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.
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
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.
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.
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.
"It's All Trew"
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 email@example.com. For books see DelbertTrew.com. His column appears