The Oklahoma Land Run of 1889 marked one of the most important historical events in our history.
The land which now makes up what we know as Oklahoma was opened to the public gradually. The day that each new section was thrown open, was called a “run”. The land was free and the first person who could “stake out a claim” on a certain plot became the owner. There were a number of such openings before the entire state had been turned over to the people by the government. The biggest and most dramatic of all these was the run of 1889, when the unassigned lands over which there had been so much trouble finally were opened by the government. 2,000,000 acres of land in the heart of Oklahoma Territory were up for grabs.
On April 22, 1889, “At the hour of twelve o’clock, that part of the territory known as the unassigned lands, shall be open to settlement.” This was in part the message received from President Harrison in his proclamation issued March 28,1889.
On all four borders of the land to be opened, folks lined up to wait for the signal to start. Crowds! Old men, young men, women and children, vehicles! Every conceivable kind of conveyance ..prairie schooners, buggies, carts, surreys, horses and mules. Thousands were lined up ready to make the run, on foot.
In addition to these, thousands of others entered by train. (the trains were told to not travel faster than the horses in order to keep things fair)
At twelve o’clock noon, a bugle blast sounded. It was the signal that set the throbbing mob in action and the great stampede was on! Yells, threats, and pistol shots pierced the stillness of the great plains as home seekers pushed into the heart of the open country.
Foam covered horses raced with trains, and many people jumped from the windows of the moving train coaches in their eagerness to stake claims. It was estimated that by nightfall on April 22, 1889, fifty thousand people had entered the unassigned lands.
For the past 42 years, a group of men and women, dedicated to the idea of keeping history alive in Oklahoma has hitched the teams and pulled wagons, surreys, and rode horseback to form a wagon train to commemorate the amazing plight of those who participated in the settlement of our state and the Land Run of 1889. Typically, the week long event has taken place in the mid to northern part of the state.
HOWEVER, On April 27th , The Sooner Teamsters, Trail Riders Association, and enthusiasts from our area will be gathering in Bokchito at the Mickey Ingram Ranch to participate in this historic ride. Each day, they will form a wagon train and proceed in a clover leaf pattern around eastern Bryan County.
On Thursday, April 29th, the wagon train will be pulling into the town of Bokchito and rest for lunch in the grassy area behind the south row of buildings in downtown.
First United Bank of Bokchito will provide refreshments for the riders and on lookers.
Please plan to come to Bokchito around noon on Thursday, April 29th, be a part of this historic day, visit with the riders and enjoy an authentic re-creation of Oklahoma History. (no run)