Eighty-niners (89ers) is a term applied specifically to persons who participated in the Land Run of April 22, 1889, into the Unassigned Lands. It is attached more generally to persons with authority to be inside the Unassigned Lands prior to that date and to anyone who came to the former Unassigned Lands before the end of the year.
Being an Eighty-niner was a source of great pride for those who held the distinction. In 1905 many original Eighty-niners banded together to discuss matters of mutual interest. They called themselves the Men of '89 and agreed to have annual picnics to recall their experiences and accomplishments. The Women of '89 organized in 1909 and received a charter in 1912. In 1927 the two groups merged and changed the name to the 1889er Society with a perpetual membership comprised of Eighty-niners, their spouses, and/or their children or direct descendants. Eventually the 1889er Society became affiliated with the Harn Homestead and 1889er Museum in Oklahoma City.
A more recent use of the nickname came with the establishment of the Oklahoma City '89ers professional baseball team in 1962, a name the team carried until September 1997.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: "The '89-ers, Oklahoma City, 1938-1939," and "The 1889er Society/William Freemont Harn Gardens and 1889er Society Museum," in "Eighty-niners," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Patrick K. Petree and Bing Hampton, Old Times to the Goodtimes: Oklahoma City Baseball (Oklahoma City: N.p., [1981?].
Mary Ann Blochowiak
© Oklahoma Historical Society