Soper Remembers Oklahoma Land Run and a Family Homestead

Fannie Soper tells the story of her dad taking advantage of an Oklahoma land race and starting an Oklahoma homestead.

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I was 11 years old at the time of the big Oklahoma land run into the Cherokee Outlet. My father, grandfather, and uncle made the trip to Cameron, Kansas, on the state's boundary, and stood in line for several days before they could register. They never left the line, day or night, because they would lose their places.

Mother, Grandmother, Brother, and I went with a neighbor's family in their wagon to see the run. We camped on Big Sandy Creek, just west of where Waldron, Kansas, is now. Hundreds of people camped there, some with their cows. The men sank a wooden box in the creek sand and water came up in it for the horses to drink. We went west to a place south of Kiowa to see the start of the run. Such a big rush! Some were on horses, many were in wagons.

In Oklahoma, my father staked a claim which cornered on school land, and we moved from near Harper to the strip in 1894, with everything we had-three cows, hogs, and a few chickens.

Our community had no school until 1895, and that year we had only a three-month term. I rode three miles to school on an old work horse without a saddle, and as all girls did then, I rode sideways.

For social gatherings, we had spelling matches, box suppers, and school programs. 

Mrs. Fannie Soper
Manchester, Oklahoma

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.