Cherokee Outlet

Cherokee Outlet
Cherokee Outlet - 1885

The Cherokee Outlet, often mistakenly referred to as the Cherokee Strip, was located in what is now the state of Oklahoma, in the United States. It was a sixty-mile (97 km) wide strip of land south of the Oklahoma-Kansas border between the 96th and 100th meridians. It was about 225 miles (362 km) long and in 1891 contained 8,144,682.91 acres (32,960 km²). Enid and Woodward fall within the historical boundaries of the Cherokee Outlet.

The Cherokee Strip was a two-mile strip running along the northern border of much of the Cherokee Outlet, and it was the result of a surveying error.[1]



The Treaty of New Echota, May 23, 1836, assigned the Cherokee Outlet to the Cherokee Nation as a perpetual outlet to use for passage to travel and hunt in the West from their reservation in the eastern part of what became Oklahoma. This was in addition to the land given to the Cherokees for settlement after their arrival from their home in Georgia.

Loss of Cherokee control

After the Civil War, the United States required a new peace treaty with the people of the Cherokee Nation due to their alliance with the Confederacy:[2] The new treaty (ratified on July 19, 1866) allowed the United States government to dispose of the land in the Cherokee Outlet: "The United States may settle friendly Indians in any part of the Cherokee country west of 96°... [sale proceeds] to be paid for to the Cherokee Nation..."[citation needed]

The settlement of several tribes in the eastern part of the Cherokee Outlet separated it from the Cherokee Nation proper and left them unable to use it for grazing or hunting. After the Civil War, Texans began driving their cattle across the Outlet to markets in Kansas. Soon other European-American ranchers began using the land for grazing. In the early 1880s, with the support of the Cherokee, the ranchers using the land got organized and began fencing off individual claims. The Cherokees believed such organization would help them collect rents due them for land use.[citation needed]

In 1883, the cattlemen finally incorporated —under the laws of Kansas —as The Cherokee Live Stock Association.[3] They negotiated a five-year lease for the entire outlet for $100,000 per year, payable semi-annually in advance. At the end of the five years, the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council put the lease up for bid, hoping to get a better price. The Cherokee Live Stock Association eventually got the bid for $200,000 per year, but it was not completed.

During the 1880s, Bill McDonald, acting as deputy U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Kansas and the Northern District of Texas, cleared the Cherokee Strip of cattle thieves and train robbers, who had taken to hiding out in what they thought was a kind of "no-man's land". He was the future captain of the Texas Rangers[4]

Cherokee Strip land run

In 1889, Congress authorized the Cherokee Commission to persuade the Cherokees to cede their complete title to the Cherokee Outlet. After a great amount of pressure, and confirmed by a treaty Congress approved March 17, 1893, the Cherokees agreed, for "the sum of $8,595,736.12, over and above all other sums" to turn title over to the United States government. On September 16, 1893, the eastern end of the Cherokee Outlet was settled in the Cherokee Strip land run, the largest land run in the United States and the largest event of its kind in the history of the world. This section of land is still known as the Cherokee Strip, and the term has often been applied to the whole of the Cherokee Outlet.

In popular fiction

  • The Cherokee Outlet and the actions of the cattlemen play a prominent role in a portion of the Matt Braun western novel The Kincades. The names of the characters have been changed, but the basic actions taken are explored.

See also

Cherokee Strip (Kansas)


  1. ^ James, Marquis "Notes to Foreword," The Cherokee strip: a tale of an Oklahoma boyhood, page vii
  2. ^ "OKLAHOMA: A Foreordained Commonwealth". Oklahoma Historical Society. 1936. Retrieved 2006-12-05. 
  3. ^ Savage, William (1990). The Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association: Federal Regulation and the Cattleman's Last Frontier. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2271-4. 
  4. ^ "Harold J. Weiss, Jr., and Rie Jarratt, "McDonald, William Jesse"". Retrieved March 9, 2010. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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