as of 8:00 p.m. The electricity went out around 6:30 pm, but came right back on. I hope it stays on, but I'm worried because this is another wet, heavy snow. I filled the tub with water and have cussed myself relentlessly for not buying batteries to replace those I used up during the last electricity outage.

    13" of snow on Thursday, 24 January 2008, plus 14.5" of snow 27 January 2008, 6" of that falling after Wes plowed at 9:30 p.m. last night. The entry to south drive has 16" of snow and the north drive 22".

    NOW... That's Snow! 24 Jan. - 13" of snow; 27 Jan. - 14.5" of snow; 28 Jan. - 4"; 29 Jan. - 3"; From 2:45 p.m., 1 Feb. - 11:00 a.m. 2 Feb. - 9.5". And still coming down. Electricity is still on. When wind blows a little, it's a whiteout. This snow isn't as wet and heavy as the snow that felled trees and downed electric lines and equipment the 5th, 6th, 7th of January." -- SBW
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    No Man's Land & Cimarron Territory

    "Linda, Following is a link to the Chronicles of Oklahoma and an item on the No-Man's Land of Oklahoma. It has some interesting information on that land. Chronicles of Oklahoma, Volume 1, No. 1, January, 1921, THE HISTORY OF NO-MAN'S LAND, OR OLD BEAVER COUNTY, MORRIS L. WARDELL." -- Jim Bradley - Email:
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    Changeable Perry, OK (Weather & Gas)

    "Golly, Linda! The gas prices dropped back down to $2.79.9 today (Tuesday Jan. 29)! Sunday the weather was warming back up and Monday it was 60+ degrees but the wind was very strong and then today (Tuesday) it changed directions and began to turn cold. At 11:30 this morning it was spitting small snow flakes. At noon the sun was again shining brightly but still high winds and cold. This evening the temperature was 38 degrees. Tomorrow (Wednesday) it's supposed to be back up to 60 degrees and then Thursday we're expecting rain changing to snow! And then it's supposed to be warm again for two days. WHAT NEXT?

    This weeks newsletter is one of the best in quite some time (and they're always great). The HIGH winds are here again today Jan. 30, 2008) ... extremely high fire danger, and many acres have been burned in recent days (including quite a few in Beaver county).

    What next? The weather folks here were correct (so far)!!! The winds were very high again yesterday (Jan. 30, 2008) and in the evening it was warm enough that I walked to choir practice without insulated coveralls or even a heavy jacket ... just an insulated vest. AND THEN THINGS CHANGED! This morning (Jan. 31, 2008) tiny ice pellets are covering the ground here in Perry, Oklahoma and I'm going to 'bundle up' to go work.

    Speaking of work, I checked my web pages this morning and have sold a 'cream-top' milk bottle (remember those) from a dairy here in Perry for (what I consider) an outrageous price of $130 to someone in New York. I haven't checked my inventory lists yet but I'm guessing that this one probably cost me $30 and that I tacked on $100 just to see what questions I might get about it? Actually there's quite an interesting story about that particular dairy.

    The Bud Warren ranch is one of the early-day ranches in our area and the dairy bottled their own milk (as many did back then). The milk was delivered in glass milk bottles that had been made by Liberty Glass Company in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. For many years, that company has made bottles for companies all over the U.S.A. During WWII the Warren Ranch converted a building in town (now used by Wheatheart Nutrition Site to prepare and serve low cost lunches to senior-citizens like me, on a daily basis) to process the milk into a powdery substance known as casein which was then sold to the military to be used in the manufacture of explosives. After the war, the Warren ranch returned to creating regular dairy products which were delivered to area grocery stores and to the public in general.

    Bud Warren had begun dabbling in the raising of quarter-horses on the side and finally sold his dairy business (to Meadow Gold, I think) to concentrate on the quarter-horses and on the racing of them. He had his first champion named "Sugar Bars" and became rather famous with this winner, and then he got "LEO". There's a statue of Leo in a local park, and that statue was fully restored in recent years (for the Centennial). Leo's buried on the ranch but his progeny continued to win races. Then Bud Warren raced perhaps the most famous quarter horse of all ... Jet Deck. Jet Deck was murdered after I moved to Perry and the entire town mourned his loss. I don't know who poisoned the horse, possibly a rival horse owner who was jealous of the stud fees that the horse was bringing in. The ranch is still owned by the family. Bud Warren has passed away, but his son still owns the property. The son operates a local real-estate company and he and his wife live on a ranch east of Perry.

    The tiny ice pellets have changed to snow flakes now and the streets are white.

    Feb. 2, 2008... The weather wizards were exactly right this time. Wednesday was a warm 50+ degrees; Thursday was blowing snow (we had a 'white-out' before noon and wound up getting about 6" of snow on the ground); and then it melted Friday and the temperature range was from an early morning 13 degrees to an evening's 58 degrees (our area was the warmest in the state). The sun is shining brightly this (Saturday) morning. Friday evenings gas prices were at $2.86.9!

    It stayed sunny all day. The weekend gas prices climbed to $2.89.9 and I presume they'll stay there until Monday. We're expecting warm weather for several more days, but it's supposed to rain about Tuesday and Wednesday, I think. Maybe that'll stop some of the grass fires. We had another one southeast of here this afternoon fought by at least 3 rural fire departments. " -- Roy K.
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    Federal Court In Indian Territory

    From Vol. 2, A Standard History of Oklahoma, pp. 603-636, by Joseph B. Thoburn, we learn a bit more history of the Federal Court established in Indian Territory at Muskogee.

    In addition to passing the Indian Appropriation Bill with the provision for the Oklahoma Land opening as an amendment, provision was also made for the establishment of a Federal Court in the Indian Territory. Nearly 23 years after the negotiation of the treaties of 1866, by the terms of which the creation and maintenance of such a tribunal had been promised, the people of the Indian Territory could at last have access to a Federal Court without the necessity of going into a neighboring state.

    The seat of the new court was fixed at Muskogee and provisions were made for the appointment of a judge, prosecuting attorney, marshal and other necessary officers and employees. The criminal jurisdiction of the new court was limited to such offenses as were not punishable by death or imprisonment, all cases of that character to be tried at Fort Smith or Paris.

    The act provided that the court should have jurisdiction in all civil cases between citizens of the United States who are residents of the Indian Territory, or between citizens of the United States who are residents of any state or territory, or any person or persons residing or found in the Indian Territory, and when the value of the thing in controversy, or damages or money claimed, should amount to $100.

    The code of the state of Arkansas was to be adopted, as far as practicable, as to practice, pleading, forms, etc. In cases the amount in controversy was equal to to $1,000, appeal might be taken to the Supreme Court of the United States. Two terms of court were to be held each year, beginning respectively on the first Mondays of May and November.

    It was provided that all proceedings of the court should be had in the English language; that bona fide male residents of the Indian Territory, over 21 years old and understanding the English language sufficiently to comprehend the proceedings of the court, should be competent to serve as jurors but subject to exemptions and challenges as provided by law in regard to jurors in the western district of Arkansas.
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    Indian Land Cession & Opening Proclamation

    From Vol. 2, A Standard History of Oklahoma, pp. 603-636, by Joseph B. Thoburn, we learn a bit more history of the Indian land cessiion and opening proclamation.

    The Creek and Seminole nations, which had formerly held a fee simple title to the lands of the unassigned district and to those of that part of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Reservation situated north of the Canadian River, had ceded the same to the government by the terms of their respective treaties, entered into in 1866, for the express purpose of locating other tribes of friendly Indians.

    Before the lands of the unassigned district were thrown open to white settlement, it was very desirable to secure the consent of the Creek and Seminole Nations to the proposed opening, in the form of a a full, complete and unqualified transfer of title to the United States.

    The Act of March 3, 1885, under the terms of which the president of the United States had been authorized to appoint a commission to negotiate such an agreement with the Creek and Seminole Nations (as well as witH the Cherokee Nation for the session of its lands lying west of the 96th meridian), had evidently been formulated and passed in the belief that the people of those tribes had not merely a claim on the lands (which they had ceded under pressure for a special purpose and at a price that was a pittance) but that they also still held an equitable interest in the same, at least until such time as they might execute an unqualified relinquishment of their fee simple title.

    Negotiations, for the purpose of extinguishing the claims of the Creek and Seminole Nations to ownership of all lands in the Indian Territory west of their diminished reservations as defined by the treaties of 1866, were carried on in Washington City during the last session of the 50th Congress. An agreement was reached with the duly authorized delegates of the Creek Nation, January 19, 1889, where the government was to pay to the Creek Nation the sum of $2,280,857.10, which, added to the sums paid to the Creek Nation under the provisions of the Creek treaty of 1866 and by Indian tribes which had been subsequently located upon tracts included in the ceded area, would equal a total of $1.25 per acre. Twelve days after the conclusion of this agreement (January 31st) it was ratified by act of the Creek Council. President Cleveland laid the matter before Congress in a special message, dated February 5, 1889. It was ratified by act of Congress approved March 1, 1889.

    At the time of the passage and approval of the Indian Appropriation Bill, in the closing hours of the 50th Congress, no agreement had been reached with the Seminole Nation relative to such a final and full relinquishment of its claim to the lands lying west of the Seminole boundary, between the North and South Canadian rivers. Section 12 of that act provided for the appropriation of $1,912,952.02 to pay the Seminole Nation in full for all of its rights, title and interest in such lands, that sum representing the difference between the value of the tract in question at $1.25 per acre and the sums previously paid to the Seminole Nation in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of 1866 and by, or in behalf of, Indian tribes which were subsequently settled there.

    On March 16, 1889, two weeks after the passage and approval of the Indian Appropriation Act, with its amendment for the opening of the Oklahoma lands for white settlement, the duly authorized delegates of the Seminole Nation entered into an agreement with the government where the desired release and conveyance was executed and the title to the lands in question was formally transferred to the United States.

    This removed the last obstacle to the opening of the lands of the unassigned district to settlement under the homestead laws. One week later (March 23rd) President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation, formally announcing and declaring that, at and after the hour of noon, on the 22nd day of April 1889, the lands of the Oklahoma country should be open to settlement, subject to the conditions, limitations and restrictions contained in the act authorizing the same and to the Federal laws applicable. Thus ended the 10 year struggle for the right of settlement in Oklahoma.
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    The Organizational "Organic" Act

    From Vol. 2, A Standard History of Oklahoma, pp. 643-650, by Joseph B. Thoburn, we learn a bit more history of the agitation for territorial government -- The Organic Act.

    In the latter part of May, a call was issued for a convention to meet at Guthrie, on the 17th of July, 1889, for the purpose of planning the organization of a territorial government.

    Sentiment was divided along local lines, Guthrie and the contiguous section strongly supporting the movement, while Oklahoma City, Kingfisher and several other leading towns, in the main, were strongly opposed to it.

    In order to counteract the effect of such a movement, another convention was called to meet at the Town of Firsco, in Canadian County.

    The town of Frisco was situated in the valley of the North Canadian River, about two miles northwest of the present town of Yukon, Oklahoma. Frisco was abandoned after the building of the railroad led to the establishment of Yukon, to which most of its buildings and inhabitants afterward moved.

    Back to the agitation for territorial government... Resolutions of protest against the proposed organization of the territory, without the authority conferred by an act of Congress, were adopted by the convention at Frisco. The Guthrie convention met at the appointed time and, after three days of wrangling, adjourned to meet again on August 20, 1889, with 96 delegates present.

    When the territorial convention reconvened, 4 weeks after the first meeting, there were a hundred delegates present. A majority of the delegates were known to favor the proposed organization of a territorial government, but a large minority insisted that the convention should frame a memorial to Congress, setting forth the needs of the territory, and then adjourn.

    One committee was appointed to frame an organic act, another was chosen to draw up a memorial to Congress, and a third committee was selected to divide the territory into counties.

    There was a determined fight made against the adoption of the proposed organic act. In the end, the delegates who opposed the scheme succeeded in influencing the committee in charge of defining the limits of voting precincts, apportioning the delegates and calling the election, not to take any action.

    The memorial to congress was a supposedly dignified statement of the needs and condtions of the territory had the effect of "pouring oil on the r=troubled waters," as it were, and laying the spirit of local jealousy and rivalry, for the time being at least.

    The memorial was signed by 100 men who were then numbered among the leading citizens of the new territory, not to exceed fifteen of them could be recognized as leading citizens of Oklahoma ten years later. A few had died during the course of the decade but the majority of the rest had proven to be transient sojourners who stayed for a time and then drifted on, no one knows where, thus illustrating forcibly the lack of permanency on the part of many of the first settlers, and especially of the class that might be denominated as political adventurers.

    When the 51st Congress convened at Washington, in December, 1889, the memorial of the Oklahoma convention was presented, and three different bills for the creation of a territorial government for Oklahoma were introduced -- Senate Bill No. 895, by Senator Orville H. Platt, of Connecticut, and House bills Nos. 6 & 7, respectively by representatives William M. Springer, of Illinois, and Charles S. Baker, of New York.

    it was after extended debatee and with additions of several amendments, the Senate passed Senator Platt's Oklahoma bill February 13, 1890. Just one month later, March 13, the House debated the bill at length, amended it still further and then passed it. The Senate voted to non-concur in the House amendments and a conference was arranged. The Senate finally voted to agree to the conference report, April 21, 1890, An error in the enrollment of the bill caused a request for its return by the President. The bill received the approval of President Harrison, May 2, 1890 -- over a year after the authorized settlement of the territory.

    In its main provisions, the organic act for the Territory of Oklahoma conformed closely to the various acts of Congress under the terms of which all other territories of the United States had been organized.

    It defined the limits of the Territory of Oklahoma as including all of that part of the former Indian Territory except the tribal reservations, proper, of the the five civilized tribes and the reservations included in the Quapaw Agency; also the Public Land Strip (commonly called No man's Lnd) and also to include Greer County (which was in dispute between the untied States and the state of Texas) only in case the title should be adjudged to be vested in the United States.

    The form of government prescribed for the new territory was republican in that it was to consist of three departments, namely (1) executive, 92) legislative and (3) judicial. The chief executive of the territory was to be a governor, appointed by the president of the United States for the term of four years. The Legislative Assembly was to consist of two houses, designated respectively as the Council, consisting of 13 members, and the House of representatives, consisting of 26 members.

    The judicial department was to be vested in a Supreme Court, district and probate courts and justices of the peace; the Supreme Court was to consist of a chief justice and two associate justices, each of the three justices to be assigned to duty as a district judge as well as serving as a member of the Appellate Court.

    There were to be seven counties, to be designated by number, the names of the several counties to be chosen by vote of the people. The county seats of the several counties designated by the Organic Act were:

  • (1) Guthrie
  • (2) Oklahoma City
  • (3) Norman
  • (4) El Reno
  • (5) Kingfisher
  • (6) Stillwater
  • (7) Beaver

  • The governor of the territory was authorized to apportion the members of the two houses of the Legislative Assembly among the several counties, to issue a call for an election and to appoint a date and place for the convening of the same. The governor was also empowered to appoint such county and township oficers as might be necessary.

    Guthrie was designated as the seat of the territorial government until such time as the Legislative Assembly and the governor of the territory might see fit to establish it elsewhere.

    Sections numbered 16 and 36 of each township were reserved for the endowment of the public schools of Oklahoma.
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    Long Lost Shakespearean Poem Found

    *The Hokey Pokey* - (Original Lyrics)
    Put your left foot in,
    Your left foot out,
    Your left foot in,v And shake it all about.
    You do the hokey pokey
    And turn yourself around
    That's what it's all about.

    *The Hokey Pokey* (From newly discovered Shakespearean poem)
    O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
    Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
    Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
    Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
    Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke.
    A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
    To spin! A wilde release from heaven's yoke.
    Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
    The Hoke, the poke -- banish now thy doubt
    Verily, I say, 'tis what it's all about.

    Submitted by Joel in Henderson, NV. Not sure who allegedly wrote it, though.
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    Borger, Texas Auto Accident of '52

    Ken Updike is seeking information concerning his Borger, Texas auto accident of 1952. Could the person who signed the OkieLegacy Comment with "LC" please contact Ken Updike at Email:

    Also, what was the name of the funeral home in Borger, Texas?
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