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Welcome To Old Day County, Oklahoma Territory.

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Day County opened April 19, 1892, ended November 16, 1907.


Place Names

Antelope Hills

Canadian River
Commissioner Creek
Hackberry Creek
Quartermaster Creek



Day County 1895

Day County was opened in Cheyenne and Arapaho lands run April 19, 1892 as "E" county.
Neighbor Counties 1900
Lipscomb County, TX Woodward County, O.T. Dewey County, O. T.
Hemphill County, TX Roger Mills County, O.T. Custer County, O. T.

Crawford Ranch of No Man's Land moved to Day County
Crawford Ranch of No Man's Land moved to Day County

Day County, Oklahoma Territory, from 1892 to 1907, had controversy and trouble.

The Courthouse burned, cattlemen dueled over water rights, there was lynching and feuding between free-grass and herd law proponents and tornado!
By citizen's petition, 1907 legislators divided the county along the Canadian River, the north half merged with newly formed Ellis County, the south half became part of Roger Mills County.


County Officers
Day County Tribune, December 7, 1893
H. I. Walck, Probate Judge.
Shannon McCray, County Atty. and Supt. of Public Instruction.
H. E. Downing, County Treasurer.
E. D. Walck, County Surveyor.
Jas. T. Hastings, Register of Deeds.
R. L. Ramsey, Sheriff.
Board of County Commissioners. John Reed, J. N. Webb, Chas. Blackstone, Chairman.

1896, January 31, Day County Tribune, page 4.
Day County Commissioner proceedings told that Sheriff R. L. Ramsay resigned. C. P. Capps was appointed to office of Sheriff to fill Ramsay's unexpired term.

On the night of July 26, 1896, the Day County Court House at Grand burned to ground, all records destroyed. The Cheyenne Sunbeam (Roger Mills County), August 14, 1896, reported the citizens of Day county voted down a tax to rebuild their destroyed court house and that there was strong sentiment in Day county for a coalition with Roger Mills county. The Cheyenne newspaper of January 22, 1897 told of a petition circulated in Day county to ask legislators to divide the county between Roger Mills and Woodward counties.

That wasn't end of the Day County troubles.

1897, July 30, Cheyenne Sunbeam.
Page 4. C. B. Capps, ex-sheriff of Day county, was arrested near the Antelope hills last Monday by the sheriff of Armstrong county on a charge of cattle stealing. He had the stolen cattle, about thirty head, in his possession when arrested. Canadian Record.

1897, August 27, Cheyenne Sunbeam,
Page 1. WHO DID IT? Day County Tribune. Ex-Sheriff Caps who is now in jail at Claude, Texas for cattle stealing, has made a confession in which he admits that he with others burned the Grand court house. One of the parties implicated is now dead, the others are prominent citizens of Day county. ...

1897, Sept 24, Cheyenne Sunbeam,
Page 4. C. B. Capps, ex-sheriff of Day county, has been sent to the Texas penitentiary for a term of four years for stealing cattle.

And there was violence.

1899, August 25, Cloud Chief Beacon, Washita County, p. 6. Harry Hamilton and Ira Cooper, two ranchmen in Day county, on the 23rd of August, fought a duel in which Cooper was killed. Both men emptied their revolvers, but Hamilton was not hurt. The lived on adjoining ranches.

Hamilton, 1899

The county grew in population.

1900 Census Day County, Oklahoma: population 2,173. Two years later the Day County Progress claimed population had doubled based on election counts. Total vote in 1900 was 503, in 1902 was 1162.

Day county saw the struggle between the farmers that wanted herd law and the cattlemen that supported free grass laws. Herd Law vs. Free Grass went to a vote.

1901, May 17, Arapaho Bee
Page 2. LYNCHED. A Free Grass Mob Hangs Herd Law Man.
Mr. J. L. Chandler, a resident of Ioland, Day county, was taken from his home by a posse of cattlemen and hanged. The lynching party was composed of Day county cattlemen.

There has been trouble between the farmers and cattlemen of for some time. During the past few weeks the trouble has been growing graver and many cattle have died of poisoned water.

Mr. Chandler was suspected of being one of the party who has been poisoning the water and he was lynched as a warning to others.

Officers are on the trail of the lynching party and they will sooner or later be run to earth and receive the full penalty of the law for their crime.

This is the first lynching that has occurred in Oklahoma since its organization as a territory.
The question originated over the question of free range, the cattlemen being fierce over it and the farmers not wanting it. The land in western Oklahoma is still subject to homestead entry and many a small farmer has had all his crop eaten up by the cattle and has had no course of redress, not having any way of paying the costs of a suit in the courts. It has retarded the settlement of some of the western counties to a great extent. A poor man who wanted a home in some of those counties has often been told to move on by interested parties who wanted the range, and the cattlemen have been very negligent about trying to protect the farmer's crops by keeping their cattle in hand.

The act of the legislature of 1899 in granting free range west of range 14, also provided that a herd law could be voted upon at election, and in their efforts to get these elections, the will of the farmer had been thwarted by the cattlemen until the trouble has assumed the proportion of a feud, the farmer being arrayed against the cattlemen, and the end is not yet in sight.State Capital.

The settlers of Day county will eventually hold their land and will win out in the long run because they are right. The cattlemen resort to tricks to keep the land for free range, that nobody but one of the school on the frontier would believe should the newspaper tell the truth.

The government has in many ways winked at their depredations and the poor settler is left to paddle his own canoe.

The settlers have worked together more recently and have shown a spirit to contend for their rights that is commendable. The settler only asks to live on and cultivate his own land in peace. Whether it is fenced or not is nobody's business but the owners.

If they will legislate to occupy a man's farm they can also legislate to use his house for camp headquarters. But the inherent right of the settler rebels against this intrusion and when pushed he will fight.

The free grass policy has retarded the settlement of every country, but western Oklahoma has suffered more than the ordinary because of a notion that it never rained here and the strong lobby the cattlemen have kept at work 365 days each year. The lynching of this man at Ioland will probably mould sentiment very rapidly against free grass and we can look for those in authority to say a man's farm is his own and if you want his grass or anything else on that farm go and get it from the owner.
Lynching and slugging people turn public sentiment against the very cause for which the deed was committed to make smoother sailing.

1901, August 2 Arapaho Bee.
Page 2. Dastardly Outrage. Mrs. Mary Mills, of Millsville, Day county, had her cow and four work horses belonging to herself and son, tied up to trees and shot by some unknown parties last Sunday night. This was all the stock they had except one calf. The only grievance against the widow and her son, E. Mills, had tried to protect their crops by driving the longhorns out of their fields. The free grassers had threatened to hang the young man, but lacking the nerve to carry out that threat, they took this cowardly means of punishing the widow for trying to make an honest living in their midst. It wont take many tricks of that kind for someone to try it once to often.

1902 Day County officers
County supt: B. A. Bouldin
County attorney: S. A. Miller
Probate Judge: G. A. Bigelow
Sheriff: Joseph L. Smith
Assessor: George Wood
Treasurer: David Hogg
County clerk: A. S. Burran
County surveyor: F. M. Sandford
Commissioner 1st dist: Simpson
Commissioner 2nd dist: Geo. W. Carr
Commissioner 3rd dist: Thos Russell

May 28, 1903, the Taloga Advocate, headlined "Dewey and Day Counties Visited by Destructive Cyclone. Several Persons Killed and Many Injured." A large portion of eastern Day county and the west part of this county was laid waste Friday evening by one of the most destructive cyclones that ever visited the southwest. A portion of country beginning near the Grow post office in Day Co., and extending through this county and into Woods county, a mile wide and perhaps 80 miles long, is almost completely destroyed.

Nov 16, 1907 Day County's end by legislation, divided between Ellis county and Roger Mills county. Grand remained county seat of Ellis County until the County Seat Election of August 19, 1908 moved county seat to Arnett.

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Day County, Oklahoma Territory 1892-1907
History & Genealogy Resources

ELLIS: Created in 1907 from Day and Woodward Counties. Named for Abraham H. Ellis of the Constitutional Convention.
Clerk of Courts has marriage records from 1892, divorce records from 1893, probate records from 1908 and civil court records from 1896; County Clerk has land records from 1898. Woodward Library has some of these records on microfilm.

Ellis County
100 S Washington Courthouse Square
Arnett, OK 73832
ROGER MILLS: Created in 1892 from Cheyenne-Arapaho Lands. Named by vote of the people of the county, most of whom were recent emigrants from Texas, of which state Roger Q. Mills was then United States Senator. Roger Mills County received land from southern portion of obsolete Day County in 1907. Clerk of Courts has marriage, probate, civil court records from 1800's, divorce records from 1900; County Clerk has land records.
Roger Mills County
PO Box 708
Cheyenne, OK 73628

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page created 17 Nov 1999
Updated:  May 03, 2021
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