Thursday, April 18

We Were There at the Oklahoma Land Run

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In 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, allowing settlers to claim land, providing they lived on the land and improved it.  In 1889, the Indian Appropriations Act was signed by Benjamin Harrison, opening up two million acres of land for settlement.

The land opened was in Oklahoma, where Native American tribes were just resettling about being removed from their lands through relocations such as the Trail of Tears.  In only a few years, seven land rushes took place in Oklahoma, beginning with the most famous Oklahoma Land Run.

On April 22, 1889, approximately 50,000 people lined up with their horses, wagons, and belongings in the dusty morning.  At noon, the gun went off signaling the start of the rush.  By the end of the day, six modern-day Oklahoma counties had been settled!

Prior to the land rushes, cattlemen, railroad men, government officials, and farmers continued to enter the territory and settle there.  Sometimes, military troops found them and forced them to leave.  These men pressured the government to open up the land for settlement, and they were known as ‘Boomers.’

The term ‘Sooner’ comes from those who didn’t want to wait for the actual land rush.  They entered the territory sooner, and established claims.  Surprisingly, many of these men worked for the government, such as marshals and deputies.  It was easy for them to ‘sneak in sooner,’ as they had a right to be there for their job.

Many promises were made to the Native American population, but the rushes brought so many men that new towns sprang up overnight.  Indian Territory continued to be squeezed until it was a small area on the eastern half of the region.  Two new states requested admission to the Union – Oklahoma and Sequoyah (Indian Territory), but they were forced to unite and join as one new state, Oklahoma, in 1907.

Our spine novel for this unit is We Were There at the Oklahoma Land Run

Access the complete unit in the 'We Were There' Novel Studies Bundle!

Includes THIRTY-SIX unit studies covering World & American History. Each unit addresses a new topic, spanning the the ancient world through post-WW2.  Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.

  • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
  • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.

These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together. Our family has used unit studies as curriculum for many years, and we hope that your family will enjoy these, too!

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  1. Such an interesting study. I don't know that I had realized there was a land run in OK. Thanks for the new information.

  2. I think Far and Away was the movie where I first saw the land grab depicted.


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