James W. Moffitt
These extracts from the diary of Mr. L. F. Carroll illustrate in interesting fashion some of the events in connection with the opening of the Oklahoma Lands in 1889. Carroll, a farmer living near Newkirk, Oklahoma, came to Labette County, Kansas, from Pennsylvania. At the age of seventy-five, he is President of the Crop Improvement Association of Oklahoma. In 1926 he was designated as a Master Farmer by the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College. He holds the distinction of having made one run and of securing land in another.
Tuesday 9. Washed tent done odd jobs all day
Wednesday 10. Went to town in the forenoon loaded things in wagon to start to Oklahoma and done odd chores.
Thursday 11. Loaded the wagon and started for Oklahoma Passed by Mr. Sagers got his things and got as far as Lake Creek for Dinner drove to or three miles to Coffeyville1 and camped
Friday 12. Drove through Coffeyville down the Santa Fe R. R. grade to the Nation line2 then down the Tulsa trail camped on a little creek the air so full of bugs where we camped had to move wagon
Saturday 13. Drove down the Trail through a good country crossed the Caney river and Hominy creek and camped below Ski-a-took on the creek
Sunday 14. Still we go through a good country ate dinner near Tulsa drove through the town and forded the Arkansas River water not up to the wagon box then to Red Fork and 5 or 6 miles down on the Cimmaron trail camped by some Indians making posts
Monday 15. Passed but two houses in the morning then took up a divide for a good many miles and camped on a small creek Mr Sager caught some fish I killed a couple of Squirrels after we camped plenty of music in camp horns piccolo and other instruments has been timber mostly scrubby post and jack oak
Tuesday 16. Still traveling over a rocky and timber country by Turkey Track ranch and into the Sax and Fox country3 saw no prairie to speak of to day camped on a small creek near the Cimmaron Riv.
Wednesday 17. Drove out of the timber upon a high prairie to a ranch on the big bend in the Cimmaron then south west through a big pasture (have been it since yesterday noon) into the Iowa reservation4 through some timber and some prairie camped near some Chetopa folk
Thursday 18. Went by the Ioa ranch and S. W. through some fair country to Wellston and south West from ther 3 or 4 miles
Friday 19. Drove down an old trail with little travel to a Kickapoo settlement5 on the N. Fork then up the River to the Oklahoma line went into camp early
Saturday 20. Spent all day in camp about 1 hundred wagons in sight camped here hundreds of people amusing themselves in different ways at night a party of men had a genuine Stag dance
Sunday 21. About the same as yesterday nothing new the North Fork is too high to ford
Monday 22. In camp till toward noon then drove up to the trail to take part in Harrisons Hoss race6 as the boomers call it
3The Sac and Fox Indians were brought from Kansas to their present location in Oklahoma after the Treaty of Feb. 18, 1867. They were given seven hundred and fifty square miles west of the boundaries of the new Creek Nation.
4The Iowa Reservation consisted of 114,209 acres. The Iowas had come in small groups from Kansas and Nebraska. In 1883 their holdings were given official recognition. By executive order they were placed on lands west of the Sac and Fox country and north of the Kickapoos, on lands of the Creek cession.
5The Kickapoos had gone to Mexico during the War Between the States, but had been brought back to the Indian Territory. In 1883 they were given a tract of land consisting of 114,209 acres. They were assigned lands south of the Iowas and west of the Sac and Fox.
6President Benjamin Harrison had issued a proclamation declaring that Oklahoma Lands should be opened for settlement on April 22, 1889 at noon. Those who complied with the terms of the President's proclamation were to be allowed to make a race to stake out a claim for a quarter section of land.
at twelve sharp they started those horse back a head light rigs next then heavy wagons last some with oxen following in the rear. Drove up the river and found good claims all taken then went across to the deep fork and along it all the best were taken camped on sec 21 Tp 13 R. 2 W. I. M.7
Tuesday 23. Looked all day but found nothing that suited crossed the Deep fork where there had never been a wagon across and down the R. R. to Oklahoma City left Mr Sager there to go home on the cars We camped near the City
Wednesday 24. Looked south of the North Fork and left O. K. and acrossed the Pottawatomies and camped in the Kickapoo all alone
Thursday 25. In the night an old Indian yelled us up and wanted some terbac told had none and he left on a gallop a singing as loud as he could yell came by Wellston and out of the Sax and Fox trail and hd two wagons for company at night
Friday 26. Went through an all timber country to the Sax and Fox Agency and up the Red Fork trail camped with plenty of company most of them going
Saturday 27. Drove through most all timber nothing of importance happened camped alone
Sunday 28. Came to Sepulpa the end of the Frisco R. R.8 then to Red Fork ate dinner there had to ferry the Arkansas river then to Tulsa and up the Frisco road to Mingo
Monday 29. Came up the R. R. all day staid near Sequoyah all night all alone misted some to day
Tuesday 31. Still following the R. R. to cabin creek near Vinita there had to camp on account of high water
Wednesday 1. Still in camp till noon then we crossed the creek and though Vinita and up the M. K & T. R. R. to the Water station near Blue Jacket
Thursday 2. Got home about one oclock found evry thing all right I am a little out of sorts but will be better soon
Friday 3. About the house all day not well
Saturday 4. Same
Sunday 5. At home alone all day alone
Monday 6. plowed some in the garden and planted melons cucumbrs, &c"
James W. Moffitt
State Historical Society,