Shortly before Daddy
was born came the exciting news of the Land Rush into what had been
Indian Territory. The so-called five civilized tribes of Indians had
been moved from their homeland to this new permanent location,
Oklahoma. The tribes involved were Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw
and Seminoles. The Seminoles were the ones forcefully evacuated from
Florida, traveling the trail of tears from Florida to Oklahoma.
Many Seminoles died on this long trail.
Finally the lure of unoccupied land was too tempting for the white man,
and the Indians were partitioned into a small part of Oklahoma; great
plans were made to open the rest of the state for settlement. Government
surveyors divided the state into 160-acre parcels. Every new homesteader
would be allowed 160 acres of free land just by claiming it.
At noon on April 22, 1889 all the would-be homesteaders were lined up
at the border. When the cannon fired, about 50,000 people rushed to
claim the best pieces of land.
As a young boy in Nebraska, Daddy heard all the stories about the Sooners
who slipped across the border early, the boomers who had been there
all along, and the gun fights over parcels. Daddys imagination
was sparked by all these stories but he never dreamed that he would
someday settle in Oklahoma. When Daddy did finally settle in Oklahoma
30 years after the land rush, most of the farmers were the original
homesteaders who had made the run.