Regina Jennings: Kentucky Daisey and Her Giant Leap!


The Fillies welcome our guest blogger, Regina Jennings!

It was no place for a lady.

Gambling, wrestling matches and shooting competitions were rampant on the border as restless men waited for the gun to sound at noon on April 22, 1889.

A newspaper reporter named Nannita Daisey was there, too. She’d been commissioned by the Dallas Morning News to cover the 1889 Land Run, but while on assignment, she was overcome by Land Run fever and decided to stake her own claim. It wouldn’t be easy. Sure, there were over twelve thousand farms available, but with over fifty thousand people involved, many would be left empty-handed.

At noon, trains jam-packed with hopeful homesteaders left the stations along the border to carry the contestants through the available land, and Nannita was crammed in there with them. Legend has it, that the train was so crowded that Nannita rode the cattle guard in the front of the engine, although this piece of exaggeration didn’t appear until years after the fact. At any rate, as the train neared Edmond Station, in a feat of amazing athleticism considering her wardrobe, Nannita flung herself away from the dangerous railroad track and drove her stake into the ground. Reaching beneath her skirt to her petticoat, she ripped off a piece of the cloth and tied it to the stake for identification, thereby claiming 160 acres of prime real estate before anyone else had a chance to disembark.

If that weren’t enough, Miss Daisey then turned around and caught the caboose of the train as it passed, being pulled aboard by some amused men, who could bear witness at the land office that she was the first one to claim that plot.

At left is a picture of Regina leaping into history with Kentucky Daisey in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Known afterward as Kentucky Daisey, Nannita taught school and continued her work as a journalist in the territory, but it seemed she could never resist the urge to compete in a land run for a better situation. Unfortunately, her zeal wound up getting her in trouble. For the 1892 land run, she organized a colony of eleven other women to participate, but instead of jumping from a train this time, they decide to take the easy way in. Sneaking across the border early, the Lady Sooners constructed a hideout, but the dedicated troopers from Fort Reno found them. They weren’t impressed with Kentucky Daisey, and hauled her and her crew to the guard house at Fort Reno – the same guard house that my fictional hero Frisco Smith frequented.

Always ready for an adventure, Nannita’s colorful performance reflects the determination of many of the participants in the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889, whether men or women, and that’s the spirit that inspired Caroline Adams in my newest release The Major’s Daughter.
Not afraid to compete with the men, Caroline combines her knowledge of the region with some luck and beats Frisco Smith out of his chosen homestead. When he opens a no-holds-barred campaign to get it back from her, they realize that they are risking more than the land, they are risking their hearts.

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Bio: Award-winning author Regina Jennings loves writing about wild women of the west and the men they (eventually) love. She’s worked at the Mustang News and the Oklahoma National Stockyards.


If you had lived back then, would you have participated in the Oklahoma Land Rush? To one lucky person who leaves a comment, Regina is giving away an autographed copy of The Major’s Daughter.


Guest Blogger


  1. Hi Regina, welcome to P&P! We’re so happy to have you back. This is such an interesting piece of history that I’ve never heard of. Miss Daisy must’ve been quite an adventurous woman! Wishing you much luck!

    1. Thank you for having me here, Ms. Linda! I always enjoy visiting with the Fillies!

  2. Good morning and welcome to the P & P group. Yes I think if there was a way to obtain land and I was able to set roots up I would have participated in Oklahoma Land Rush.
    Merry Christmas to you & your family.

    1. Hello Regina!
      I am sure it would have been hard. However, I believe I would have participated in the land rush. Women back then probably did not have a lot of these chances come up but worked just as hard as any man.

    2. Merry Christmas to you too, Tonya!

      1. I agree, Mary. It was the best chance many women had! Thanks for commenting!

  3. What a fun post, Regina! I love uncovering the stories of pioneering women, and Nannita is about as feisty as they come! I love the pic of you ready to leap with Kentucky Daisey off the train’s cattle guard. As much as I love to dream up adventurous stories, I’m not sure I would have had the gumption to do what she did. Amazing!

    1. Karen! I think I’d be apt to do the run, but I wouldn’t want to be on a homestead by myself for the 5 years it took to prove it out. Now, jumping from a train? No, thanks!
      Merry Christmas!

      1. I don’t think I would have been brave enough to try that. Her plan was incredibly cunning though. Can’t wait to read your next book.

  4. Avatar

    This sounds like my kind of heroine! Yes, I would have participated! Free land, how could anyone have not tried! Thanks for dropping by P&P! I’d love the opportunity to read your book! A giveaway is an awesome way to find a new author to add to my go to authors list!

    1. Thanks, Stephanie. Good luck in the drawing. The Oklahoma Land Runs make for an exciting backdrop!

  5. Avatar

    Yes I would have participated for a new start and free land. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Yes, I think I would have participated in a land rush. I love books that convey aspects of the environment in detail. It adds to my imagination and the depth of the book. Love the book cover too! You are a new author to me so I appreciated getting acquainted today. Thank you for being a part Petticoats and Pistols today.

      1. Thank you for reading, Charlene! Merry Christmas!

        Kathy, nice to “meet” you. I hope you get a chance to read The Major’s Daughter.

  6. Thank you for your great post! I think I would have been one of the many to “go for it!”

    1. Melanie,
      And why not? They really had nothing to lose…besides a leg if she didn’t jump far enough. 🙂

  7. Thanks for the great post. I enjoyed it

  8. What an interesting piece of history! I’ve never heard of Kentucky Daisey but I think would like to know more. The Major’s Daughter is on my list of books to read.

    1. Thanks, Christy! Ladies like her are fascinating. Merry Christmas!

  9. I love this book! Caroline and Frisco are so much fun. Though, I still think Frisco kind of took a big chance.
    *No entry*

    1. Andrea, yeah, Caroline’s not completely at fault, is she? I’m glad you enjoyed the book.

  10. Welcome. What an interesting post today. I have read the first two books and would love to read this third one. If I were at that time, I would for sure put up a small booth or store and cook for all those that are working so hard and dont have time to cook.

    1. Thank you for reading my books, Lori! Most of the land run stories focus on the homesteads, but I enjoyed getting to also write about the townships. They went up crazy-fast, and it was so chaotic. Love it!

  11. I love history and this is such a fascinating time in history. I look forward to reading your book. I don’t think I would have participated in the land rush but it would be great to read about it! I really admired those who did this type of thing! They were strong people!
    I have the other two books in this series and would love to read the third!!!

    1. Valri, thanks for getting the other two books! That makes me happy! I hope you get a chance to read The Major’s Daughter! Merry Christmas!

  12. Hey Regina! Thank you for the fascinating post. I’m sure I would have participated in the land rush. Love the cover of your book.

    Have a blessed holiday season.

    1. Thank you, Caryl! Blessings on your holidays, too!

  13. I so would have been there for that land rush and maybe even in the guard house! I am currently reading and loving this book.

  14. Wow, I’d never heard about this lady before! I’m not sure I would have had the fortitude or courage to take part in a land rush, though if I lived back then I probably would have at least tried.

    1. I think I would like the race, but not homesteading from the ground up.

  15. I think I definitely would have gone on the land rush. How exciting. post. Thank you you for the interesting post Regina. Happy Holidays everyone.

  16. I’d have loved to do the land rush.

    1. Me too, Abigail! I loved picturing how it might have happened. So exciting!

  17. I like to think that I would have participated!! At least it was something a woman could do, and I’d like to think I’d have done it and had a great ranch!

    1. There weren’t many other opportunities, were there? Thanks for commenting!

  18. Yes. Didn’t the movie Far and Away depict this?

    1. Yes, it did. That’s probably the most recent movie. ‘Bout time they make another one, don’t you think?

  19. This is interesting… however, I don’t see myself as the land rush sort of person. I’m more the move into a house and then stay there sort.

  20. By myself definitely not. I’m not that adventurous and I really don’t enjoy crowds of people. Like all the crowds for Christmas shopping is too many people in not enough space. But I could see myself tagging along with a friend if they did a lot of convincing haha.

  21. I’d like to say I had the adventurous spirit to participate in a land rush, but reality says probably not. However, if I had someone with me, like Kentucky Daisey’s colony of women, I’d 100% participate. Or I guess I could settle for one hardworking husband to stake a claim with me.

  22. I sure would participate! It’s too bad they don’t have a reenactment about it. It certainly would be interesting!
    I enjoyed this book so much!!

  23. I would have definitely tried to claim the land. I’m just no sure how successful I would be, as I’m sure it was quite difficult.

  24. I’ve always been fascinated by this history! I totally would have participated! Can’t wait to read your book, it sounds awesome!

    1. I think that my husband and I would have participated! We are always up for an adventure! Merry Christmas!

  25. In my youth, I would definitely have tried to get a good homestead. There were few opportunities for women to establish themselves and it was an opportunity not to be missed. It would certainly have been easier for a couple to claim and work a claim, but a determined woman could manage. Now, I would have to sit back and wish them well.

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