KENTUCKY DAISEY AND HER GIANT LEAP
The Fillies welcome our guest blogger, Regina Jennings!
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.
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.
Buy Link: https://reginajennings.com/the-majors-daughter/
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.