Hometown Tuesday ~ The Cherokee Land Run of 1893

hometown tuesdayWilliam Henry Hamilton Hayes, my 2nd cousin 4x removed, was born on February 2, 1846, in Claiborne County, Tennessee. His family moved to Pleasant Hill, Missouri in 1853. There he married Sarah Cornelia Hayes, his first cousin, on August 8, 1878. They had 14 William Hamilton Hayes & Sarah Cornelia Hayes pcchildren, 12 of whom lived past adulthood. In 1883, he moved his growing family to Medicine Lodge, Barber County, Kansas. Here he built a large house for his family to live in and he farmed the land.

Land run photoIn August of 1893, “Ham” as he was called, learned that the government was going to open up land in Oklahoma to new settlers. There were 8,144,682.91 acres available of homesteading land that has been purchased from the Cherokee Nation. In order to obtain this land, you had to participate in a Land Run. Potential homesteaders gathered on the edges of the large landmass and once given a signal they had to drive their wagon or ride a horse and pick up a flagLast land rush 1893 marking the section of land they were to live on. The run began on September 16, 1893. It was a wild and dangerous event but somehow Ham got his own piece of the land. It was near present-day Richmond, Oklahoma. In his obituary it gives this description:

Here he resided, enduring the trials and hardships which characterized the settlement of a new country, helping to make of it a suitable habitation and giving his family the best it was possible to have in a new place. His efforts were crowded with success and he lived to see the day when the land brought forth in abundance. Schools were established and modern conveniences enjoyed.”

In 1910, Ham once again moved his family. This time to Woodward, Oklahoma. He found work as a janitor at the local Court House. He worked there for 6 years until February 8, 1916, when he became ill and the County Commissioner gave him a 10 day leave to get better. He went home hoping to feel better and return to work, but that was not to be. On Thursday, February 10, 1916, he passed away at his home. On the following Saturday, his funeral service was held at the local Christian Church and it was filled to overflowing with those who wanted to honor and pay tribute to this good man.

Hayes Family Early Settlers newspaper article William Henry Hamilton Hayes FamilyI know this blog has strayed from my usual Hometown Tuesday format. I just discovered this story about my cousin and wanted to share it. He lived in 5 very beautiful places and picking just one was too hard. Plus, the excitement of having someone related to me who participated in the Land Run, was too good to pass up. Over the years he moved over 1153 miles from Tennessee to Oklahoma. I guess he could have been called a ramblin’ man!




I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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