Within the treaties of 1828 and 1835, the Federal Government granted seven million acres of land to the Cherokee Nation. In addition to this gift of land, the United States guaranteed to the Cherokee Nation a perpetual outlet west. This outlet was to measure 58 miles wide and extend 220 miles along the northern border of the future state.This land was intended for use as a tribal hunting ground.

During the Civil War some members of the Cherokee Nation fought for the Union and others for the Confederacy. The federal government used their divided support for the Confederacy to void the treaty with the Cherokee Nation.The terms of the new treaty forced the Cherokee to give up part of the land in the eastern end of the Outlet the federal government used this area to relocate "friendly tribes," separating the Cherokee from their western Outlet. With the start of the cattle drives following the Civil War the Cherokee used their western land to make a profit. The cattlemen wanted to fatten their cattle on the rich grasses before taking them to railheads in Kansas so they leased the land from the Cherokee. See Ranchers Names

Land hungry settlers viewed the cattlemen's use of the area as a waste of fertile farmland and pressured the government to purchase the Cherokee land from the Cherokee. Congress eventually paid the $8,505,736 or about $1.40 per acre, and announced the opening of the Outlet to homesteaders.

President Grover Cleveland designated Septeinber 16, 1893, as the date of the "run." On that day, an estimated 100,000 people rushed in from the borders to stake a claim. They came by horse, train, wagon, and even on foot, all trying to claim the best farmland or town lot. Many of the hopeful settlers remained landless, shunning the rough terrain in the western part of the Outlet. By the end of the day, farms were being established, and the cities of Enid, Perry, Alva, and Woodward had risen out of what had been virgin prairie the day before.


The first task of the homesteader was the construction of a suitable home. The typical post-run farm dwelling was usually a "soddie," constructed from bricks of prairie sod, or a dugout built into the side of a hill. The inhabitants of these structures were plagued by leaking roofs and often had unwelcome visitors in the form of snakes, lizards and insects.

The farmer next turned his attention to the planting of crops. The Run had taken place too late in the season for a cash crop to be planted, so the new arrivals grew vegetables to see them through the winter. The following seasons brought hard times in the form of drought and depression. It was not until 1897 that good crops brought farmers a degree of prosperity.

Not all of the people came for farm land, many came to establish businesses or ply trades in the towns that sprang into existence following the Run. These new towns saw an influx of a variety Of people. Along with the merchants, tradesmen, and professionals came saloon-keepers, gamblers, and prostitutes.

In a little over 100 years this vast prairie domain was changed from an Indian hunting ground to an area of prosperous farms and growing cities.

Outlet History Before The Opening

Ranch Owner Names

Towns, Museums & Attractions in the Outlet

Chisholm Trail

Indian Nations of the Twin Territories


At the time of the Land Run in 1893, there were 7 original counties: 0, L, K, P, Q, M and N. It was decided that the inhabitants of each county could select the name after the run. The names selected were Garfield, Grant, Kay, Noble, Pawnee, Woods and Woodward.

In 1907 when Oklahoma acquired statehood the following counties were made from existing counties in the Cherokee Outlet: ALFALFA County was formed from Woods County; ELLIS County was formed from Day and Woodward Counties; HARPER County was formed from Indian Lands, Woods and Woodward Counties; MAJOR County was formed from Woods County.

Formerly "O"
Formerly "L"
Formerly "K"
Formerly "P"
Formerly "Q"
Formerly "Q"
Formerly "N"
Alfalfa Ellis Harper Major

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