Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

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LAND OPENINGS

The central and western parts of Oklahoma were opened to settlement by non-Indians around the turn of the twentieth century.
Land Openings, waiting on the line for 1889 opening
After the general allotment of tribal lands to individuals of each Native nation, several methods were used to open and populate the remainder, which became part of the public domain and available under the Homestead Act. Land runs, in which individuals competed for land claims and had to register and improve them in order to become permanent owners of the property, opened the Unassigned Lands (1889),
4,000 Wagons crossing Salt Fork river on R. R. Bridge, 1889
the Sac and Fox, Iowa, and Potawatomi lands (1891), the Cheyenne and Arapaho reservation (1892), the Cherokee Outlet (1893), and the Kickapoo reservation (1895). This method proved relatively inefficient, and other ways were developed.
The Race, Cherokee Outlet Opening, 16 September 1893
Subsequently, large expanses of land were opened by sealed-bid auctions after the allotment of lands to the various tribes, including the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache reservation (1901), the Wichita-Caddo reservation (1901), and the Big Pasture (1906).

By the Oklahoma Organic Act of May 8, 1890, the U.S. Congress added the Oklahoma Panhandle, or No Man's Land, to the new territory; parts of the Panhandle were already settled. Old Greer County, long in ownership dispute between Texas and Oklahoma, was awarded to Oklahoma Territory and opened to homesteading by virtue of U.S. Supreme Court order in United States v. Texas in 1896.

SEE ALSO: HOMESTEADING, INDIAN TERRITORY, NO MAN'S LAND, OKLAHOMA TERRITORY, SETTLEMENT PATTERNS, TERRITORIAL ERA, URBAN DEVELOPMENT.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Roy Gittinger, The Formation of the State of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1939). Gordon Moore, "Registers, Receivers, and Entrymen: U.S. Land Office Administration in Oklahoma Territory, 1889-1907," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 67 (Spring 1989).

Dianna Everett

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