Often called the "mother" of David L. Payne's Oklahoma Colony, Rachel Anna Haines was born in 1842 in Mason County, Kentucky. The Haines family moved frequently during Rachel's early life, living in Missouri, Iowa, and Kansas. As the eldest daughter and because her mother was an invalid, she carried the main burden of the family's household responsibilities. While living in Doniphan County, Kansas, she met Payne. Although she cared for him, she realized that family responsibilities, coupled with Payne's footloose ways, hindered marriage. In 1868 the family moved to Emporia, Kansas, where Rachel supported them as a dressmaker and accumulated enough money to buy a farm at Council Grove. They then moved to the West Coast and resided in California, in Washington Territory, and finally in Portland, Oregon.
In 1879 Haines returned to Kansas and joined Payne's group, which sought to establish white settlements in the Unassigned Lands of Indian Territory (later Oklahoma). That year and again in 1882 and 1884, she and the colonists were thwarted in their efforts by the U.S. Army. In the 1884 venture, Haines drew a revolver on the man who tried to arrest her. If not for the timely intervention by Payne and others, she would have shot this person.
Following the 1884 ouster, Payne and his followers returned to Kansas. In the fall of that year he went to Wellington, Kansas, to deliver a speech. He died there suddenly on November 28, 1884, probably from a heart attack. Haines was at his side at the time. Shortly thereafter, she authorized a story for the Wichita Eagle newspaper. She acknowledged that she and Payne had a common-law marriage but said that they had planned to have a legal ceremony as soon as the "Oklahoma" country was opened to settlement. Each had hoped to secure a claim and then legitimize their relationship. She also noted that Payne was the father of her son George.
Following Payne's death, Haines continued to work with the colonists and in 1885 again made a foray into the area, only to be removed. When the Unassigned Lands area was finally opened to settlement in the Land Run of 1889, she staked a claim, only to have it taken from her on the grounds that she had entered the area prior to the official opening. Although she fought the matter in the courts, the homestead entry was cancelled in November 1894. Haines returned to the Pacific Northwest, homesteading in southern Washington near the Columbia River in 1909. In 1912 she died in poverty in Portland, Oregon.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Berlin B. Chapman, "Oklahoma City, From Public Land to Private Property," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 37 (Winter 1959-60). Stan Hoig, David L. Payne: The Oklahoma Boomer (Oklahoma City: Western Heritage, 1980). David L. Payne Papers, Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma.
Carolyn G. Hanneman
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