Connected successfully  The Okie Legacy: Vol 18, Iss 45 1893 - Run For Homes

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1893 - Run For Homes

Here is a story concerning the Boomers living up along the Cherokee Strip, with thousands at Arkansas City. It appeared in the Independence Daily Reporter, Independence, Kansas, dated 5 September 1893, Tuesday, page 1: "The Run For Homes."

Found on

Arkansas City, Kan., Sept. 4 (1893) -- Reports from all along the northern border of the Cherokee Strip would indicate that the country was filling up. At Kiowa, according to traveling men just arrived, the crowd was very large. There was a tract of land just south of there which was claimed tot e as good as that south of Arkansas City, and with that as an objective point people who had tired of trying to dig a living from Western Kansas were flocking to the strip. Horse training and hardening goes on there nightly about the same as here, and there were some fine horses going into the race out there.

Arkansas City was full of traveling men who were on the ground ready to furnish prospective strip merchants with stocks of goods.

The hardware men said that they had nearly run out of shovels and had had to telegraph for another supply. Nearly every boomer would take one i with him and as many of them came here by the railroad minus baggage of all kinds they had had to buy all their supplies here. The saddlers had also done a roaring trade.

The clothing merchants said that the boomers did not believe much i buying clothes, and that those who did patronize them wanted $3 suits and twenty-five cents shirts, of which they sold a good many. The average boomer was not a very dressy individual. Full dress consisted of a cotton shirt, no suspenders, trousers in boots, a big pair of iron spurs, a tattered, big rimmed white felt hat, a two weeks growth of beard and a chew of tobacco.

The boomers were yielding to the seductions of the faro bank and the roulette wheel, and before the strip opened many of them would not be able to buy a ration of horse feed. The metropolitan air of the city had been increased by the starting of an ‘athletic club,’ at which fights would be given as often as possible up tot he day the strip opened.

A large townsite company was organized here the night before to locate at Ponca, on the Santa Fe, just north of the Ponca reservation, about half way between Purcell and Newton and the key to the new country. The company was located on a popular plan and was joined by hundreds of boomers and townspeople. The directory was composed of Arkansas City business men and some of the leading men of Topeka. It was rumored that the Santa Fe was largely interested in the movement and that it would endeavor to make it the largest town in the strip.

A great many boomers had discovered after reading the registration blanks furnished by the department that they were not eligible to acquire lands in the strip, the clause debarring any one who owns more than 160 acres of land from settling on claims being the stumbling block. At least a dozen had made up their minds that they would have contests if they should enter and have pulled out for home. Others who were not so certain would try and register but they would have to perjure themselves or be refused registration.

A boomer family which came in on the train the night before were convinced out of every cent they had just before reaching here. When the train got in the women were crying and the men were looking for the robbers with a gun.

Some time ago Frank J. Hess wrote to Secretary Hoke Smith suggesting that as many of the settlers in making the run would get on reserved or allotted lands, and thus probably lose their chance to get a claim, the department rule that a soldier be placed in the center of each reserved section and allotment to flag off settlers. He had received letter from he secretary stating that the suggestion was a good one and would be referred to the general land office with a suggestion to carry it out.
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