Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Boomers" And "Sooners" On Western Wednesday...!

Did you ever wonder just where the term "Boomers" came from? How about the "Sooners?" Well. don't wonder any more, because the Hermit is going to tell ya!

Both of these terms were part of one of the first land rushes. It was an interesting time, to say the least! Lots of lessons learned during the first land rush! From the folks over at, here is good article about the whole mess!

Apr 22, 1889:
The Oklahoma land rush begins

At precisely high noon, thousands of would-be settlers make a mad dash into the newly opened Oklahoma Territory to claim cheap land.

The nearly two million acres of land opened up to white settlement was located in Indian Territory, a large area that once encompassed much of modern-day Oklahoma. Initially considered unsuitable for white colonization, Indian Territory was thought to be an ideal place to relocate Native Americans who were removed from their traditional lands to make way for white settlement. The relocations began in 1817, and by the 1880s, Indian Territory was a new home to a variety of tribes, including the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Cheyenne, Commanche, and Apache.

By the 1890s, improved agricultural and ranching techniques led some white Americans to realize that the Indian Territory land could be valuable, and they pressured the U.S. government to allow white settlement in the region. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison agreed, making the first of a long series of authorizations that eventually removed most of Indian Territory from Indian control.

To begin the process of white settlement, Harrison chose to open a 1.9 million-acre section of Indian Territory that the government had never assigned to any specific tribe. However, subsequent openings of sections that were designated to specific tribes were achieved primarily through the Dawes Severalty Act (1887), which allowed whites to settle large swaths of land that had previously been designated to specific Indian tribes.

On March 3, 1889, Harrison announced the government would open the 1.9 million-acre tract of Indian Territory for settlement precisely at noon on April 22. Anyone could join the race for the land, but no one was supposed to jump the gun. With only seven weeks to prepare, land-hungry Americans quickly began to gather around the borders of the irregular rectangle of territory. Referred to as "Boomers," by the appointed day more than 50,000 hopefuls were living in tent cities on all four sides of the territory.

The events that day at Fort Reno on the western border were typical. At 11:50 a.m., soldiers called for everyone to form a line. When the hands of the clock reached noon, the cannon of the fort boomed, and the soldiers signaled the settlers to start. With the crack of hundreds of whips, thousands of Boomers streamed into the territory in wagons, on horseback, and on foot. All told, from 50,000 to 60,000 settlers entered the territory that day. By nightfall, they had staked thousands of claims either on town lots or quarter section farm plots. Towns like Norman, Oklahoma City, Kingfisher, and Guthrie sprang into being almost overnight.

An extraordinary display of both the pioneer spirit and the American lust for land, the first Oklahoma land rush was also plagued by greed and fraud. Cases involving "Sooners"--people who had entered the territory before the legal date and time--overloaded courts for years to come. The government attempted to operate subsequent runs with more controls, eventually adopting a lottery system to designate claims. By 1905, white Americans owned most of the land in Indian Territory. Two years later, the area once known as Indian Territory entered the Union as a part of the new state of Oklahoma.

I don't know if there was a better way to parcel out the land or not. I guess the PTB did what they thought was the best way, but we all know that doesn't always work out!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I'll show ya the four new baby kitties! Momma Kitty won't mind!


Gorges Smythe said...

I think I've read that the government never honored one solitary treaty that they signed with the Indians.

Sixbears said...

Another crazy time in US history. The natives got robbed of even the worthless Oklahoma land they were moved to. Pretty sad.

Momlady said...

I live on land that was taken from the Cherokee. I have let the spirits know that I will take care of it as best I can.

Chickenmom said...

Thanks for history lesson, Mr. Hermit! We always learn so much from you.
Would love to see the kittens. Are you going to keep all of them?

Phyllis (N/W Jersey)

linda m said...

Thank you for the history lesson. I vaguely remember hearing that back in high school. I would love to see the baby kitties.

HermitJim said...

Hey Gorges...
Seems to me that you may be right about that!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Sixbears...
They just couldn't leave those poor folks in peace! Sad!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Momlady...
I didn't realize that your place had a history like that! Cool!

Many thanks for coming by this morning!

Hey Phyllis...
More than happy to be of service, my friend!

As far as the kitties, I may keep one. I'm not sure yet!

I appreciate the visit today!

Hey Linda...
Kinda hard not to teach something like the land rushes since it showed up in so many early movies!

Thanks for coming over this morning!

JO said...

Smyth Your right they never did.
the story doesn't mention all that died over this either.

Will you get the momma fixed now?

Stephen Andrew said...

That's really interesting. Thanks for doing the research and posting.

HermitJim said...

Hey Jo...
In answer to your question, I'm afraid that momma kitty is going to be fixed as soon as she is healed enough from the babies.

Thanks, sweetie, for coming over today!

Hey Stephen...
Certainly more than happy to share what I've found!

Thanks so much for coming over today!