The Oklahoma Land Run
The Oklahoma Land Run book was published in 2009. In the book, a young boy named Jesse wants to help his father stake a claim during the first of five land runs in Oklahoma. The setting is around the Yukon-El Reno area. Jesse's father has sustained an injury and cannot drive the wagon to search for land. He also doesn't want his son driving against the men who are set on claiming land any way they can get it. And, they have to watch out for "sooners". Pa has to make the decision to let his son drive for him or give up his chances to stake a claim.
I'm often asked to come to schools during April and read my book. Some schools choose to have land runs, and the children often dress up as pioneers, sit on the ground to eat their lunches, and play a few old-fashioned games. If older students are available, then families are formed, and the families sit together to eat. There's usually a land run, sack races, and often three-legged races. One school has a group of square dancers come in and show students how to square dance. The school also had a trick roper.
My presentation usually includes a selection of items from around the 1889-1907 time frame. A few are replicas, but others are authentic.
I usually have some quilts, a rug beater, a washboard, some kitchen items, lye soap, a few pieces of children's clothing, feed sacks, drinking gourds, etc. I also emphasize that there wasn't any electricity for plugging in computers, washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, televisions, etc, and, sometimes, no running water. It usually takes about 45 minutes to read my land run book and present my "show and tell" to students.
Below is a picture at a school that shows me reading to students. In the background among the school's library books are tables with some of my "show and tell" items. It's always a fun presentation.
Reading my Oklahoma Land Run book to third grade students.
I'm showing some of my land run items. On the table are "sad irons", a small churn, a "hand mixer", gourds used for drinking, old glass jars, etc.
More items from my land run presentation. I don't always have room to include all of the items. My car is usually full, though.
A washboard, a coffee grinder, yo-yo bedspread, and baby clothes are shown here.
A link to a You Tube segment I made about my Oklahoma Land Run book.