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125 Years Ago ~ April 1889 Part II

April 29th, 2014 at 11:33 pm

Oklahoma City at 125 years old……….Dr. Angelo C. Scott recalls………


“…at daybreak of the 23rd the eager quest was resumed with unabated zeal. And thus things went on until noon of the second day. Then it begin [sic] to dawn upon the tired multitude that nobody knew what his possessions were, or his rights.” It should be noted here that the legislation encompassed in the Indian Appropriation bill to open the unassigned lands to settlement failed to include any form of government temporary or otherwise thus leaving thousands in a quandary as to their status.


As Scott continues, “It was a vast assemblage of strangers. Scarcely one man knew another. A few of us, strangers to each other, but thus thrown into violent contact and a common interest, decided to call a public meeting to consider what should be done. We mounted some boys on ponies, gave them bells to ring, and sent them out to all the quarters to announce the meeting at 2 o’clock. 


To be continued…………

Tags: Land Run, Personalities, Early Oklahoma City, 125th Anniversary


125 Years Ago ~ April 22, 1889

April 29th, 2014 at 11:07 pm

One Twenty-five years ago – dateline April 22nd, 1889……………………


Dr. Angelo C. Scott (1857-1949) was an eyewitness to the opening of the Unassigned Lands in central Indian Territory. Scott was well educated earning his Master’s degree in 1880 at the University of Kansas. He continued his education by earning two law degrees from George Washington University.


Seeing an opportunity to prosper in a new land, he like thousands made the Run of 1889 settling in Oklahoma Station (the U.S. Post Office would not change the designation to Oklahoma City until 1924). The following are excerpts from his fertile mind capturing the very essence of a town being developed right before one’s eyes.


“On March 23, 1889 President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation setting the date of the opening on the 22nd of April at 12 o’clock, noon and forbidding entrance before that time.” What Scott would realize later that dozens had entered the forbidden territory without detection. These “intruders” would be labeled “Sooners” before too long.


Scott continues by saying, “at that hour immense multitudes were waiting in eager expectancy at every point of vantage on the borders of the ‘promised land”, and at the discharge of the soldiers carbines began that wild tumultuous ride for homes – in wagons, in carriages, on fleet horses, in railway trains-which all doubtless be celebrated in song and story to future generations.” Scott was a wordsmith. 


Dr. Scott continues his story by setting the scene of that fateful day, “the day of the “opening” was perfect. Recent spring rains had fallen, but the 22nd dawned cloudless and serene, and the day throughout was such a one as Oklahoma produces in her happiest moods.”


“The site of the future Oklahoma City, which before nightfall was to be so rudely disfigured lay smiling in the sunlight, an emerald field spangled with the early flowers of spring. By nightfall there were probably ten thousand persons on the townsite, a city of tents had arisen, and the clamor of multitudinous voices smote the air.” Scott continued by providing vivid pictures as the settlers came and went. He stated that, “torches flickered everywhere, faces were momentarily revealed by them, and then vanished into the darkness. Horses neighed and pawed the ground. Campfires glowed on every hand and the odor of broiling bacon and brewing coffee filled the air with appetizing fragrance.” Scott added, “[t]hat first night was by no means devoted to merry-making, or even very largely to sleep.” No doubt many of the land hungry settlers who were fortunate enough to secure and hold a claim may not have slept at all for fear of another to steal their claim. Such was the effort paid to secure land for tomorrow would bring other trials.


To be continued

Tags: Land Run, Personalities, Early Oklahoma City, 125th Anniversary


Happy 125th Anniversary OKC!

April 2nd, 2014 at 9:17 pm

The approximately 2 million acres of land, which was initally considered unsuitable for white settlement was located in Indian Territory. It was originally thought to be the ideal place to relocate the Native Americans who had been removed from their home lands to allow white settlers to colonize.

The relocations began in 1817 and by the 1880's, Indian Territory was the new home to several tribes, including the Cherokee, Creek, Cheyenne, Chicksaw, Choctaw, Commanche, and Apache.

On March 3, 1889, President Benjamin Harrison announced the opening of the Indian Territory for settlement. Anyone could join the race for the land which would begin precisely at noon on April 22, 1889. By the time the day arrived, over 50,000 land-seeking Americans, referred to as "Boomers" began to assemble, setting up tents on all four sides of the territory. 

The passage of the Organic Act of May 2, 1890 created Oklahoma Territory, which included present Lincoln, Logan, Oklahoma, Canadian, Cleveland, Kingfisher, and Pottawatomie counties, as well as the Public Land Strip, and the Osage, Kaw, Ponca, Oto, Pawnee, Wichita-Caddo, Kiowa-Comanche-Apache, and Cheyenne-Arapaho reservations. 

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Look What We Found!

March 27th, 2014 at 9:42 pm

We have many items that have been added to our collection. Please drop in and check often as we will be adding materials and some interesting artifacts to our "Look What We Found" section.

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Merry Christmas!

December 16th, 2011 at 11:58 am
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Early Oklahoma City Personalities

July 16th, 2011 at 9:08 pm


Albert DeBolt


There have been many individuals who have contributed to the development of Oklahoma City since it’s founding. One such person was Albert Maywood DeBolt. Born in Milford Center, Union County Ohio September 19, 1861, DeBolt made the Run of 1889 settling in Oklahoma City.  He established one of the major lumber concerns in the new community.  If one were to view early photographs of Oklahoma City after the run, one can see a makeshift sign locating DeBolt’s lumber business.  Before coming to the Unassigned Lands, DeBolt worked as a traveling salesman for six years.  He left the state of California to make the run. His business was a fixture in downtown OKC for 32 years. He later engaged in developing residential sectors of the city as well as built homes for those new developments.


 Mr. DeBolt was a member of the Chrisitian Science church and served on the building committee. The building still stands just north of downtown, but has been closed for a number of years. He married Frances V. Swails just nine days shy of his 42nd birthday September 10, 1903. A.M. and Frances had two children Frances V. and Albert Monroe.


 DeBolt in addition to his lumber business and real estate enterprises also owned several cotton gins. In the work The Story of Oklahoma City, by William F. Kerr and Ina Gainer, they mentioned in their biographical sketch on DeBolt that he helped develop several residential neighborhoods. This is pure speculation by the author’s part, but the Maywood edition located east of I-235 and Lincoln Boulevard today was probably one of DeBolt’s ventures as the his middle name was Maywood and it would make sense that he would leave some legacy of his work to continue long after his death.

Death did find DeBolt succumbing at home located at 1801 North Hudson after a three year illness. He died May 28th, 1926 at the age of 64. Another 1889’er passing to his reward. He was buried in Milford Center , Ohio his place of birth.

For more detailed information on DeBolt see Kerr and Gainer’s The Story of Oklahoma City, Volume III, and The Daily Oklahoman, May 29th, 1926, page one, columns 6-7.


Tags: early Oklahomans, De Bolt, Run of 1889, lumber business, businessmen in early Oklahoma, early development of Oklahoma City


New Content On Our Fun Stuff Page

July 5th, 2011 at 4:32 pm



We have begun adding new content to the "Fun Stuff" page.  We have hundreds of old newspaper ads for businesses that were part of the Display at the Museum Of The Unassigned Lands. The Museum was operated by the Oklahoma City/ County Historical Society and now much of what was on display will be added here for all to view.  If you have any "Fun Stuff" or just interesting photos or news articles that you would like to publish on our website, drop us a note!


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Oklahoma County Place Names

May 24th, 2011 at 1:45 am

A new feature is being added to the Oklahoma City/County Historical Society website. Entitled: Oklahoma County Place Names is similar to George Shirk’s Oklahoma Place Names and the late arm-chair historian John Womack of Lexington , Oklahoma . Womack self published a small publication entitled: Place Names of Cleveland County. Both Shirk and Womack featured cities and towns, but Womack included geographical features that defined his county of residence.

It is hoped that this effort will aid not only long time residents, but folks who have recently relocated to the area as there is no publication of its kind for Oklahoma County .

The author has gleaned from a variety of resources to produce this feature. We welcome your input.

Place Name #1:

Very few people today give it much thought when driving on NW 93rd Street from Western to Santa Fe . Also known as Britton Road there is remnants of a downtown along this route. Known as the town of Britton , this community had a post office from November 26, 1889 to November 15, 1950. The town was consolidated with Oklahoma City earlier that same year on April 1st. Like many communities along railroad lines, the town was named for employees of the transportation company. In this instance, the town was named for Alexander Britton a Santa Fe railroad attorney who resided in Washington , D.C. (See: Oklahoma Place Names, by George Shirk, 1974 ed.)


Tags: OK place names, George Shirk,


In Celebration of the Run of April 22, 1889

April 20th, 2011 at 3:24 pm

This is a little something we put together in celebration of up coming anniversary of the April 22, 1889 Land Run that opened the unassigned lands of central Oklahoma ... check it out!



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March 16th, 2011 at 4:41 pm


We have added a new page to the site to help keep up with the Pathmaker event that is put on each year by the Oklahoma City / County Historical Society.  Be sure and check out the new page with photos from the 2010 event.  Here is a little history as to how the Pathmakers came to be...

The Pathmaker Award ceremony was the brain child of board member Pen Woods in 1990. The first luncheon was held around May 2nd 1990 to commemorate the centennial of the Organic Act that created Oklahoma Territory. The intent of the award was to honor four living and four from the past who helped develop and shape Oklahoma County and their respective communities within the county


Within a few years the Distinguished Service award was added to honor individuals, groups or organizations who contributed to the betterment of their community.

Since 1990, nearly 200 persons or organizations has been inducted into the Society’s Pathmaker ceremony.

The 2010 Pathmaker Awards Luncheon was huge sucess!  Mark your calenders now for the October 2011 Awards Luncheon ~ check the blog for exact time and location as it is and event that you will not want to miss.


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Midnight Rider

March 10th, 2011 at 1:42 am

In the waning hours of the March 3rd, 1889 a rider was inserted into the Indian Appropriations Bill opening the unassigned lands of then central Indian Territory for settlement.  The date that was originally set was April 21st but that being a Sunday, then president Benjamin Harrison being a deeply religious man, changed the date to Monday April 22.  The bill was signed into law by former president Grover Cleveland who was scheduled to leave office on March 4th, 1889.  Albeit he signed the bill he included no plan as to how to achieve this newly crafted law.  It was left to Harrison to devise a way to open these lands within the prescribed time frame.  Oklahoma to this day remains the only state in the Union to have been opened for settlement by a horse race.

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Website and Public Relations

February 27th, 2011 at 4:19 pm

In and effort to make our organization a more effective and powerful force in the community, we have broken the board of directors into committees.  My dear friend and accomplished historian, Penn Woods and I will be working hand-in-hand on both the Public Relations and Website Committees.


Mr. Woods brings to the table not only a very distinguished personal and military career, but is also unquestionably one of the most noted historians on the history of Oklahoma City and the surrounding area.  His input and insights will bring a much-needed wealth of information to this site and many other projects as well.


The pairing of Pendleton Woods and Rick Thompson will bring the knowledge of history and technology to the forefront—It is our hope that this is but one of the first steps in making the Oklahoma City / County Historical Society a more valuable asset to you, the reader and viewer.



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New Officers

February 27th, 2011 at 3:47 pm

A meeting of the board of directors held on February 22nd completed the elections of the officers of the board.  We would like to welcome all new officers to their positions. 


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Congratulations to our new Board President, Bill Welge!

January 13th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

I would like to take a moment and apologize for not providing more timely updates to the blog and site in general.  Albeit the society has remained active in a variety of activities and programs, illness has prevented many postings that should have been made.

If you have tried to reach us by email… I must once again apologize for the delay and I am getting to each and every one of those emails as quickly as I can—rest assured that if you have tried to contact us, your email will be answered. 


We are in hopes that 2011 will see great strides forward for our society.  At this time I would like to personally congratulate Mr. Bill Welge for his recent election as the new president of the Oklahoma City/County Historical Society.  Bill has been a positive voice in our organization almost since its creation and his leadership will provide a new direction for the Society.  Bill is also director of research at the Oklahoma Historical Society.  Once again, congratulations Bill!  The Board Members are excited about the changes in store for the upcoming year.

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I. M. Pei Model Unveiling

May 5th, 2010 at 6:41 pm


The I.M. Pei model is part of a collection owned by the Oklahoma City/County Historical Society. Rachel Mosman, a board member of the society and an archivist with the Oklahoma Historical Society launched the effort to bring the model back on display after working with more than 40,000 of 750,000 photos of pre-Urban Renewal era photos of downtown Oklahoma City.


Mosman was joined in this effort by Bill Welge, director of research at the Oklahoma County Historical Society as well as a host of others to make this project a reality.

The scheduled date for unveiling was May 3rd, and began at 5:30 p.m. in the northeast lobby of the Cox Convention Center. Speakers included Mayor Mick Cornett and state historian Dr. Bob Blackburn. In addition to the model, the display included new information panels about the history of downtown and the urban renewal era, and original paintings that were produced almost 40 years ago in conjunction with the introduction of the Pei Plan.

With over 250 people in attendance, the event was a smashing success! We are proud to have shared such great stories with so many great people.  For further information about the model and many great photos of the unveiling, check out the official I. M. Pei OKC website at:


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Pathmakers Luncheon A Great Sucess!

May 5th, 2010 at 1:57 pm



The Pathmaker awards ceremony was a great success!  The luncheon is always a great way to have close contact with people that have helped to make this great city what it is today.  It was my personal pleasure to escort Thomas Hill, chief executive officer of Kimray Inc. and founder of Character First the podium for his acceptance speech.  I had a chance to visit with Larry Nichols, CEO of Devon Energy about his company’s roll in downtown.  Devon is currently under construction in what will be the tallest building in Oklahoma.

This is a must-attend event and if you would like more information visit the Become Involved page or contact us at:

Tags: Pathmakers,


Annual Pathmaker Awards

October 2nd, 2009 at 6:44 pm


This year marks the 20th Annual Awards of the Oklahoma City / County Historical Society October 13th, 2009.  The society annually honors living and deceased pathmakers in Oklahoma County.

Living pathmakers honored this year are Larry Nichols, chief executive officer of Devon Energy, Corp.;  David Thompson, publisher of the Oklahoman, president of OPUBCO Communications Group, and chairman of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber; Tom Ward and Trent Ward, founders of the Whitefields Home for troubled and abandoned boys; and Thomas Hill, chief executive officer of Kimray Inc. and founder of Character First.

Deceased pathmakers are Jim Lange, longtime editorial cartoonist for the Oklahoman; Madalynne Norrick, civic leader; Dr. Charles Royer, early eye-transplant physician; and Margaret Annis Boys, educator whose contribution to the Oklahoma City Community Foundation endows beautification and environmental projects.



Tags: Pathmakers


Board Meeting

September 1st, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Monthly OCCHS Board Meeting

It is not too early to start thinking about attending the next Oklahoma City/County Historical Society Board Meeting.  We will be meeting Tuesday October 1st at 5:30 p.m. in the AT&T Building in downtown OKC.  We would love to have anyone with an interest in history of our area come by for a visit and meet the board of dirctors.

For futher information feel free to contact us at: or by telephone at 405.922.6209.  Hope to see you there.

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OCCHS Meeting

August 24th, 2009 at 5:39 pm


Mark Your Calendar!

The next meeting of the Oklahoma City/County Historical Society will be August 27th at 5:30 p.m. in the AT&T Building in downtown OKC.  We would love to have anyone with an interest in history of our are come by for a visit and meet the board of dirctors.

For futher information feel free to contact us at: or by telephone at 405.922.6209. Hope to see you there.

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Fine Photographic Restoration

July 23rd, 2009 at 4:58 pm


If you are seeking fine photographic restoration in your efforts to trace your genealogical heritage, we would recommend this studio.  These folks have been more than helpful with our efforts to restore damaged historical photos.                                      Click Here!

Tags: FixPix


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