Visit of the Congressman

Stop 13: At Myriad Gardens Ice Rink entrance between W Sheridan and W Reno along Ron Norick Blvd, Downtown

A visit by influential members of Congress in September 1889 was the most important event in Oklahoma since the Run itself.

On Tuesday, September 17, 1889, six congressmen arrived by rail from Guthrie for a first-hand look at life in the Oklahoma country. Following a tour of the city, they joined a large gathering for barbeque and speeches. Mayor Couch and city councilman Sidney Clarke delivered the welcome. Congressmen Charles Mansur of Missouri, and William Springer of Illinois, author of the legislation that opened Oklahoma Country to non-Indian settlement, addressed the crowd.

That evening a gala dinner event at the Bone and McKinnon building showed off the city and its citizens in all their finery. Before leaving the following morning, the dignitaries promised to do what they could to hasten federal legislation to establish territorial governance.

For a brief time the city's feuding factions came together to show their most friendly face. Yet barely four days later, a city charter election aimed at overthrowing the Seminole-controlled city government would be stopped at bayonet-point by Captain Stiles and his soldiers, acting at the direction of Mayor Couch and the city council.
 

  • 1862
    The Homestead Act opens up settlement in the western U.S. by allowing any adult American to claim up to 160 acres of free federal land. 15,000 claims are made by the end of the Civil War.
  • 1866
    The Civilized Tribes are forced to cede large portions of their land, including the Unassigned Lands, to the U.S. Government for relocation of other Native American nations.
  • 1880
    Boomers begin attempts to settle in the Unassigned Lands. The U.S. military repeatedly forces them out.
  • 1887
    The Santa Fe Railroad from Kansas to Texas is completed. Multiple stops are opened in the Unassigned Lands.
  • January-March 1889
    Creek and Seminole Nations release claims to the Unassigned Lands, and Congress approves opening the land for settlement.
  • March-April 1889
    "Boomer camps" pop up along and inside the borders of the Unassigned Lands.
  • March 23, 1889
    President Harrison's Proclamation sets noon on April 22 as the time and date for the Land Run
  • April 19, 1889
    Prospective settlers are escorted from the Kansas and Texas borders to the perimeter of the Unassigned Lands. Those already inside are required to leave.
  • April 20, 1889
    Land east of the railroad tracks at Oklahoma Station is reserved for military use
  • April 22, 1889 at noon
    Oklahoma Land Run officially begins.

 

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