Quinn Tells Story of Strip Race
This article was in the Arkansas City Daily Traveler on Friday, July 30, 1971.
The story is told by Edwin Quinn.
On Sept. 16, 1893, exactly one month before I was 14 years old, I made the run into the Cherokee Strip with my two older brothers, William and Ralph Quinn, and our neighbors, George and Will Vaughn.
I rode on the back of a horse with my brother, Ralph. September 16 was one day before Ralph was 21 years old and my father, James Quinn, who was an honorable, religious man, advised Ralph that he should not try to stake a Claim, since all applicants to a claim had to be 21 years old.
My father's homestead was about six miles north of the Oklahoma line, and at the appointed time, we all went to the line. The state line was patrolled by soldiers to keep people from "jumping the gun," Because I was very young, the soldiers allowed me to go across the line to a deep draw or gulch that we would have to cross. My brothers set me there to select a place where we could safely cross with our wagon and not wreck it. I found a smooth place to cross and pointed it out to my brothers and the Vaughns on my return.
The land was unbelievably dry, and the prairies, where we were to "run," had been burned.
The guns were sounded and the crowd was off. The Vaughn brothers had practiced running their team for several months in preparation for the race. Many people brought race horses to the scene and they ran very fast for about a mile, and then they became winded and dropped back. The Vaughn brother's team, so beautifully trained, was superb for this grueling race.
We crossed the gully, at the place I had selected, without incident. Some were not so lucky. I remember one man with a loaded wagon, who had his supplies attached to his wagon. He hit the ditch with such force that all of his attached supplies were crushed.
Government surveyors had plotted the land in sections, which were marked. Some of these markers were obliterated by the force of the wagons and horses.
Many people who were on the line, merely stepped across the line and "squatted" and staked their claims.
We saw people who had been in Oklahoma for several days on their claims. They had eluded the scouting soldiers who were sent in to check on these “sooners”.
We went several miles into the Indian Territory, but my brother, Will, was not successful in gaining land there, and we returned to our home in Sumner County, Kansas.
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