View Full Version : Where did the land run of 1889 begin?

08-15-2008, 03:01 PM
April 22nd 1889...This pic below was taken at the moment the land run opened at noon. Where was this "starting line" located? Anyone know??

08-15-2008, 03:30 PM
The starting line was about half way through Canadian and Kingfisher Counties. As can be seen by this map:

08-15-2008, 03:30 PM
I don't think there was one paticular starting line because there were several land runs. According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, the largest groups of settelers were in Arkansas City, Kansas and Caldwell, Kansas. It also mentions settlers coming in from the south and Texas Panhandle. Looks like the groups in Kansas were the first ones though because the article talks about them getting permission to start on April 18th.

LAND RUN of 1889 (

My wife, who is a OU History Grad, just told me it started in the Cherokee Strip just north of OKC.

08-15-2008, 03:40 PM
Thanks guys. I have always wanted to know where exactly that famous picture was taken.


08-15-2008, 03:43 PM
I heard there was a cannon up on some hill in Purcell that started the land run.

08-15-2008, 03:52 PM
Luke, I have heard that cannon story too....I hope someone knows where the picture was taken. I'm sure the ever sprawling OKC is now on top on the "starting line"...but wouldnt be neat to know right where it begin (in that pic).

08-15-2008, 08:37 PM
My Great-grandfather was in the April 22, 1889 land run. The north starting line was around what is now the Noble county area. He settled 180 acres in west Guthrie. I am unsure where the starting lines were for the other boundaries or if there were other starting lines for the April 22, 1889 run. There were later runs but the 1889 run was the first for the Oklahoma territory. The Cherokee Strip run took place several years later, circa 1892 .

08-15-2008, 08:43 PM
If I am remembering correctly, originally central Oklahoma was Oklahoma, IT and all the surrounding areas were still IT at the time of the first land run. So I am guessing that this map is from one of the later land runs?

08-15-2008, 11:04 PM
There were five different land runs. April 22, 1889 was the first and opened the Unassigned Lands in the central part of the state. You can see a better map here:
The Unassigned Lands are marked as ďOklahoma LandsĒ on the map and shown in the two bottom maps.

The south border of the Cherokee Outlet (north border of Logan and Kingfisher Counties) and the South Canadian River served as the major starting lines of the 1889 Land Run. However, most of the people who settled the downtown OKC area came by train from either the north or south boundary (or cheated and were already on the land). Purcell was an important AT&SF rail center on the Chickasaw Lands even before the Unassigned Lands were opened. There was not a permanent AT&SF rail town along the border with the Cherokee Outlet so the train was just parked on the border until noon. Several who participated in the run by horseback or by foot from the south filtered through Purcell since it would have been easier to cross the railroad bridge rather than the river itself.

That photo is not supposed to actually be of the April 22, 1889 Land Run (Run #1) but rather from the September 16, 1893 Land Run (Run #4) that opened the Cherokee Outlet. You can read a bit more about it here:
I would bet that the book the website mentions would give you a better idea where the photo was taken.

08-16-2008, 11:21 AM
My wife, who is a OU History Grad, just told me it started in the Cherokee Strip just north of OKC. Posted by soonerfever.

Apparently she didn't major in Oklahoma History.

08-17-2008, 10:15 PM
Apparently she didn't major in Oklahoma History.

What are you talking about? Oklahoma History is one class! You can't major in something by taking one class. She did take Oklahoma History and she made an A in the class. I just read her class notes and her professor said that the U.S. and the Cherokees began negotiating over the land in 1889 and the U.S. wanted to have a land run later that year, however an agreement wasn't made until 1893.

I think everyone is in agreement that the Cherokee Strip was not the first land run.

08-18-2008, 07:18 AM
db411.....thanks for the great links!

sgt. pepper
08-18-2008, 09:28 AM
db411, i could not open your first link, is it just me? So there was a north and south starting lines in 1889? two of them starting at noon? Stillwater has a big sign that claims this is where Oklahoma began, what's the deal with that?

08-18-2008, 05:32 PM
I have always wondered where the run of '89 was. I have told it was in the Purcell/Lexington area. I do have a friend that still lives on land his anscestors got in that run and it is in Cleveland county. On 34th and Bryant in Moore. He can't tell me where it was but I believe the historical society in Purcell can probably pinpoint the location. By the way, in the Ninth grade (many, years ago) i took a class on extensive studies of Oklahoma History (Mr. Joe Walser) but, I didn't get my degree in History or Oklahoma History....In land management...

See ya next time:............

08-19-2008, 09:49 PM
Stillwater is either referencing the fact that it is the closest major town near the north border of the land run or that it was the location where the Boomers settled in 1884 (until they were evicted a month or so later). The Boomer Movement is usually credited as one of the factors that helped open the Unassigned Lands and Payne County is named for the leader of the movement.

I donít know why the first link didnít work. I made a quick map with the modern county boundaries, interstates, highways, and major cities on it for additional reference points. Itís not the best map in the world but hopefully it will give you a better idea where the starting boundaries were.

Hopefully it will work. I was going to use the okctalk hosting but I kept getting a php error.

08-20-2008, 06:02 AM
that's actually really helpful... i've always tried to wrap my head around where the unassigned lands sat in relation to the modern county lines... now i can tell that the lands didn't fit exactly the shape of the modern counties... primarily, i tried to 'force' the unassigned lands to be the width of modern-day cleveland and oklahoma counties but apparently that isn't the case... and now it makes more sense.

so... would the eastern border (excluding the part around payne county) be equivalent to today's indian meridian road? given the name, that would totally make sense.


NE Oasis
08-20-2008, 06:45 AM
If you live in the OKC metro area, goto Hwy 66/2nd Street, east of Arcadia. THe first historical marker east of Arcadia is for Washington Irving's Crosstimbers camp, the SECOND, (near Indian Meridian road) marks the Unassigned Lands boundary and start of the land run.

08-20-2008, 07:17 AM
very cool... based on that, i found a pic. -M

sgt. pepper
08-20-2008, 08:37 AM i am totally confussed (as usual). There was a starting line on the north boundries of what is now Kingfisher and Logan counties....headed south.....close to Stillwater.....right? There is talk of a starting line near Purcell....maybe headed north. Now here is a marker just east of Arcadia stating an east line. How many starting lines were there? All my life i was thinking there was only one staring line in 1889.

08-20-2008, 09:27 AM
i believe that there were starting lines from several locations surrounding the unassigned lands... i swear i've seen a graphic (and it may even be linked on this thread) that shows a map of the territory detailing the location of multiple starting points.


08-20-2008, 09:50 AM
I would love to see that. There is no way OKC could have 10,000 people in one day if there wasn't a starting point near here.

08-20-2008, 11:34 AM
found it. it was on doug's blog about council grove. the arrows on the map appear to indicate major entry points for the 1889 land run.

here's a link to the article. (

here's a link to the map. (


08-20-2008, 11:39 AM
very cool... based on that, i found a pic. -M

I would like to see the city or state erect more of those monuments accordingly. It's who we are.

08-20-2008, 03:02 PM

An approximation of that image right there should have been on the back of Oklahoma's state quarter. Would have been perfect.

Instead, we have a bird. Allsome.

sgt. pepper
08-21-2008, 08:35 AM
great find mmm, can always count on doug. so all the arrows are starting points? some are big and some are small. a lot of small ones south of the river. i guess the major ones are the bigger arrows. i need to get an Oklahoma ghost towns book. George Washington, Silver City...interesting stuff.