Boomers is the name given to settlers in the midwest of the United States who attempted to enter the Unassigned Lands in what is now the state of Oklahoma in 1879, prior to President Grover Cleveland officially proclaiming them open to settlement on March 2, 1889 with the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889. Boomers preceded by a decade the Sooners, settlers who entered the Unassigned Lands just prior to the March 2, 1889 official opening.
The "Unassigned Lands," or Oklahoma, were in the center of the lands ceded to the United States by the Creek (Muskogee) and Seminole Indians following the Civil War and on which no other tribes had been settled. It was set aside by the United States as land to relocate other Indian nations and Freedmen on. By 1883 it was bounded by the Cherokee Outlet on the north, several relocated Indian reservations on the east, the Chickasaw lands on the south, and the Cheyenne-Arapaho reserve on the west. The area amounted to 1,887,796.47 acres (2,949 miles2 or 7,640 km2).
The term "Boomer" relating to Oklahoma refers to participants in the "Boomer Movement," white settlers who believed the Unassigned Lands were public property and open to anyone for settlement, not just Indian tribes. Their belief was based on a clause in the Homestead Act of 1862 which said that any settler could claim 160 acres (0.65 km2) of "public land." Some Boomers entered the Unassigned Lands and were removed more than once by the United States Army. Charles C. Carpenter was the earliest leader of the Boomer movement, succeeded by David L. Payne, who was succeeded by William L. Couch.
David L. Payne
Hailed by some as the "Father of Oklahoma", "Oklahoma Payne" was a leader in the "Boomer" movement to open "Oklahoma" for white settlement. Others considered him a shyster, con man and a different kind of "Payne" lower down and to the posterior.
"James B. Weaver, Kansas, and The Oklahoma Lands, 1884—1890"
by Thomas Burnell Colbert
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"At the Pioneer Law Makers of Iowa reunion in 1909, Edward H. Gillette delivered an address on the life and achievements of his longtime friend and political ally, James Baird Weaver. He remarked that, "If the people of Iowa paint General Weaver for the hall of fame, the people of Oklahoma should chisel him in marble and plant his statue in their capitol with the legend upon it: 'General James B. Weaver, the Father of Oklahoma.'" A year later, Luther B. Hill's A History of the State of Oklahoma included the reminiscences of Sidney Clarke, a former congressman from Kansas, agitator for white settlement in Oklahoma, and Oklahoma City booster, who wrote, "If I were called upon to name one man to whom the people of Oklahoma owe the greatest debt of gratitude because of unselfish devotion to their interests in all the early stages of the controversy [over opening Oklahoma to white settlers], I should name Gen. James B. Weaver of Iowa." Today, probably few in Oklahoma, Iowa, or Kansas remember the roles that Weaver played in securing legislation for white settlement of the Unassigned Lands (also known as the Oklahoma lands) in Indian Territory and in establishing Oklahoma City. That reason alone makes his a story worth telling, though Weaver's part in opening Indian Territory to white settlement is also important because it falls into the wider context of American Western history and the closing of the southern Great Plains frontier."
The Cherokee national Council voted to renew the lease in 1888 for $200,000. Lame Duck President, Benjamin Harrison, voided the lease on February 17, 1890 and ordered the members of the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association off the range by October 1, 1890. Not only members of the association but ALL cattle on the range. On September 19, 1890 Benjamin Harrison issued another proclamation granting an extension for the removal of the cattle. When the government was asked by the Cherokees if they could put their own cattle on the range they were told that the ban also applied to them.
Assorted Newspaper Clippings of the Harrison Order.
The "Cherokee Commission" was sent to Indian Territory to "negotiate" with the different Indian Nations for cessation of their lands. The Commission was given it's "Instructions and Suggestions" , which some officials considered to be unsuitable for public display. One article I read stated "Stripped of their lease income and bullied by federal negotiators, the Cherokees ceded the Outlet to the government in 1891."1
According to newspaper accounts at the time the Cherokee Nation was threatened with losing everything. All their land, even their status as a Nation, if the Outlet was not sold to the government at the price offered. It's pretty well accepted that the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association had an offer on the table to purchase the Cherokee Outlet for $3.00 an acre. One figure I saw said the offer was $3.45 and acre. Why else would the Cherokee's pass up an offer for over twice what the government was offering.
"This administration had determined to acquire the Outlet, and it did not intend to tolerate opposition from it's own citizens." 2
The lease of the Cherokee Outlet, and it's sale to the Association, was blocked on the basis that only the U. S. Government is able to "treat" with foreign governments. It is unlawful for individuals to do so. The Indians have always, and still to some extent, been a separate nation within the borders of the United States.
Thus ends the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association.
At least for our purpose here.
One can only wonder how history might have been changed had the ranchers been successful in their bid to buy the Cherokee Outlet.
A Calvin Coolidge Administration study, completed in 1928, found that the Dawes Act had been used to illegally deprive Native Americans of their land rights.
1. Historical Atlas of Oklahoma|
Charles Robert Goins
John Wesley Morris
2. Taking Indian lands: the Cherokee (Jerome) Commission, 1889-1893
By William Thomas Hagan