Vickie McDonough: The Lottery For Free Land

We’re very happy to welcome back Vickie McDonough! Her books pull you in and keep you there all the way to the last page, then leave you wanting more. Give her a big Wildflower Junction howdy.

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Vickie McDonough 3 smallIt’s great to be back at Petticoats & Pistols. Last time I was here, I talked about the Oklahoma land runs. After the chaos of the land rushes, where many people were injured and thousands of lawsuits filed over land disputes, the government sought a better, more civilized way to settle the remaining Indian lands. Thus, the decision was made to hold a land lottery.

 

On July 4, 1901, President William McKinley, signed the Proclamation opening for settlement all land acquired from the Kiowa-Comanche, Apaches, and Wichita Indians, with certain land set aside as grazing lands for Indians and for town sites. The Proclamation provided for the land to be divided into two districts by a line running east and west, with offices at El Reno and Lawton. All registrations for the lottery had to be done at either El Reno or Fort Sill. Applicants were required to designate which district he wanted to live in, because no one was permitted to register for a chance at both.

 

Vickie OK or bust

 

Thousands of people came from all corners of the country in hopes of being successful in securing a home on some of the last land available in Oklahoma. The government lottery had about thirteen thousand homesteads to distribute, worth from one hundred to five thousand dollars each. Though it is possible that some claims near the county seats may have been worth from ten thousand to forty thousand dollars.

 

The registration offices opened on Wednesday morning, July 10th, and closed on July 26th. The registration process was simple. The settler presented an affidavit to the registration officer stating he or she was over twenty-one or head of a family and that he did not own more than 160 acres of land in some other state. Then he filled out a card with his name, date of birth, height, weight, and other information about himself. He was then given a registration receipt.

 

There were six regular booths where people could register. Booth number one was at the Kerfoot Hotel, and the Boomers were lined up in front of it all day. It was estimated that ten thousand came into El Reno Monday night, and around three hundred slept in line Tuesday night, waiting for the booth to reopen. There were over twelve thousand strangers tramping through the El Reno streets. Nine out of ten registrants were farmers. Although not many women participated, a special registration booth was provided for them. When the booths closed the last day of registration, one hundred and sixty-five thousand had registered in both districts.

 

land lottery tent

A platform thirty-two feet square was erected in the street on the north side of the Irving school ground. On Monday, July 29, the envelopes containing the names of all who had registered were brought to the platform in consecutively numbered pasteboard boxes. The envelopes were placed in two rotating bins, ten feet long, two and one-half feet wide, and two and one-half feet deep, one for each district, which were revolved for a sufficient length of time to insure a thorough mixing of the envelopes.

 

Fifty thousand people witnessed the drawing. The immense throng was wrought up to a frenzied pitch, and the drawing of the first few names was followed by a mighty shout that must have been heard for miles over the prairies. Each envelope drawn was consecutively numbered and opened at once. The identification slip, which it contained, was given the same number, and the name and residence of the winner was publicly announced. One thousand names were drawn from the wheel the first day, five hundred from El Reno and five hundred for Lawton.

 

On August 6th, those who won claims appeared at the land office to select their plots. They were processed in the order their name was drawn. All in all, the lottery was a peaceful endeavor and a great success.

 

Land Rush Dreams ad

 

My Land Rush Dreams trilogy features the 1889 and 1893 land runs and the land lottery of 1901. Sarah’s Surrender, book 3 in the series releases July 1st and is available for pre-order now. Click HERE.

Sarah's Surrender

 

When Sarah Worley rejects Luke McNeil’s marriage proposal to pursue property in the Oklahoma Territory land lottery in 1901, the ranch hand pulls up stakes and goes after her. But he’s the last person she wants to see. The land lottery gives Sarah the chance to realize her dream of independence and a home of her own. But with it comes challenges she never considered. When her dream becomes a nightmare, she must decide whether to stay on her land or give up and return to the life she left. Luke hopes that by winning a claim, he can give Sarah the home she’s always wanted. How can he prove his love and show the stubborn woman that he’s the right man for her?

 

I’m giving away a print copy of JOLINE’S REDEMPTION, book 2 in her Land Rush Dreams series. Also, I’d love to have anyone who’s interested sign up to receive my newsletter. Just visit this link:  NEWSLETTER

Jolene's Redemption

About Vickie:

Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is an award-winning author of more than 40 published books and novellas. Her novels include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and End of the Trail, which was the OWFI 2013 Best Fiction Novel winner. Whispers on the Prairie was a Romantic Times Recommended Inspirational Book for July 2013. Song of the Prairie won the 2015 Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Her latest series, Land Rush Dreams, focuses on the Oklahoma land runs.

Vickie has been married forty years to Robert. They have four grown sons, one of whom is married, and a precocious nine-year-old granddaughter. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website: www.vickiemcdonough.com

 

 

Vickie McDonough Visits with a Giveaway!

Thanks for inviting me to be a guest on Petticoats and Pistols. I always have a wonderful time here. Don’t forget to leave a comment (U.S. residents only) for a chance to win Jolene’s Redemption!Vickie McDonough 3 small

Vickie OK or bust

I was born and raised in Oklahoma, and I’ve always been interested in the land runs, one aspect of our state’s unique history. In case you’re not familiar with Oklahoma, much of the state was designated as Indian Territory in the later half of the nineteenth century. Over forty Indian tribes were eventually moved there because white settlers in other states and territories wanted their valuable land.Vickie OK land run

Cherokee strip sign up

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once much of the West had been settled, people started looking at Oklahoma as one of their last chances to get free land. They pressured the government to open the Unassigned Lands–land that had been promised to certain tribes, but no Indians had settled on it. The government finally agreed, and President Benjamin Harrison signed the paperwork for what was later called Harrison’s Hoss Race.

Vickie mapGabriel's AtonementOn April 22, 1889, over two million acres of land was opened for settlement in Oklahoma’s first land run. The homesteads were 160 acres with much smaller town lots also available. Anybody twenty-one and older could ride—women, foreigners, and blacks included. The race began with the blast of cannon and gunfire and a cheer so loud it made ears ache. An instant stampeded ensued. In less than a few hours, all of the homesteads had been claimed, leaving many people disillusioned and unhappy because they didn’t get one. In the first book in my series, Gabriel’s Atonement, my hero and heroine ride in the 1889 land run, which led to the settlement of Guthrie, Oklahoma City, and several other towns.

Joline’s Redemption, which released on November 1st, is the second book in my Land Rush Dreams series. It features the Cherokee Outlet aka Cherokee Strip land run, which was held on September 16, 1893. More than 100,000 hopeful settlers raced for 42,000 claims. I’m sure you can imagine the chaos of such an event. Lucky winners settled in sod homes and dugouts carved from the prairie while others lived in their covered wagons. The first winters were harsh as the land tested the endurance and character of its new inhabitants. Many of the settlers could not endure the harsh conditions, and after weeks or months, gave up their dream. But for those who stayed, hard times gave way to better days as crops flourished and communities, schools and churches rose from the wind-swept plains.

Jolene's Redemption

The land rushes were a chance for many folks to start over, and that’s what my heroine hopes to do.

Sarah’s Surrender, the final book in the series, releases next year, and it features the Oklahoma land lottery, which proved to be a less chaotic and less dangerous way to claim the land.

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Heroes, Heroines, and History blog: http://HHHistory.com