The Reconstruction Treaties of 1866 began to pave the way for the creation of new towns in the Cross Timbers region of the United States before the end of the 19th century. As a punishment for siding with the Confederate cause of the Civil War, the Five Civilized Tribes were stripped of their western portion of the Indian Territory.
The “Unassigned” Lands
A meridian was created to divide the Indian Territory into two separate territories. The Five Civilized Tribes were confined to the eastern side of this meridian, while the western lands were to be given to other displaced Indian tribes and freedmen. While the government assigned the western lands to other tribes from previous removals, conveniently, a two million acre section of land remained “unassigned.” On July 4, 1884, Congress had granted the Santa Fe Railroad a right-of-way across this area. Additionally, William Springer, the U.S. Congress, Illinois Representative amended the Indian Appropriations Bill to authorize President Benjamin Harrison to proclaim the two-million acre region open for settlement. This confluence of events, based on the capricious mapping efforts of the U.S. government resulted in the “Unassigned Lands” being opened for settlement.
Native Cultures lived the events leading up to the Land Runs, allotments and openings with tremendous loss and sorrow. The twists and turns of removals and re-locations was a violent uprooting for many of the tribes that were brought here, even as America’s controlling forces seemed to have an unending appetite for more land and economic development.
Crowder, Historic Edmond: An Illustrated History, Lammert Publications, San Antonio, 2000.
Johnston-Hudson, Geneva, Shaping Oklahoma: Boundaries; Culture; Government; Economy, Author House, 2003.