Oklahoma became a state in 1907. The state was formed from Indian Territory, Oklahoma Territory and No-Mans Land. What is now the eastern part of Oklahoma was Indian Territory. The western part was Oklahoma Territory. The Panhandle was No-Mans Land. Oklahoma is known as "Native America" and the "Sooner State".
All but No-Mans Land, now the Panhandle of Oklahoma, was acquired in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. No-Mans Land was
acquired via U.S. land acquisitions following the Mexican-American War, and was originally
part of Texas. In 1850 Texas relinquished claim to that territory in compromising over the
slavery question. At that point this strip of land was merely public land. People tried
to settle, there was no way for the settlers to claim the land upon which they lived, no
way to make marriages legal in the territory, no laws to govern tax foreclosures, the
organization of corporations, etc.
The lawlessness of pre-statehood. No local or state law existed in Oklahoma and Indian
Territories, and No-Mans Land, and it became hang outs for the lawless.
Cattle and horse thieves, whiskey peddlers, and bandits who sought refuge in the untamed territory that was free of a "White Man's Court."
There were a
handful of federal marshals working for Judge Isaac Parker, the "Hanging Judge",
out of Ft Smith, Arkansas. This small group of marshals were limited to attempting to capture the most notorious outlaws.
Oklahoma has a unique history in how its population ebb and flowed. There were four
major events with major population changes occuring over short periods.
- The Indian relocation era, the 1830's.
- The Land Run era, 1889-1895.
- Third the oil rush era, started in 1897 and peaked in the 1920's, and continues to this day.
- Fourth was the outward migration precipitated by the Dust Bowl. 1930's.