What was the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889?

In 1889, the federal government opened a portion of Indian Territory in prestate Oklahoma for settlement. According to plan, at noon on April 22, 1889, people could gather at either the Arkansas or Texas borders and, at the sound of the bugle, race to claim any parcel of unclaimed land and file a claim according to federal law. Federal marshals, railroad employees and others who were already legally located in the Territory, were forbidden to claim any land. Most of these “Legal Sooners”, named for a section in the Indian Appropriation Act, as well as “Boomers” who felt they had every right, according to the Homestead act of 1862 to claim 160 acres of land for themselves, violated this mandate, hiding along the landscape to jump up and file claims anyway. The majority of land was claimed by these Boomers and Sooners and these knicknames for the state's citizens continue to this day.

The Land Run resulted in a multitude of changes for Oklahoma. The town of Guthrie, for example, was established and inhabited in one day, going from 0 inhabitants to 10,000 in one afternoon. A city government, streets, lots and tent or wagon “homes” rose up before sunset on April 22nd.

Individuals and families from all over the country arrived in Oklahoma to make the ‘Run’ via railway, horseback or covered wagon. The covered wagon had the threefold purpose of providing transportation, a moving van and a motel. Everything that could possibly be needed for survival was packed into these farm wagons that were fitted with a ribbed frame and covered with waterproofed canvas. Loads of foodstuffs were included and a valuable stash of sourdough starter for breads, biscuits and other baked goods was sure to be found. Baking took place in cast iron dutch ovens that could offer flaky biscuits and fresh bread as hot and tasty as any conventional oven.

In the spirit of the “Okie” toughness exibited in the Oklahoma Land Run days, the Oklahoma Pastry Cloth is handmade, near Shawnee, Oklahoma, of heavyweight, 100% cotton canvas and will last through years of bread, biscuit, noodle, cookie and any other pastry baking.

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Oklahoma Historical Society

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