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Camp Guthrie, originally located within the city limits of Guthrie but later moved to a site near Noble Avenue and Ash Street, provided the military an operations center for patrolling the Unassigned Lands before and during the Land Run of 1889. While the U.S. Marshal's Service was the civilian branch in charge of maintaining order, the marshals were not as effective as the U.S. Army, which commanded the respect of most land-seekers. The military's role was to remove anyone who had illegally entered the area before the run and, if requested, to assist civilian authorities in maintaining order. Preparations for the run had proceeded more smoothly than anticipated, and the military role was relatively routine, with only minor incidents in the month before April 22. Troops were stationed outside the land office for a few weeks before the run. The scene changed drastically overnight, as fifty thousand land-seekers made the run and turned Guthrie and Oklahoma City into instant "bubble towns" with over ten thousand population. Although rumors of widespread violence abounded, settlement was actually very peaceful, due to the military presence. When trouble arose, usually over a disputed claim to a town lot, order was quickly restored with the arrival of several troopers. Much of the military's success in peacekeeping had to do with the officers' professionalism and the troopers' training and discipline. Capt. Arthur MacArthur, father of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, of World War II fame, commanded the troops at Camp Guthrie until May 1890 when Capt. Harry Givens Cavenaugh assumed command. As civilian government developed, the troopers were no longer needed, and the post was abandoned in June 1890. Guthrie citizens often called the camp "Camp Arthur" or "Camp MacArthur" in honor of its first commander. There are no ruins of the camp.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Pamela S. Bocock, "Camp Guthrie: Urban Outpost in the Territory, 1889-1891," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 62 (Summer 1984). Lloyd C. Lentz III, Guthrie: A History of the Capital City, 1889-1910 (Guthrie, Okla.: Logan County Historical Society, 1990).

Michael Bruce

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