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    Cherokee outlet, strip
    not the same

    by Delbert Trew
    Delbert Trew

    Contrary to popular belief, The Cherokee Outlet and The Cherokee Strip are not one and the same. Here is the explanation according to Kansas and Oklahoma history.

    The Cherokee Outlet, lying just south of and adjacent to the Kansas/Oklahoma border, was a 60-mile-wide strip of land extending from the 96th meridian to the 100th meridian, the eastern border of the Texas/Oklahoma border. The tract of land contained 7 million acres and was traded to the Cherokee Indian Nation for land in the state of Georgia in a treaty signed in 1836.

    Called "The Outlet" because it allowed the tribes "a perpetual outlet, for free and unmolested use to the Rocky Mountain hunting grounds." Although not included in the treaty, the Oklahoma Panhandle, (No Man's Land) had to be included in The Outlet or access would be blocked to the West.

    This made the Outlet actually extend from the 96th to the 103rd meridian - 60 miles wide. Known as Indian Lands it was sought to be leased for grazing by the big ranchers.

    In March 1889, the government announced some Indian Lands might be opened for settlement. In February 1890 the government ordered all cattle removed from Indian Lands. On Sept. 16, 1893, a land run was conducted for 6,388,562 acres of land all held in the Cherokee Outlet and the outlet for Indian hunting was no more.

    The Cherokee Strip lay adjacent to the Kansas/Oklahoma border, just north of The Cherokee Outlet but was not included in the outlet lands. It was actually a disputed survey mistake made in the 1836 Treaty setting the border some 4.46 miles north of true course. The disputed survey ran from the Neosho River west to the 100th meridian and contained 424,679 acres. This land was offered for sale to the public from 1866 to 1879 with all proceeds placed in the accounts of The Cherokee Nation, according to treaty agreements.

    Like all government "free-give-away-programs," there were restrictions and requirements that had be met in order to receive legal title. For example, the Kansas Homestead Application required name, date, legal description of land applied for plus a cost of $13.99 cash payment. With cash paid and application signed other requirements had be met.

    First the applicant must reside "on" and cultivate at least 10 acres for five years. If the land was abandoned for more than a six-month period the application was subject to forfeiture. After three years and two years before the end of the application period, positive proof of living on and cultivation had to be shown or his application would be canceled. If he paid in full, showed proof of settlement and cultivation any time before the five-year period is up, he could receive the final title.

    In spite of every conceivable contrivance to get around these requirements, outright lies and sworn testaments, forfeiture, imposters, claims of marriage, death, etc., the land was eventually settled and legal title gained. Some title documents read like an Old West fiction novel.

    Delbert Trew
    "It's All Trew"
    March 29, 2011 column
    Delbert Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164, by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by e-mail at trewblue@centramedia.net. For books see DelbertTrew.com. His column appears weekly.

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    This page last modified: March 29, 2011