Homesteading in Oklahoma: Introducing Historic Oklahoma Law

The Land Rush of 1889 started on April 22nd. My great-great-grandfather, Peter Stillman Loy, arrived two days late for Oklahoma homestead land. His claim was dated 24 April 1889. Peter’s aunt, Margaret S. Tucker, made her claim on 1 September 1892.[1]

Peter completed his final certificate in 1894. He answered questions about his citizenship, residence, and the improvements he made to the property. This was one of the final steps before he was awarded his land patent. Peter, age 42, was born in Ohio. He built a 24×24 foot house on the land in June 1889, and added a stable, a granary, well water, and orchard, which was all under fence. Peter valued his property at $2,000. His land was prairie land, suitable for farming. He had about 100 acres under cultivation and had planted six crops since settlement. Peter lived with his wife and two children. He received his patent in 1895.[2]

On 24 May 1893, Margaret Tucker applied for a twelve-month leave of absence from her claim to work in Iowa to earn money for improvements. Her claim then had an 8×10 foot house with windows, doors, and a roof. Margaret had broken about 12 acres of land, and was growing cane, “caffer” [kaffir] corn, a half-acre of melons, popcorn, pinks, maize, flowers, and vegetables. Margaret’s request was allowed, but this absence was not mentioned in her final certificate.[3]

Margaret’s final certificate was completed in 1898. She was 73 years old, born in Ohio, and moved to her property on 25 February 1893. Her house, now 10×16 feet, had two rooms. She gave its completion date as 1 March 1893. The land was a quarter fenced with post and wire. About 50 acres were broken, and Margaret had grown crops there for five seasons. She valued the property at $100. Margaret classified it as prairie land most valuable for farming, containing a creek and a little timber. She was a widow and lived by herself. Margaret left the claim for a period to serve as a postmaster at nearby Seven Oaks.[4]

Unlike Margaret Tucker, Peter Loy did not stay in Oklahoma. Their time in Oklahoma is partially reflected in census records and homestead files. Laws of the territory and state would have influenced their lives.

I welcome Oklahoma to my online law library. Click the links below to visit the Oklahoma pages.

Enjoy!


[1] For start of the land run: “Land Rush of 1889,” Article, Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_Rush_of_1889 : accessed 23 November 2021). For Peter’s homestead information: Homestead Proof – Testimony of Claimant, 13 November 1894, by Peter S. Loy, in Peter S. Loy (Kingfisher County) land entry case file (homestead), final certificate no. 850 (1895), application at Lisbon, Indian Territory, Land Office, and final certificate at Kingfisher, Oklahoma Territory, Land Office; Land Entry Papers; Record Group 49; Records of the Bureau of Land Management; National Archives, Washington, D. C. For Margaret’s homestead information: Homestead Proof – Testimony of Claimant, 19 July 1898, by Margaret S. Tucker, in Margaret S. Tucker (Custer County) land entry case file (homestead), final certificate no. 2729 (1898), Kingfisher, Oklahoma Territory, Land Office; Land Entry Papers; Record Group 49; Records of the Bureau of Land Management; National Archives, Washington, D. C.
[2] Homestead Proof – Testimony of Claimant, 13 November 1894, by Peter S. Loy, in Peter S. Loy (Kingfisher County) land entry case file (homestead), final certificate no. 850 (1895), application at Lisbon, Indian Territory, Land Office, and final certificate at Kingfisher, Oklahoma Territory, Land Office; Land Entry Papers; Record Group 49; Records of the Bureau of Land Management; National Archives, Washington, D. C.
[3] Application for Leave of Absence, 24 May 1893, by Margaret S. Tucker, in Margaret S. Tucker (Custer County) land entry case file (homestead), final certificate no. 2729 (1898), Kingfisher, Oklahoma Territory, Land Office; Land Entry Papers; Record Group 49; Records of the Bureau of Land Management; National Archives, Washington, D. C.
[4] Homestead Proof – Testimony of Claimant, 19 July 1898, by Margaret S. Tucker, in Margaret S. Tucker (Custer County) land entry case file (homestead), final certificate no. 2729 (1898), Kingfisher, Oklahoma Territory, Land Office; Land Entry Papers; Record Group 49; Records of the Bureau of Land Management; National Archives, Washington, D. C.

 

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