Schoolteacher refuses to give up; The Three Land Runs of Nanitta Daisey


Nanitta Daisey: The Woman Who Wasn't Afraid to Take a Chance

Nanitta was a schoolteacher and newspaper reporter who knew that anyone could claim land in Oklahoma, and wasn't afraid to reach for her dream of owning her own land and home.

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Hopping off a train to grab some land

Nanitta Daisey was a brave lady who did some amazing things in Oklahoma's early days. She lived in a time when people were trying to claim land before Oklahoma became a state.

Before coming to Oklahoma, she had a reputation for being witty and speaking her mind.

In 1889, she hopped off a slow-moving train and claimed some land two miles north of a town called Edmond. This was called a 'run' because lots of people were rushing to claim land at the same time.

Second try results in Nanitta being knocked unconscious

Then, in 1891, Nanitta tried to claim some more land in a place called Fox and Sac. She was riding her horse when it fell and knocked her out!

Nanitta was unconscious and couldn't move or speak for a little while. Luckily, she was okay and didn't get hurt too badly, although some reports said she'd been trampled to death. She must have felt like the Paine quote:

"The report of my death has been grossly exaggerated."

Oh, but Nanitta wasn't done yet!

In 1893, she made a third run into a place called the Cherokee strip.

One paper reported that Daisey was at the head of thirty-six women who had hauled their own lumber and built a fifteen-room house. That story was fictitious, but she did make the run to Perry on the train.

On this 3rd run, she got into an argument with some other people over the town named Perry who wanted to claim it as their own, too.

Before Nanitta used to be a schoolteacher, she wrote for some well-known newspapers such as the Fort Worth Gazette, Dallas Morning News, and Louisville Courier-Journal.

As she proved in her three attempts to get land in the Oklahoma Land Rush, Nanitta was adventurous and determined and a brave woman who wasn't afraid to end up on the front page herself. And on July 4, 2007, the town of Edmond celebrated its centennial by unveiling a statue of Daisey, shown leaping from the cowcatcher at the front of a train.


Hi, I'm Judy! I love bringing a magnifying glass to where psychology and history cross. What makes people do what they do? Why did they make that choice? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments and share this article on social media and with family and friends, if you'd like.

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Judy Derby has worked in the surrounding communities as a social worker and advocate. providing resources and information to help local families meet their basic needs. She's been writing about social issues and related topics for over 10 years.

Antlers, OK

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