Oklahoma Territory and Its Growth
THE INAUGURATION of President Harrison on March 4, 1889, brought the Republican party into power once more after four years of Democratic rule. Naturally, the new President was for some weeks very busy with the details of organizing his administration and in seeking to satisfy the numerous office seekers clamoring for recognition. Moreover, the final release and conveyance of the Seminole lands was not executed, approved, and delivered until March 16. In consequence, it was not until March 23, 1889, that President Harrison issued a proclamation declaring the exact time and manner of the opening of the Oklahoma Lands to settlement.
This proclamation was comparatively short and simple. The legal history of the area was reviewed and the boundaries were carefully defined. The proclamation then stated that thirty days after issuance, at high noon on April 22, 1889, these lands should be open to settlement under the homestead laws of the United States and subject to the conditions, limitations, and restrictions contained in the act of Congress approved March 2, 1889. It further provided that no person entering upon or occupying these lands prior to the date and hour given would ever be permitted to acquire a right to any part of them, and it asserted that officers of the United States would be required strictly to enforce this provision. It specified that sections sixteen and thirty-six in each township were to be reserved for the benefit of public schools. The Secretary of the Interior was authorized to provide for the entry of lands for town sites