Jodie Wolfe: 125th Anniversary of the Cherokee Strip Land Run

Today our special guest at the Junction is Jodie Wolfe. Jodie will be giving away a copy of her book To Claim Her Heart to one lucky commentor. We’re thrilled to have you here today, Jodie!

Thank you for inviting me here!

Almost twenty years ago my mother-in-law introduced me to the history of the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893. It was a topic especially dear to her since she had several relatives who participated in the race. In 1998, we made a trip from Kansas to Texas, stopping in Oklahoma to see the original permanent homestead. By then, it was crumbling, but I could already picture characters taking up residence on the property.

September 16th marks the 125th anniversary of the last great race for land in the United States. The run took place from nine different starting places in Kansas and Oklahoma. Almost 6.5 million acres were up for grab. It’s estimated that over 115,000 showed up to race.

My book, To Claim Her Heart gives a small glimpse to what life was like during this time. I had the pleasure of including some of the history from my husband’s family. Two fun items that are the most fascinating involve outlaws and quilts.

When potential land owners gathered for the race they came on foot, rail, bicycle, horseback, or all types of conveyances. Some came with nothing other than the shirt on their back while others came with wagons fully loaded with all their worldly possessions in tow. One of the things my husband’s relatives carried with them was a quilt that had been passed down to the oldest daughter in each family.

This Rose of Sharon quilt is believed to have been stitched anywhere from 1834-1854. I’ve learned that they were ‘signature’ quilts—one of the twelve different covers typically stitched for a bride of wealth. This one was quite unique. It was typically brought out on special occasions, like a wedding anniversary.

I’m blessed to own this priceless quilt originally stitched by my husband’s great, great, great, great grandmother, Magdalene Tomber, when she was a girl. With having no sons, my mother-in-law gave it to me. One day I’ll bestow it to one of my granddaughters.

One other fun fact in my story again involves my husband’s family, and the Dick Yeager Gang. I won’t spoil it by telling you about it here since the depiction in To Claim Her Heart is pretty close to what happened. Let’s just say… what would you do if an outlaw showed up at your door?

In celebration of the release of my book, I’ll be giving away one copy. Here’s the back cover blurb:

In 1893, on the eve of the great race for land, Benjamin David prays for God to guide him to his ‘Promised Land. Finding property and preaching to the lost are his only ways of honoring his deceased fiancée. He hasn’t counted on Elmer (Elsie) Smith claiming the same plot and refusing to leave. Not only is she a burr in his side, but she is full of the homesteading know-how he is sadly lacking.

Obtaining a claim in the Cherokee Strip Land Run is Elsie Smith’s only hope for survival, and not just any plot, she has a specific one in mind. The land’s not only a way to honor her pa and his life, but also to provide a livelihood for herself. She’s willing to put in whatever it takes to get that piece of property, and Elsie’s determined to keep it.

Her bitterness is what protects her, and she has no intentions of allowing that preacher to lay claim to her land . . . or her heart.

Thank you for having me here today!

Guest Blogger

32 Comments

  1. Welcome Jodie- Wow I loved that quilt what a wonderful piece of history you have to pass down. That Sharon rose is beautiful.
    I’ve alwayd been fascinated with the land rush and have read many books depicting it. What a great piece of history and I’m so glad authors as yourself keep writing about, because as time goes on, generations are apt to forget about it, it’s story isn’t told.
    You have a great week. Hugs!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Tonya! 🙂

      I think it’s important to pass down our history/heritage to the next generation.

      Hope you have a great week too. Blessings!

  2. That’s a gorgeous quilt. Loved your blog! This sounds like a very fun book. I’d love to opportunity to read one of your books. A giveaway is an awesome way to find a new author to add to my go to authors list. I can only imagine participating in or watching a land run take place.

    1. Stephanie,
      If you’ve ever watched the movie Far and Away, it gives you an accurate portrayal of what it must have been like to be there for the race.

      Thanks for stopping by today!

  3. Hi Jodie, thank you for the post about the Great Race. That quilt is just beautiful. You’re a new Author for me and I look forward to reading To Claim Her Heart. Have a great weekend.

    1. I hope you enjoy the book, Carol. 🙂

      For as old as the quilt is, it’s in incredible shape.

      Hope you have a great weekend too.

  4. The quilt is gorgeous and a wonderful way to share the family history with your children.

    1. Chuckle. I only have sons which is why the quilt will pass down to a daughter, Janine. 🙂 Even though my sons don’t ‘qualify’ for being the next in line for the quilt, I still will make sure they know the history of it.

  5. Jodie, I love anything about the land rushes. I do Oregon Trail, and like the Trail, there is no end to the stories, real or fictional, that came out of the land rush. What a wealth of story fodder there is in the old American West! And how brave our forefathers, and foremothers, were.
    Love the quilt, what a treasure.
    Kathy Bailey

    1. You’re so right, Kathy. There are so many stories to tell with the old American west. My characters often have more pluck than I do. 🙂

  6. I am always happy to learn about the history of this great land. Beautiful quilt!

    1. Chuckle. I never liked history as a kid, but I love it now. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Estella.

  7. What a beautiful quilt and so filled with history. I knew of the land run. I wonder what it was like to participate. I must read books to find out.

    1. It definitely is interesting to think about it, isn’t it, Debra?

      I’m so glad you stopped by for a visit.

  8. Your quilt is beautiful and should feel honored to own that one. A lot of love and heart went into it when it was made. I have pieced quilts before but nothing like that and believe me it took her many, many hours to finish it.

    1. The photo doesn’t do it justice. The stitches are so tiny. I can well imagine the many hours it took for my husband’s relative to create this beautiful piece. I’m blessed that my mother-in-law passed it on to me.

  9. Jodie, welcome to P&P. I hope you enjoy your visit. I love your blog and can just imagine the excitement of the land run. The air probably vibrated with nervous anticipation. And that Rose of Sharon quilt! Oh my goodness! That’s beautiful and quite exceptional work. What a treasure. Your family has such amazing history.

    Wishing you much success with your new book. I love that cover.

    1. Thank you for the warm welcome, Linda.

      I loved being able to share about my family heritage.

  10. Oh what a wonderful family heirloom to have! Thank you for sharing the Rose of Sharon quilt story with us. Your book sounds wonderful and I would like to read it. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy. All the best to you and yours.

    1. Thanks, Eliza. I hope you enjoy my book. Thanks for stopping by today!

  11. I love your post and the beautiful quilt. Thank you for sharing and I hope you have a great weekend.

    1. Hi Melanie. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Hope you have a great weekend too.

  12. What a beautiful quilt she gave you. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I feel blessed to have that legacy given to me. 🙂

      So glad you stopped by, Kim.

  13. It is hard to imagine the chaos of the race for a piece of land. With so many people crammed together at the start and the different speeds they were traveling, it is amazing it worked at all. I am sure there were many dual claims like those of Elsie and Benjamin. I would think there was not much in the way of law enforcement there to keep such disputes from turning deadly. It had to be a dangerous time
    What a wonderful heirloom you have in your husband’s family quilt. Sadly, too few families appreciate just how precious these items are. They connect us to our history and the family that came before. Not only is it interesting to know about our family history, but it can often explain current family dynamics.
    Thanks so much for sharing your family story.

  14. My daughter, granddaughter, and I recently traveled to northeast Oklahoma and had a chance to walk along the canal in the Bricktown area of OKC. There we saw the sculpture depicting the land race including a “Sooner” on the opposite side of the canal. The sculpture is larger than life size and really gave us a sense of how wild that day must have been. It even shows a horse knocked down and items falling out of wagons. How wonderful that you have family stories to tell about that historic event!

    1. What a neat experience, Alice! Thank you for sharing it.

  15. What an amazing quilt! Thank you for sharing it with us today, I love hearing about heirloom ones.

    1. I love hearing the story behind heirloom things as well. Such a rich heritage and legacy it makes.

  16. When I researched the race, Patricia, there were ones that claimed the same piece of land. Some stayed and waited for the courts to decide their fates, like my characters. Some went back to their starting places and raced a second time to see who won it, while others were shot and killed. It must have been a wild time in history.

  17. Great post Jodie and I love that the quilt has been passed to each generation!
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Hi, Connie. Thanks for stopping by.
      It is a neat idea to pass something like that down through a family, isn’t it?

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