Leaping Into History
This statue, entitled “Leaping Into History”, commemorates famous Oklahoma settler “Kentucky Daisey” (Nanitta R. H. Daisey). She was a participant in the first Oklahoma Land Run, which took place on April 22, 1889. Kentucky Daisey made newspaper headlines across the country when, during the land run, she leapt from the cow catcher of a Boomer Train to claim a plot of land. Using stakes and her petticoat, she marked off this land just north of Edmond Station. This statue was erected in 2007 as one of the official Oklahoma Centennial Projects, commissioned as a statewide celebration of Oklahoma’s 100th birthday. Kentucky Daisey’s daring leap into the Unassigned Lands exemplifies the pioneer spirit and an exciting event at the founding of Oklahoma. More than that, though, she was a spirited woman who defied 19th century expectations for her, paving the way for women after her to forge ahead and create their own future.
Backstory and Context
This will talk about Kentucky Daisy's backstory, the land run backstory (including the Dawes Severalty Act and the Homestead Act), and impacts on Native Americans due to the land runs.
- Oklahoma is unique in that people settled it in a series of land runs. After Native American lands were consolidated under the Dawes Severalty Act in 1887, the remaining land was opened to settlers. The process of claiming land was organized in “land run” style, meaning at an appointed time, settlers entered the land, staked out their property, and claimed it as their own. Under the Homestead Act, if they lived on it for 5 years, built a home, and made improvements to the land (typically by farming), it became officially theirs.
- The land run is a part of Oklahoman identity to this day- a lot of schools hold land runs, though the practice is contested a bit
- It also exemplifies the pioneer spirit and the call of the west