One hundred twenty-three years ago this coming April 22, the non-existent town of Guthrie, Oklahoma swelled from zero population to ten thousand within twenty-four hours.
That was the day the Oklahoma Territory Land Run took place. Those adventurers who sought a new life, and a chance at a better one, arrived in wagons, on horseback, on bicycle and on foot. They gathered on the borders of what was then Indian Territory and waited for the noon signal that the race was on. Cannons boomed, and bugles blew, and they were off.
Thousands had elected to take The Santa Fe Railway as their means of transportation. So many were loaded onto the trains, that they stood on the roof, and jumped off when something appealed to them. The train, however, did make stops, with the majority of land seekers disembarking in Guthrie. From there they raced to plots of land that had been marked, and staked their claim. The next stop was to the Land Office where the new citizen swore he or she was eligible under the Land Run Act, and received a piece of paper registering the plot.
Fights broke out between people claiming land where another’s possessions were already placed. But, most likely because of the lack of alcoholic beverages, all those people arrived, claimed land, and settled in, with no violence to mar the event.
For a while Guthrie was the capital of Oklahoma Territories, but shortly after it became a state, the capital was moved to Oklahoma City.
Today, the historical town still boasts buildings that were erected during the early days of settlement. Recently, I took a trip to Guthrie, which is only about forty-five minutes from my house. The town was in the midst of celebrating a Territorial Christmas where shopkeepers, and some shoppers, dressed in Victorian clothing. These pictures were taken during that trip.
I hope you enjoyed the little bit of history and pictures on the town that I’ve used for two of my historical romance novels. A Run For Love starts off at the land run, and follows Tori Henderson and Jesse Cochran as they clash, then marry, then clash again. A Wife By Christmas features one of the characters from A Run For Love seventeen years later. Ellie Henderson is now all grown up and giving Max Colbert a twitch in his left eye. He figures getting her married off will get her out of his life, but no one seems to be worthy of her. My current project features another character from A Run For Love, and Michael Henderson’s venture into love.
Take a look under the “Books” tab above for more information on these two books. A Run For Love and A Wife By Christmas are available here: Click Here. I would love to hear your thoughts about this amazing event. It absolutely mesmerizes me.