Advertisement

Cliometrica

pp 1–20 | Cite as

How many rushed during the Oklahoma land openings?

  • Douglas W. AllenEmail author
  • Bryan Leonard
Original Paper
  • 19 Downloads

Abstract

At noon on April 22, 1889, a gunshot on the border of what was then called the Unassigned Lands of the Indian Territory launched the first of six well-defined land giveaways in what is now the state of Oklahoma. Contemporary newspaper and eyewitness accounts described the prairie starting line as awash in the largest gathering in the West to that date, with a subsequent massive rush, followed by the disappointment of many who were unable to make a claim. Similar outcomes were reported at the other openings, and these reports have been repeated and accepted in popular culture and the academic literature. Using recently digitized BLM land grant records, data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture, and the 1890 Oklahoma Territorial Census, we re-examine the land openings and show that the historical accounts greatly overstate the number of people actually rushing for lands.

Keywords

Homesteading Land rush Racing Oklahoma 

JEL Classification

N21 N51 N91 

Notes

References

  1. Allen DW (1991) Homesteading and property rights: or ‘how the west was really won’. J Law Econ 34:1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen DW (2019) Establishing economic property rights by giving away an empire. J Law Econ 62(2):251–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allen DW, Leonard B (2019) Rationing by racing and the Oklahoma land rushes. J Inst Econ.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1744137419000110 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson T, Hill PJ (2002) Cowboys and contracts. J Leg Stud 31(S2):S489–S514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Anderson T, Hill PJ (2004) The not so wild, wild west: property rights on the frontier. Stanford University Press, Palo AltoGoogle Scholar
  6. Barzel Y (1997) Economic analysis of property rights, 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Billington RA (1960) Westward expansion: a history of the American frontier, 2nd edn. MacMillan, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Bohanon CE, Coelho P (1998) The costs of free land: the Oklahoma land rushes. J Real Estate Finance Econ 16(2):205–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boothe W (2007) Washita County: images of America. Arcadia Publishing, San FransicoGoogle Scholar
  10. Cannon B (2013) Homesteading remembered: a sesquicentennial perspective. Agric Hist 87(1):1–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cheung SNS (1973) The fable of the bees: an economic investigation. J Law Econ 16(1):11–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Clinton Evening News (1889a) Going back home, April 26, 1889Google Scholar
  13. Clinton Evening News (1889b) The line crossed, a pell-mell rush by thousands, April 23, 1889Google Scholar
  14. Coase R (1974) The lighthouse in economics. J Law Econ 17(2):357–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. DeLyser D (2008) Thus I salute the Kentucky Daisey’s claim: gender, social memory, and the mythic West at a proposed Oklahoma monument. Cult Geogr 15:63–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Edwards R (2008) Why the homesteading data are so poor (and what can be done about it). Great Plains Q 28:181–190Google Scholar
  17. Faulk OB (1989) Land of the fair god and the run for land. Hist News 44(5):7–8Google Scholar
  18. Foreman G (1942) A history of Oklahoma. University of Oklahoma Press, NormanGoogle Scholar
  19. Frymer P (2014) A rush and a push and the land is ours: territorial expansion, land policy, and U.S. state formation. Perspect Politics 12(1):119–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gibson AM (1965) Oklahoma: a history of five centuries. Oklahoma University Press, Norman (1981, 2nd Ed.)Google Scholar
  21. Goble D (1980) Progressive Oklahoma: the making of a New Kind of State. University of Oklahoma Press, NormanGoogle Scholar
  22. Grady MF, Alexander J (1992) Patent law and rent dissipation. Va Law Rev 78:305–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Haines M, Fishback P, Rhode P (2018) United States agriculture data, 1840–2012. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, Ann Arbor.  https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35206.v4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hibbard BH (1924) A history of the public land policies. Macmillan, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. Hoig S (2000) Fort Reno and the Indian Territory frontier. University of Arkansas Press, FayettevilleGoogle Scholar
  26. Howard W (1889) The rush to Oklahoma, Harper’s Weekly 33, May 18, 1889, pp 391–394. http://www.library.cornell.edu/Reps/DOCS/landrush.htm
  27. Kidwell CS (2018) Allotment. The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma history and culture. www.okhistory.org. Accessed 16 Aug 2018
  28. Kracht BR (2018) Kiowa–Comanche–Apache opening. The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma history and culture. www.okhistory.org. Accessed 16 Aug 2018
  29. Maguire K, Wiederholt B (2019) 1889 Oklahoma land run: the settlement of Payne County. J Fam Hist 44(1):52–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Morris J, Goins C, McReynolds E (1986) Historical atlas of Oklahoma, 3rd edn. University of Oklahoma Press, NormanGoogle Scholar
  31. Muncie Daily News (1889) In the promised land, April 23, 1889Google Scholar
  32. Olzak S (1989) Analysis of events in the study of collective action. Ann Rev Sociol 15(1):119–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pitt J (1961) U.S. land patents, homesteads: Oklahoma county, Indian Territory land run of April 22, 1889, “89ers”. Oklahoma Genealogical Society, Oklahoma CountyGoogle Scholar
  34. Pool CG (2018) Wichita–Caddo–Delaware opening. The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma history and culture. www.okhistory.org. Accessed 16 Aug 2018
  35. Reggio MH (2018) Cheyenne–Arapaho opening. The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma history and culture. www.okhistory.org. Accessed 16 Aug 2018
  36. Robinson Constitution (1891) The Cherokee strip: the movement a quiet one, 4 Feb 1891Google Scholar
  37. Shanks T (2005) The homestead act: a major asset building policy in American history. In: Sherraden M (ed) Inclusion in the American dream: assets, poverty, and public policy. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  38. Swank E, Clapp JD (1999) Some methodological concerns when estimating the size of organizing activities. J Community Pract 6(3):49–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Taylor DR (1977) Some efficiency effects of nineteenth-century federal land policy: a dynamic analysis. Agric Hist 51(4):718–736Google Scholar
  40. Turner AO (2018) Cherokee outlet opening. The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma history and culture. www.okhistory.org. Accessed 16 Aug 2018
  41. Wickett M (2000) Contested territory: whites, native Americans, and African Americans in Oklahoma 1865–1907. LSU Press, Baton RougeGoogle Scholar
  42. Wilson LD (2018a) Kickapoo opening. The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma history and culture. www.okhistory.org. Accessed 16 Aug 2018
  43. Wilson LD (2018b) Sac and Fox opening. The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma history and culture. www.okhistory.org. Accessed 16 Aug 2018
  44. Yip PS, Watson R, Chan KS, Lau EH, Chen F, Xu Y, Xi L, Cheung DY, Ip BY, Liu D (2010) Estimation of the number of people in a demonstration. Aust N Z J Stat 52(1):17–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsSFUBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.School of SustainabilityASUTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations