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Beaver County

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    The concept of Beaver County did not come about until the formation of Cimarron Territory in 1886. That organization included all of No Man's Land, now the present three counties in the Panhandle. However, there were settlements in the area long before that time.
    In the Compromise of 1850 the state of Texas ceded to the U.S. government a vast region claimed by Texas since its days as a republic. The cession was apportioned by 1854 among the new territories of New Mexico, Kansas, and Nebraska. An early proposal for Kansas Territory's southern boundary was to have it run along the northernmost Texas state line, continuing eastward along the same line of latitude (36° 30' N) to join the Arkansas-Missouri boundary (the 1820 Missouri Compromise Line). Under objections that much Cherokee land would thus be swallowed, the Kansas boundary instead was moved northward in 1854 to 37° N. This left, between 36° 30' N and 37° N, a rectangle of federal public land west of the Cherokee Outlet, north of the Texas Panhandle, east of New Mexico Territory, and south of Kansas and (after 1861) Colorado territories.
    This 34 ½-mile-by-167-mile rectangle (between 36° 30' N and 37° N and between 100° W and 103° W) was unattached to any state or territorial government from 1850 to 1890. It was identified on most government maps as “Public Land” or “Public Land Strip.” Today, it is the Oklahoma Panhandle, but during the late 1880s it was popularly known as “No Man's Land.” The Public Land Strip, seasonal home to nomadic American Indians of the High Plains, was controlled by Comanche bands and allied groups from 1850 to 1875. Still, the Strip's west end experienced much traffic along the Santa Fe Trail's Cimarron Cut-Off and some military excursions. Originally within the Spanish colonial Province of New Mexico, it also saw at its western end some 1860s rancheria settlement by New Mexican sheep herders, and it hosted ciboleros (New Mexican buffalo hunters) into the 1880s. Some Panhandle geographical features still carry their old Spanish colonial names or anglicized variants.
    The 1890 Organic Act made the Strip part of Oklahoma Territory and brought it homestead rights. The entire Strip was designated the Seventh County, soon renamed Beaver County, and a land office was placed at Beaver City, county seat for the entire Panhandle. During 1890 and 1891 government surveyors partitioned the land into sections, and the squatters' self-surveyed quarter-section lines were corrected. The old-settler squatters who could verify their claims received up to three years' credit toward the homestead requirement of five years' residency.
    By statehood in 1907, when the old territorial Beaver County was divided into three new counties (Cimarron, Texas, and Beaver), the Oklahoma Panhandle held the highest population ever recorded in any census. Those old settlers who had squatted and stayed on uncertain land some twenty years before finally enjoyed vindication of their faith in themselves and the land.


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    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
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    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105-4997
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  • The Oklahoma Genealogical Society maintains a library and archives that the public is allowed to visit. The Library and Archives contains over 62,000 volumes with emphasis on Oklahoma, Native American, and western history. In addition to these materials -- many of which are rare and out-of-print -- the library also houses a number of special collections.
County Clerk
111 West 2nd St.
Beaver, OK 73932
Phone (580)625-3141
Court Clerk
111 West 2nd St.
Beaver, OK 73932
Phone (580)625-3191

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Adjacent Counties

Harper County | Ellis County | Texas County
Meade County, Kansas | Clark County, Kansas | Seward County, Kansas
Lipscomb County, Texas | Ochiltree County, Texas

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