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  #1  
Old 11-20-2004, 07:19 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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How Did The "Oklahoma Land Rush" Work?

I caught a glimpse of an old movie showing this. From waht i gather, when the Oklahoma Territiory was opened to white settlement (in 1880 or so), the colonists all waited at the Texas border, in wagons, horseback, bicycles, etc., then a starter's pistol was fired..and everybody took off! I guess you went as far as you could, and staked a claim!
This sounds absurd to me..how would you know the boundaties of your claim? There must have been a lot of murders-disputes over land!
Anyway, was anybody able to pack up and grap a hunk of oklahoma? Did the rich settlers eventually drive off the poor ones?
Must of been a hell of a race!
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  #2  
Old 11-20-2004, 08:21 PM
DooWahDiddy DooWahDiddy is offline
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Yeah, it was pretty crazy... I grew up in Oklahoma (God help me) and every year in school we would re-enact the landrush for our parents. You know that's why they're called Sooners, don't you? Because some people snuck in the night before and staked their claim before it started (i.e. too soon). That's right. The state's nickname is referring to a bunch of big fat cheaters.
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Old 11-20-2004, 08:25 PM
Reeder Reeder is offline
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IIRC all the plots were laid out in advance. You just claimed one of the plots.
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Old 11-20-2004, 08:29 PM
I can't believe that's butter! I can't believe that's butter! is offline
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You were limited to 160 acres, and a title would be granted upon your residence and improvement upon the land over a period of five years. This in itself would give an advantage to those richer settlers.

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From here
Under the provisions of the Homestead Act of 1862, a legal settler could claim 160 acres of public land, and those who lived on and improved the claim for five years could receive title.
When we (as kids in school) reenacted this every April, we ran across the multi-purpose field—land that no doubt was staked some one-hundred years earlier—to stake a space that as I recall was limited to twenty feet square. We then ate lunch1 on it, dressed in what was in most cases a half-assed attempt at period regalia. After that, we were forced to abandon claim to participate in period amusements—potato-sack racing, (plastic) steer (head-attached-to-a-hay-bale) roping, and like that.

1. For the sixth-graders, this was bought from a silent auction that was based upon the musical Oklahoma!. Underclassmen made the lunches and packaged them in shoeboxes, which we then bid upon for an amount not exceeding five dollars.
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