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FACTS ABOUT INDIAN TERRITORY
BY THOMAS F. MILLARD.

 

Probably more people now have their eyes turned expectantly toward the Indian Territory, in anticipation of a settlement within its boundaries, than to any other part of the world. For many years this region has seemed to possess extraordinary attractions to the home-seeker. This widespread sentiment had its beginning soon after the removal of the five civilized tribes from their lands east of the Mississippi, and has propagated with truly remarkable fecundity ever since. The average mortal has only to be debarred from anywhere, to at once feel his curiosity and desire stimulated. Scarcely had the Indians settled on their new possessions, than white intruders, tempted by the fertility of the lands, invaded the Territory, and here they have remained, notwithstanding all efforts to eject them.

The settlement of the Territory in spite of steady opposition, both from the Indian governments within and the United States government without, presents a curious anomaly in the development of a country, and one that may well puzzle the student of such evolution. It must truly be an unusual attraction that will induce 350,000 intelligent people to move into a country where they are expressly told they are not wanted, where they can own no real property, where to remain means to sacrifice all political rights and absolute exclusion from participation in affairs of either local or national government, and where they must live under a constant threat of eviction. Yet all this has happened. And the reason is not hard to discover. To say that under such circumstances, the charms of the Territory have apparently outweighed those of other sections of our broad domain, is to pay the natural resources of the country a compliment which would be difficult to parallel.

Is this compliment to the Territory deserved? Well, a fact is not easy to get around. The great states of Missouri, Kansas, Texas and Arkansas surround the region originally set aside in perpetuity for the Indians to live upon and enjoy the fruits thereof. These states are not lacking in attractions to settlers. Their resources may properly be termed extraordinary, since they have sufficed, in the half century they have been included within the confines of civilization, to attract and hold a population of approximately eight millions, and there is ample room for twice as many more. In those states residents have all the advantages that modern civilization is able to confer. In many of these advantages the Territory, owing to its peculiar situation, has been deficient. Yet it has drawn, or, to speak correctly, been unable to exclude, a population now exceeding, with the tribal citizenship, 400,000, and thousands of others but await a betterment of conditions, say rather a removal of the ban—to join the constantly swelling tide of immigration. Within the period mentioned, a considerable segment of the Indian Territory has been alienated, by purchase, and thrown open to settlement. It detracts no whit from the marvelous achievement that is the story of Oklahoma, to say that, notwithstanding comparative disadvantages, the Territory now stands nearly even with her in material development and population. Oklahoma has thrown open her doors, and the response of energetic upbuilders has carried her almost within a decade to the verge of statehood. With doors that must be forced by those seeking admission, the Territory has nevertheless kept pace with the vigorous stride of her friendly rival. The fundamental vitality back of this accomplishment must be indeed remarkable, even in a land of all on this earth the most favored by nature.

The reason for the present concentration of the interest of homeseekers upon this country is to be found in the fact that in the near future the adverse conditions that have operated in the Territory are to be amelioriated. The ban is to be removed. Settlers will no longer have the door slammed in their faces, or, when once inside, be in perpetual fear of the bouncer. They may come, and welcome. The lands of the Indians are to be allotted, and once that is done a large percentage will be available for occupation. And in view of this prospect, thousands of prospective immigrants are anxious to ascertain the terms under which the lands may be obtained. The present territorial possessions of the five civilized nations comprise approximately 20,000,000 acres. These lands, which have been held in common, are now to be distributed. Each Indian citizen to receive a share. Deeds will be issued, and, under certain restrictions and reservations, the lands will be thrown open to occupation and tillage under terms that will afford a reasonable security to the occupant. Owing to the fact that conditions vary in each of the five nations, separate allotment treaties were necessary, but the system and spirit of all the treaties is practically the same. The general theory of the treaties is to give each tribal citizen his or her fair share of the tribal estate, and in order to accomplish this the government decided that it was necessary to classify and appraise the land, according to their character and value. In all the treaties it was deemed prudent, for the protection of a people who had not been accustomed to hold land in severalty, and who were consequently presumed to be unacquainted with its values, to make a certain homestead inalienable for at least a generation, and to throw safeguards around the remainder during a brief period. It becomes important, therefore, for anyone desiring to settle in the territory upon any of the tribal lands to be informed fully as to the terms and conditions imposed by the treaties. While, as I have said, the treaties differ somewhat in minor details, their general principles are the same, and an examination of the principal provisions of one will give an insight into the workings of the others. Let us, then, take a cursory glance at the terms of the treaty between the United States government and the Cherokee Nation providing for the allotment of the national lands.

On a basis of a pro rata division, each Cherokee citizen is entitled to approximately 110 acres of land, but the method of equalization adopted by the Dawes Commission will cause a great variance in the allotments. A citizen who selects comparatively valuable land, according to the appraisement, will naturally receive much less than one whose selection embraces land that is comparatively inferior. It thus happens that allotments in the Cherokee Nation will probably vary from 80 to 640 acres, according to location. Improvements are not taken into consideration in the appraisement, for they go to the credit of the man who made them, and their value is considered as apart from the natural value of the land. In all cases, each citizen is given a prior opportunity to claim the place where he has lived, and which he has probably improved. When a citizen makes his selection he is required to designate a homestead equal to 40 acres of the average land in the nation, and under the provisions of the treaty he cannot alienate this homestead in any way for 21 years after he secures his deed. Within this period, this homestead cannot be encumbered, or taken or seized for debt or any other obligation. All other lands in excess of the homestead may be alienated at any time after five years, and valid titles given. It should be borne in mind that, under no circumstances, as the law is at present, can valid titles be secured to lands within the Territory until five years after they are allotted. But the lands may be leased just a soon as the allotment is made. This section of the treaty, which has now been enacted into law by Congress, reads as follows:

"Cherokee citizens may rent their allotments when selected, for a term not to exceed one year for grazing purposes only, and for a period not to exceed five years for agricultural purposes, but without any stipulation or obligation to renew the same; but leases for a longer period than one year for grazing purposes and for a period longer than five years for agricultural purposes and for mineral purposes may also be made with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, and not otherwise. Any agreement or lease of any kind or character violative of this section shall be absolutely void and not susceptible of ratification in any manner and no rule of estoppel shall ever prevent the assertion of its invalidity. Cattle grazed upon leased allotments shall not be liable to any tribal tax, but when cattle are introduced into the Cherokee Nation and grazed on lands not selected as allotments by citizens the Secretary of the Interior shall collect from the owners thereof a reasonable grazing tax for the benefit of the tribe."

It will be noticed that short leases may be made without the consent of the Secretary of the Interior, but long leases must be approved at Washington. No agreement entered into by a Cherokee citizen prior to the expiration of the time limit to sell his land as soon as it shall be alienable will be valid. It will be easily understood that the reason for these restrictions is to prevent the Indians from selling the land before they have an idea of its value. However, one great difficulty has been removed. It will be possible to secure valid leases, for a limited period without interference from Washington, and an unlimited period with the consent of the Secretary of the Interior, and under these leases the lands can be cultivated with as much security of possession as in any of the states. This is a long step in advance, and an immense immigration to occupy the millions of acres that have never felt the plow is sure to come.

For about eight years, now, the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, popularly known as the Dawes Commission, has been preparing the way to allotment, with the result that the work is nearly done. The land in the Seminole Nation has been allotted, that in the Creek Nation is nearing completion, while in the Cherokee, Choctaw and Chickasaw nations it is rapidly progressing. While it is at present impossible to fix a date when this tremendous and difficult labor will be finished, it now seems probable that another year will suffice. The Secretary of the Interior has been quoted as saying that the Territory will be thrown open to settlement within two years, and he knows if anyone does. He probably means that all deeds will be issued by that time, and all disputed claims settled. From the time that is done, valid leases can be secured. One hears in the Territory a great deal of more or less bitter criticism of the delay of the government in perfecting allotment. This criticism comes from all classes, but it seems to be founded rather on impatience than upon dereliction of the Interior Department. Accusations that every possible means to delay the issuance of deeds are employed by those in authority are freely bandied about. It is difficult to determine the justice or injustice of these charges, but to me they do not seem to be well founded. Perhaps the most that can be said about the attitude of the government is that it shows no disposition to accelerate matters beyond the normal rate of progress. This normal headway will finish the job in a comparatively short time now.

While the situation respecting land tenure in the Territory stands in this shape just now, it is highly probable that by the time the allotment is finished some supplemental legislation will be enacted, by which the time limits within which titles may not be conveyed will be modified, or in many cases done away with altogether. The reason for these limitations has already been explained. The portion of Indian citizens who are even theoretically assumed to need a temporary guardian does not exceed 20,000, out of a total tribal citizenship of about 85,000. This portion consists chiefly of full-bloods, who have been backward in learning the ways of the white man. It may be that it will be to the advantage of this class of Indian, to prevent him from selling his homestead for a generation, but such a theory can scarcely be assumed to apply to the practically "white Indians," of mixed blood who constitute fully three-fourths of the tribal population. These people are as capable of managing their own business now as they ever will be, and they deeply resent being tied up as wards in chancery. They want to be able to do as they please with their property, and no one who is at all familiar with their situation will think of denying the justice of their position. It would be just as reasonable for the government to prevent a Pennsylvania or Illinois farmer from selling his land on the theory that he was not capable of managing his own business. I assume that the Secretary of the Interior and Congress fully realize this, and will consent to a modification of some of the provisions of the treaties. The only difficulty in the way of supplementary legislation is how to determine who is and who is not entitled to exemption. Two methods have been suggested: The first, that the Territorial courts be given jurisdiction to determine such competency, on presentation of evidence; second, that this power be given to the Secretary of the Interior. Either plan would answer, although public opinion in the Territory is overwhelmingly in favor of delegating this office to the courts, as being the most satisfactory and expedient. At any rate, some legislation of this nature is looked for, and if it is enacted fully three-fourths of the land in the Territory will be at once placed on the same footing as land in any of the state.

Conditions in the towns are entirely different, being regulated by separate provisions of the treaties. To put the matter in a nutshell, all townsites are to be located—in fact, all in existence have already been located—by the Dawes Commission. The town lots are to be allotted to whoever can establish a valid claim before the townsite commissions, and all lots that are unclaimed are to be sold at auction, the money to be turned into the tribal treasuries. In many of the towns the allotments have already been made, and some of the sales held. A great majority of the principal towns, however, are yet to be allotted, and persons who desire to secure good property for business or manufacturing purposes in the towns should take note of the public sales, which will all be duly advertised. Whether bought at one of these sales, or from the holder of the deed after all claims have been settled, titles on town property will be entirely free from any restrictions from the beginning. While the practical benefit to the Indians of the equalization undertaken by the Dawes Commission, viewed broadly, may well be doubted, it affords a remarkably good means of determining the character of the 20,000,000 acres of tribal lands, that comparatively unscathed empire toward which so many eager eyes are now turned. A general impression seems to prevail that the Indian Territory is almost entirely prairie. As a matter of fact, about 65 per cent of the present area is timbered land. The general character of the landscape does not materially differ from large portions of Indiana, Illinois or Missouri. While there are, particularly in the northern part, wide stretches of prairie, the river bottoms and almost the whole of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations are liberally supplied with a fine growth of timber. The general topography is an undulating upland, plentifully watered by the great streams of the Arkansas, Canadian and Red Rivers, and their numerous tributaries. The river bottoms, of which there are millions of acres, are equal in richness to any in the world, while the prairies and upland are of almost equal fertility.

Notwithstanding that less than one-sixth of the land is now being cultivated, the output of agricultural products is so great that the railroads are pushed to handle the surplus. The demand for cars at all shipping points is so great that shippers are compelled to file applications weeks in advance, and then await their turn. One day recently that I spent at Vinita, in the Cherokee Nation, 700 wagon loads of corn were brought to town, and the daily average at this season is from 200 to 300 loads. It is not uncommon for wagons to stand all night at the mills waiting for a chance to unload. The shipments of hay from this same place are also astonishing. Stations where one would scarcely expect trains to stop, so few are the external evidences of population, to say nothing of life, send out daily several car loads of produce. In the more southern portion of the territory, cars to handle the cotton crop can be secured only with difficulty, although all the railroads in the Territory are making every effort to meet the demands of traffic. Think of this, and the earth hardly scratched. One would expect, as is the case in most new countries, that the imports would greatly exceed the exports. Already the reverse is true of the Territory. The "empties," as railroad men call unloaded cars, are hauled into, not away from, the Territory. This curious reversal of the ordinary course of traffic is a surprise, and somewhat of a puzzle, to railroad operators, and they are already wondering what they will do when the country is settled. However, railroad construction is being pushed everywhere with extraordinary activity, and there is no doubt that the problem will be solved.

As would naturally follow, the compliment to this agricultural production is to be found in the obvious commercial activity that everywhere pervades the towns. In this connection, a somewhat curious condition is apparent. It is estimated that four-fifths of the present population of the Territory resides in the towns. This seeming disproportion, in a country where manufactures are as yet a minor element in industry, would indicate that a majority of the people are "living off each other," as a resident put it. Yet there is no evidence of the stagnation that would be the inevitable result if that situation really existed. The capital that is daily coming in with the tide of immigration is probably what preserves the balance now, but bankers and those in touch with the business situation profess to feel not the slightest uneasiness as to the ultimate outcome. They confidently predict that development will keep pace with the immigration, the concentration of the population in the towns being more apparent than real, and due to the fact that the country is passing through a critical formative period, and that production will more than equalize matters before any strain is felt. Observing conditions on the spot, I am inclined to accept this explanation as a just one. There are not apparent, either on the surface or in the forthcoming sequence of events, any indications of a reaction. The present rate of development in the Territory is sound, for the land is here to support it.

For purposes of appraisement, the Dawes Commission has classified all the lands in the Territory according to schedules. The land in the Seminole Nation, which is not extensive, was divided into only three grades, and allotted on that basis. However, in the other four nations the land was of such extent and diversity of character that more minute divisions were deemed necessary. The remainder of the Territory was divided into two parts, one consisting of the Cherokee and Creek Nations, and the other of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, and a schedule for each devised to fit the land as near as possible. I believe these schedules will be of value to persons anticipating a location in the Territory, especially if they intend to cultivate a farm, and so I will insert them.

Following is the classification schedule for the Creek and Cherokee nations:

Class 1. Natural open bottom land.
Class 2. Best black prairie land.
Class 3 (a). Bottom land covered with timber and thickets.
Class 3 (b). Best prairie land other than black.
Class 4 (a). Bottom land subject to overflow.
Class 4 (b). Prairie land, smooth and tillable.
Class 5 (a)- Rough land free from rocks.
Class 5 (b). Rolling land free from rocks.
Class 6 (a). Rocky prairie land.
Class 6 (b). Sandy prairie land.
Class 7 (a). Alkali prairie land.
Class 7 (b). Hilly and rocky land.
Class 8 (a). Swamp land.
Class 8 (b). Mountain pasture land.
Class 9 (a). Mountain land, sandy loam.
Class 9 (b). Mountain land, silicious.
Class 10 (a). Rough and rocky mountain land.
Class 10 (b). Flint hills.

The following table shows the lands of the Creek nation, as classified under the above schedule. Fractions of acres are omitted.

 

 Acres

Class 1

12,410

Class 2

1,739

Class 3 (a)

194,596

Class 3 (b)

124,400

Class 4 (a)

112,385

Class 4 (b)

571,803

Class 5(a)

298,507

Class 5 (b)

770,756

Class 6 (a)

202,744

Class 6 (b)

46,783

Class 7 (a)

31,135

Class 7 (b)

512,282

Class 8 (a)

25,469

Class 8 (b)

91,310

Class 9 (a)

15,477

Class 9 (b)

1,464

Class 10 (a)

59,546

TOTAL

3,072,813

 

The following table gives the lands of the Cherokee Nation, as classified under the schedule, fractions omitted.

 

 Acres

Class 1

11,646

Class 2

1,623

Class 3 (a)

143,836

Class 3 (b)

231,900

Class 4 (a)

213,903

Class 4 (b)

899,207

Class 5(a)

322,555

Class 5 (b)

634,948

Class 6 (a)

414,899

Class 6 (b)

5,673

Class 7 (a)

7,700

Class 7 (b)

614,362

Class 8 (a)

15,540

Class 8 (b)

159,394

Class 9 (a)

12,062

Class 9 (b)

41,142

Class 10 (a)

220,341

Class 10 (b)

469,330

TOTAL

4,420,070

 

Following is the classification schedule for the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations:

Class 1. Natural open bottom land.
Class 2 (a). Cleared bottom land.
Class 2 (b). Best black prairie land.
Class 3. Bottom land covered with timber and thickets. (If the timber is of commercial value, it will be appraised separately.)
Class 4 (a). Best prairie land, other than black.
Class 4 (b). Bottom land subject to overflow.
Class 5 (a). Prairie land, smooth and tillable.
Class 5 (b). Swamp land easily drainable.
Class 6 (a). Rough prairie land.
Class 6 (b). Upland with hard timber. (If the timber is of commercial value, it will be appraised separately.)
Class 7 (a). Rocky prairie land.
Class 7 (b). Swamp land not easily drainable.
Class 8 (a). Alkali prairie land.
Class 8 (b). Hilly and rocky land.
Class 8 (c). Swamp land not profitably drainable.
Class 8 (d). Mountain pasture land.
Class 9 (a). Sandy land with pine timber. (If the timber is of commercial value, it will be appraised separately.)
Class 9 (b). Mountain land with pine timber. (If the timber is of commercial value, it will be appraised separately.)
Class 10. Rough mountain land.

The following table shows the lands of the Choctaw nation, as classified under the above schedule, fractions of acres omitted.

 

 Acres

Class 1

1,065

Class 2 (a)

3,399

Class 2 (b)

35,235

Class 3

286,190

Class 4 (a)

89,764

Class 4 (b)

281,234

Class 5(a)

526,187

Class 5 (b)

21,281

Class 6 (a)

129,020

Class 6 (b)

2,134,427

Class 7 (a)

145,313

Class 7 (b)

37,787

Class 8 (a)

19,125

Class 8 (b)

1,390,480

Class 8 (c)

14,665

Class 8 (d)

289,276

Class 9 (a)

265,594

Class 9 (b)

765,895

Class 10

514,296

TOTAL

6,950,043

 

The following table gives the lands of the Chickasaw nation, as classified under the schedule, fractions omitted.

 

 Acres

Class 1

83,176

Class 2 (a)

15,014

Class 2 (b)

29,974

Class 3

145,458

Class 4 (a)

173,026

Class 4 (b)

182,819

Class 5(a)

1,505,116

Class 5 (b)

12,381

Class 6 (a)

223,800

Class 6 (b)

1,748,513

Class 7 (a)

191,995

Class 7 (b)

3,673

Class 8 (a)

22,285

Class 8 (b)

307,962

Class 8 (c)

2,214

Class 8 (d)

53,181

Class 9 (a)

0

Class 9 (b)

0

Class 10

2,512

TOTAL

4,703,108


From this classification it appears that about four-fifths of the total area of the Territory is arable, and most of the remainder is valuable for other purposes. A large part of the land not classed as arable is designated as swamp land, susceptible to drainage, so there is no doubt that in time it will be reclaimed and added to the producing part of the Territory. In fact, it is highly probable that this land may become exceedingly valuable, for it is peculiarly adapted for the culture of rice, which industry is being the means of reclaiming the swamp lands of Louisiana and eastern Texas. It is said that rice growers already have their eyes on this country, with a view to developing it as soon as they can secure possession under valid leases. Much of the land is very valuable for its timber and for other natural resources, such as coal and oil deposits, which are to be found almost everywhere in the Territory, and the great shale deposits at Sapulpa, which are already the foundation upon which great manufacturing enterprises are being predicated. The whole of the Territory lies well within the rain belt, and the impression that has got abroad that this is an arid country is entirely erroneous. Severe droughts are rare, even more so than in the neighboring states of Missouri, Kansas and Texas. The notion that the country has a deficient rainfall probably arises out of the false impression that it is poorly timbered, which I have already shown to be incorrect. The tables given are the result of the work of skilled observers, who covered every mile of the Territory and examined every acre of the land, and may be depended upon to delineate the character of the lands with reasonable accuracy. As to climate, it is very similar to that of Tennessee, the winters being mild, with very little snowfall, and the summers of moderate heat.

As yet the land has not been appraised; that is, no value in dollars and cents has been placed upon the various grades, except in the small Seminole country. It will not be long, however, before this appraisement is made, and when it is, it will enable one to get a very fair idea of the value of the land, if one fully understands the system under which the valuations are determined. The rules governing the classification of the lands give a clue to the method employed. These rules follow:

1. Lands shall be valued in the appraisement as if in their original condition, excluding improvements.

2. Appraisers will grade and appraise lands without regard to their location and proximity to market.

3. Land will be graded and appraised by quarter sections except in cases where a part of a quarter is of a. different grade from the rest. In such cases of the quarter sections will be graded and appraised in smaller parcels, but no parcel to be less than 40 acres.

4. If timber is of commercial value, the quantity will be carefully estimated and the variety stated, and it will be valued separately; and if not generally distributed over the tracts, its location will be given.

5. Upon completion of this work the values will be adjusted by the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes on the basis of the values fixed for each class and the location of the lands and their proximity to market.

Given the rules governing the classification, the classification tables, the classification schedules, and the definite appraisement, all of which, except the appraisement, are here reproduced, and a prospective purchaser of lands in the Territory will be able to determine with tolerable accuracy the character and value of a piece of land in any locality.

Of course, he must first learn how the land he fancies is classified, and that can be done by referring to the completed allotment lists of the Dawes Commission, whenever those lists are completed. Moreover, by a judicious study of the tables, one may without difficulty select approximately the kind of land one desires. Do you desire natural open bottom land? There is a certain stated amount to be had, and a little inquiry will reveal where it is located. Do you prefer black prairie land? You will find it classified and marked out for your inspection. Are you looking for heavily timbered land on which to operate a saw mill, or mountain pasture land on which to locate a goat ranch? Both are available. In fact, you can pay your money and take your choice. And, bear in mind, this estimate of the character and value of the lands is not that of the proprietor, but that of impartial experts employed by the United States government. It is to be presumed that appraisements will not represent actual market values, but will be within the usual limitation imposed by similar circumstances. It is probable that the appraisement will be comparative rather than specific, for its only object is to afford a basis of comparison on which to equalize the allotments, but it will nevertheless give a considerable insight into actual values as conditions are today, with the exceptions as to improvements and locality noted by the rules. Those are advantages to be weighed by prospective purchasers, and will fluctuate in value according to individual desires.

Within the year just past, thousands of persons have taken advantage of favorable opportunities afforded by the railroads entering the Territory to inspect the country. I have encountered these "prospectors" everywhere. Few, indeed, are disappointed with what they see, but I find that many had before coming an erroneous impression as to the conditions under which the Territory is soon to be thrown open to settlement. Many thought that, as soon as the Dawes Commission has finished its work, the lands may be purchased outright. Some, when they learn the facts, feel a sense of disappointment and are somewhat averse to locating upon land they cannot, at least for a time, own. That this consideration will cause many who had entertained a project to remove to the Territory to change their mind, or defer moving in the matter, is certain. In a country where no man is so poor but he may, if he really wishes to own some land, many are disinclined to settle upon ground to which they do not hold a title. However, unless one is swayed chiefly by sentimental considerations, such objections must fall to the ground in this instance. Owing to the fact that the lands of the small tribes that occupy the Quapah Agency, in the northeast part of the Territory, have been allotted for over ten years under almost exactly similar provisions as will obtain in the Five Nations, we may observe how the system operates when put into practice. Nearly all the land in the Quapah Agency is cultivated by white persons under leases, and the arrangement has worked with complete satisfaction to all parties concerned.

Take the Five Nations. Here practically all the land that is in cultivation has been tilled by white men, the interlopers whose presence gave perpetual offense. These lands were cultivated under conditions where not even valid leases could be obtained, where all improvements became the property of the tribes, and where the tenants were in constant fear of eviction which they would have been powerless to resist. Yet the lands found men willing to cultivate them. What more need be said? There is no scarcity of land as yet in the United States. There is land in plenty. But some is more desirable than others. The fact that white amen cultivated the Indian lands under insecure tenure, or no tenure at all, is absolute proof that they found it profitable to do so. If they found it profitable under no tenure, is it not reasonable to assume that under secure leaseholds, with a prospect of eventual possession, it will also be profitable? Moreover, conditions are vastly more favorable in other respects. Formerly this region was isolated from the world's markets. Now it is rapidly becoming a network of railway lines. Within five years a railroad map of the Territory will look like a spider's web. If the present rate of construction continues, and there is no doubt that it will. Five great systems now reach, the Territory, and all have the building fever. The railroads are getting into shape to handle the traffic that will result when the additional million, expected to arrive within the next ten years, gets on the ground and to work.

So the "prospector" who comes to the Territory now will have no just cause to regret his journey. He is a seeker for opportunity, and opportunity is here. If he be a farmer looking for land, he may find himself just a little ahead of time, but to be ahead of time is generally estimated an advantage. The man who is ahead of time is infinitely better off than the man who is behind time. But is the "prospector" who comes to the Territory now ahead of time? I should say, decidedly not. A man does not, or should not, change his home without good cause. He must see, or think he sees, a fair chance to better his condition. If he is wise, he will "prospect" a little before taking the plunge; and if he expects his "prospecting" trip to result in anything, he must certainly not be behind time, or he will find that others have seized the opportunity he sought, while it was yet newborn from the womb of progress.

In a short time, now, this fertile region will open its arms to embrace the men whose destiny is to convert its teeming resources to the uses of mankind. It is, indeed, fortunate that this brief interim will intervene. It means that homeseekers will have ample opportunity to look over the ground, decide upon a location, and prepare for removal. It means that the new territory will not start handicapped by the unsettled conditions that always follow a "rush." Its "boom" will be more gradual, but will lose no impetus on that account. The foundations are well laid, the results certain. I have had occasion, during the past few years, to traverse a large part of the earth's surface, and if I were asked today to name the locality most likely in my opinion, to enjoy during the forthcoming decade the most substantial development, I should, without hesitation, reply:

"The Indian Territory."


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