Leaping into History, Kentucky Daisey
Sponsor: Purchased in partnership with Edmond Parks Foundation, State of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Centennial Commission and private donations.
Among the thousands of men, women and children who descended on towns like Arkansas City, Kansas and Purcell, Indian Territory, before the land-rush into the Unassigned Lands in Oklahoma that came to be known as “Harrision’s Horse Race” in 1889, was a newspaper reporter from Kentucky named Nanitta R.H. Daisey.
Boarding one of the “Boomer Trains” in Purcell, IT, Daisey joined many of her colleagues from various newspapers around the country, notionally there to cover the story herself. But Daisey had another motive, she wanted land of her own, and had already scouted a potential claim.
When the Boomer train carrying among its passengers the reporters arrived in Edmond, it still wasn’t noon, and the passengers weren’t allowed to leave the area of the tracks, lest they become “Sooners” and illegal. Legend has it, Miss Daisey convinced the engineer of the train to let her ride the cowcatcher at the front of the train, and north of the station, carrying her stakes and wearing a six-shooter as well as a dress with many petticoats, she leapt from the cowcatcher, ran across the bar ditch that ran along the tracks, drove her stakes into the ground and tore off one of her petticoats to use as a flag to warn other Boomers that the claim was taken. She then pulled her pistol, fired it into the air and shouted, “I hereby claim this land in the name of the Kentucky Daiseys.” She then ran back to the train and was hauled aboard by the eager hands of her colleagues in the press who to a person, realized they had just witnessed a story for the ages. By nightfall, newspapers all over the country, as well as press agencies like UPI and AP had picked up the story and flashed the name of “Kentucky Daisey” all over the world. Edmond had its first internationally famous citizen.
Daisey “proved out” her claim and owned the land for the remainder of her life, even defending it against claim jumpers. Although scarcely the only woman who claimed land in 1889, Daisey was easily the most famous, and her leap into history came to symbolize the many men, women and children who bet their futures in the territory. “Leaping into History” depicts the moment Daisey leapt from the train into the history of our city, our state, and the world.
“Leaping into History” is located in Centennial Park, one block east of Broadway along First Avenue. The Oklahoma artist was Mary Lou Gresham. The life-sized bronze statue, sponsored by the Edmond Parks Foundation, was dedicated on July 4th, 2007 and is Edmond’s official Centennial Project.
Photos and description by silverquill at https://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMAD63_Leaping_into_History_Edmond_Oklahoma.