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brothers. To be sure, some buy steel a philosopher, and which has had a wide ranges for hen-coops and porcelain bath- influence on the civilization of the prairie, tubs for watering-troughs, but they are accounting for some of the strange chapgetting past that.
ters in its history. This is the moverIt is a curious thing that, despite the the settler who is never satisfied, who apparently full settlement of the most holds all he possesses for sale, and who desirable lands of Oklahoma, immigration sees something better just beyond. Thouis all the time adding to the population. sands came to Oklahoma because they In the land offices are found farmers from wanted to move on ; they are willing again Illinois, Indiana, and Kansas, with a con- to move on, and they will probably emulate siderable contingent from the Northern the Wandering Jew to the end of the States—people who have grown weary of chapter. They never become rich, and battling against twenty-below-zero weather their families are the real sufferers from They want to buy farms, and the agent their course. Those who receive twentyhas plenty of land to show them.
five hundred to four thousand dollars“Where is the man who sells out the usual price for a fairly well improved going?” is the question that naturally claim—seek cheaper lands in the western arises. This brings to light one of the part of the Territory, or wait for another curious elements of Western develop- “ opening.” The new population is of ment-one that is worthy the attention of the substantial kind that comes to stay. This changing is going on rapidly, and for later improvements, and for this purthe population figures are creeping well pose anything was good enough. upward, the new census giving the Terri- As the Territory gained in years, these tory three hundred and ninety-eight thou- first buildings gave way to brick and sand. The immigrants who cannot afford stone blocks, pretentious corner fronts, to buy the better farms take their way and the habiliments of civilization. Yet westward, and, with stock as an added some of the first comers remained, and source of income, make a start on the there is yet presented in most of the cheaper lands. Thus it is that there is smaller towns an incongruous comparison opportunity for all who come. Even the of the old order of things and the new. money-loaner who puts his trust in farm There was, too, as in the other prairie mortgages reaps a good harvest--seven to communities, a tendency to overbuild, nine per cent.; a rate, by the way, that is and the effect was seen in empty buildhigher than the regular crop conditions ings fringing the busy section of the seem to justify.
town. Of course decreased revenues In the past season, the fourth of the formed a corrective of this tendency, series of good crop years, Oklahoma has and the town has waited for the country produced 25,000,000 bushels of wheat, to catch up. This, generally, has been 15,000,000 of oats, 70,000,000 of corn, accomplished now, and the building that and 140,000 bales of cotton. This, with has been resumed is in accordance with the small fruits and the yield of its stock the legitimate demands of the places. interests, makes it remarkably prosperous. The railroad towns are, for the most Its property is valued for taxes at $49,- part, located along the two main lines338,000—a rather tidy substance to be the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fé, and gathered in a decade. The cotton crop the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacificalone sold for over $6,000,000; the wheat which traverse the eastern portion of the brought $13,000,000. Each year the Territory from north to south. They total is larger, and each year sees better have enjoyed a trade reaching back into farming; for even in the western section, the country east and west thirty to sixty as in the western parts of Kansas and miles, and have thrived on the business Nebraska, the lesson of the adaptability that came, not alone from the settlers of soil and climate has been learned, and directly, but from the little settlements experiments are less numerous. The that made local distributing points. So people who have settled Oklahoma have it often happens that the business of the put in long, weary years experimenting towns has been out of proportion to their with the climate, and know what to ex- size, and merchants located in unpainted pect from the rain-clouds. More “expe- frame shacks have been piling up bank rience” was brought to the conquering accounts at a rate that many a betterof the soil of the Territory than to any housed dealer might well envy. other part of the West, and the advance This condition is passing away. Cross ment made is evidence of its value.
lines of railroad are being built as rapidly
as the work can be done, and along them In the towns of Oklahoma, more, per- are springing up new business centers, haps, than in the country, is seen evidence each cutting off the trade of some older of the Territory's youth. The towns were town. It is a repetition of the history of settled on the run. They might have for other sections of the West, and will contheir motto, “Cities made while you wait.” tinue until the town and country reach an In a day were erected the first structures, equilibrium where further town-building and in a fortnight the town-sites presented becomes unprofitable. as well developed a situation as grew up in The rivalry of the towns has been very other communities in a dozen years. But bitter. It began when the first locations it was all very temporary and very ram- were selected, rival town companies racing bling The first buildings were mere for the favored spots. In one instance shacks sufficient to keep out the weather. where two towns were located close toLike the cabins on the claim, they pre- gether, the railroad took a hand, and by tended nothing, but accomplished their refusing to stop its trains at one of them purpose, which was to hold down the land compelled a consolidation. Many town
sites were deserted as the development It was a typical incident in Western life, went on, for Western people are quick to and the wonder is that all the inhabitants read the future, and are not inclined to of the vanquished community did not of continue a fight when it affects their their own accord join the procession. pocketbooks. After the towns were lo- It is notable that in their construction cated came the contest for the county seats. of public buildings the people of the TerriTo succeed meant permanent prosperity tory have looked to the future and have and advancement, together with a material built with wisdom. The public-school local prominence. Every effort is put buildings, the court-houses, and the instiforth in such struggles.
tutions of higher learning are imposing “We got every vote we could in our and modern in their architecture. They neighborhood,” remarked a young enthu- are fitted for the development of decades siast, describing a county seat election. to come, and are a credit to the far-seeing “We got 'em all but two. We couldn't faith of their projectors. This confidence get them for love or money—and," he of the Oklahomans in their coming greatadded, naïvely, “we tried both.”
ness is nowhere more strongly manifested, In one instance last summer, when an and there is no reason to doubt the basis election was held, the successful town could of their trust. not wait for the official announcement of The race for recognition as the comthe result of the ballots, but, on being mercial headquarters is between two cities satisfied that it had won, the citizens -Guthrie, the capital of the Territory, and took fifty teams and wagons and made a Oklahoma City, fifty miles farther south. pilgrimage to the losing village. They The former enjoys a prestige that gives loaded into the wagons all the county it some advantage, while the latter, fully records, the household goods of the county its equal in population, lays claim to being officers, the officers and their families, and the business center for wholesale houses then, with a brass band playing strains of and is reaching out for manufactories of victory, took up the journey homeward. various sorts. The rejoicing when the caravan filed into It is not clear to the people of the Territhe new county capital may be imagined. tory why, with its annual production of
BEGINNING A TOWN Norman, Oklahoma, June 29, 1889. Now it is a city of four thousand inhabitants. 140,000 bales of high-grade cotton, an other that will probably be more interestoutput steadily increasing, it should ship ing than either will occur next year—that its raw material to the Atlantic States for of the Kiowa, Apache, and Comanche manufacture and then ship the finished reservations lying to the south of the land product back again for use. So there is first given to settlers. This land extends an earnest effort to secure cotton-factories from the Washita River on the north to the to stand beside the cotton-seed oil mills Red River on the south, about one hundred and so utilize all the possibilities contained miles, and from the ninety-eighth degree in this yield of the fields. Their coming of west longitude on the east to the north is but a matter of time. Situated at the fork of the Red River on the west, comdoor of a market that includes the whole prising approximately three million acres. Middle West and with the cotton crop of the By an act of Congress it is to be opened Southwest close at hand, the question of to settlement as soon as the allotments a supply of raw material and of a market ordered for the Indians of the tribes named ought to be answered fully.
shall be made. The little white school-house is omni- Under the agreement between the tribes present, for the settlers brought with them and the Government each Indian is to a firm belief in education. Every neigh- have one hundred and sixty acres of land borhood is provided for, and high schools, located where he desires it, and also normal schools, and colleges are waiting another one hundred and sixty acres for the young men and women. Churches located in a great undivided pasture to be in city and hamlet and even in some situated on the southern border. In the country districts minister faithfully to the three tribes are 2,900 persons entitled to religious needs. Newspapers, good ones allotments, and under the act of Congress, too, chronicle with exultant eulogy every with its complicated provisions as to age advance of each community. It is a and intermarriage, there will be a total country of modern ways and high ideals. of 467,840 acres to come out of the The sun shines most of the year, and its 2,968,983 acres in the reservations. Then cheer is reflected in the hope and energy there are school and college lands, fort of the people.
reservations, and the grazing lands to be
reserved, which leaves 1,614,000 acres, or Two “openings " have made Oklahoma about eleven thousand 160-acre quarterwhat it is the original one in 1889 and sections, to be opened to settlement. that of the Cherokee Strip in 1893. An- Some of this is included in the Wichita