The title of Land Rush gives an erroneous impression. There were actually five land rushes in the Indian Territory alone. The Creek and Seminole lands were taken in 1889. The Iowa, Sac, Fox, Pottawatomie, and Shawnee lands were taken in 1891. The Cheyenne and Arapaho lands were taken in 1892. The Cherokee Outlet lands were taken in 1893. And, the Kickapoo lands were taken in 1895. For the first 1889 Land Rush alone, 50,000 settlers waited for the sound of a gun that would start the rush. For an $18 filing fee, a settler could rush west to claim 160 acres of his choice for himself and his family.
At the bottom of the hill on the left side is a clump of cedar trees,
which mark the location of the cemetery. This, looking west,
is what confronted the settler.
A look behind him showed where he had already trod, and if he
changed his mind, land he'd have to cross again...all
the way to the eastern horizon.
At some point, a settler must have stopped where I stood, and thought, “The further we go, the worse it gets. There is no reason for going on any further, so we’re stopping here.” Looking around at the dead and browning brush, the lifeless dirt, I couldn’t imagine the frustration of trying to pry a living from such an unwilling land. Those that have crossed these lands generations before us have given so much for the lives we lead, no matter where we live. Still, in this spot, as far as I could see, there was only one single sign of life---a little wildflower at my feet, right in the middle of the road. I felt so struck by its impudence at managing to survive in such a place, I had to stop and take its picture.
The impudent henbit.