Memories of Settling the Cherokee Strip

Recollections of the Land Run of 1893 on the Cherokee Strip.

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I remember the opening of the Cherokee Strip in 1893. Registration booths were put up near my father's house which was about two miles south of Caldwell, Kansas, on the Kansas line.

Seven men from Washington took care of the booths. They told my father to bring his papers over when they were ready to accept registrations and he could be the first to sign.

Men stayed in line all day and night as they were afraid they would lose their place if they should leave. My brother took them coffee and sandwiches.

My mother and sister cooked for the men from Washington. They liked chicken, so they had chicken every day. They paid 24 cents a meal, and when they left they gave Mother a $100 bill.

It was like a town all around our house. There was a barbershop, a restaurant, an ice cream stand and other stands. When the shot was fired to signal the opening of the strip, people rushed away in buggies, covered wagons, on horseback and on foot. They got water from our well for their horses and filled cans until the well was dry.

My father staked a claim, put a flag up, and left for a little while. When he returned he found a man had taken the flag down and put up his own. The intruder was convinced he should leave. 

Mrs. Ada Ball
Cabool, Missouri

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.