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President Grover Cleveland designated September 16, 1893, as the date of the opening of the Cherokee Outlet that Congress had paid $8,505,736 or about $1.40 per acre. Soon word spread across the land and later became known as the "greatest horse race ever."
Immigrants and citizens from all over the United States, loaded their belongings into wagons and on the back of horses. As these hopefuls swarmed the Kansas and Oklahoma Territorial borders, they impatiently waited for the Cherokee Outlet to be opened.
On that day in 1893 more than 100,000 white settlers rush to claim six million acres of former Cherokee land. By the end of the day, farms were established, and the cities of Enid, Perry, Alva, and Woodward had risen out of prairie from the day before.

The Homestead Act of 1862 made surveyed lands obtainable to homesteaders. The act stated that men over the age of 21, unmarried women who were head of households (i.e. widows) and married men under the age of 21, who did not own over 160 acres of land anywhere, were citizens or intended on becoming citizens of the United States, were eligible to homestead. Homeseekers had to register in advance of the "run".
Participants were to provide their names, addresses, ages, and a description of themselves, along with their signature on an affidavit that they would not enter the Outlet before noon September 16, 1893.
Successful contestants had six months to prove up their claims. Most did not leave their claims unattended due to "claim jumpers". After five years, surviving claimants could secure a patent deed by appearing at the land office and making the final proof of residence, paying $1.25 to $1.50 per acre and a land office fee of $7.00.

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Harper Woods Alfalfa Grant Kay
Major Woodward Ellis Garfield Noble
In 1893, there were 7 original counties: 0, L, K, P, Q, M and N.
After the run, the names selected were Garfield, Grant, Kay, Noble, Pawnee, Woods and Woodward.

In 1907 when Oklahoma acquired statehood the following counties were made from existing counties in the Cherokee Outlet:
Alfalfa County was formed from Woods County;
Ellis County was formed from Day and Woodward Counties;
Harper County was formed from Woods and Woodward Counties;
Major County was formed from Woods County.

Thanks To Betty Jo Gibson Scott, who maintained this site 1998 - 2002

This Page Was Last Updated 02 January 2015

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