Bestselling author Vickie McDonough is launching a new Historical Fiction series ~ Land Rush Dreams! And we get to celebrate with her! Vickie is our Guest Author today and will be giving away a copy of Gabriel’s Atonement, Book 1 in her new series featuring the Oklahoma land runs.
Romantic Times Magazine gave Gabriel’s Atonement 4 ½ stars. Congratulations, Vickie!
If Vickie McDonough and her books are new to you, here’s a little bit about Vickie.
Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams in her fictional stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is the award-winning author of thirty-five published books and novellas. Her books include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and End of the Trail, which was the OWFI 2013 Best Fiction Novel winner. Whispers on the Prairie was a Romantic Times Recommended Inspirational Book for July 2013. She recently tried something different and wrote Rancher Under Fire, a contemporary suspense. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, watching movies, and traveling.
Just a little over 125 years ago, the part of Oklahoma where I live was called Indian Territory, and it was part of the Creek Nation. While territories all around the Oklahoma were becoming state, “the great American desert” became the place many of America’s Indian tribes were relegated to. Though they were promised the land for eternity, it wasn’t to be.
Ranchers, Railroad men, and Boomers—those seeking to settle on the Unassigned lands—pushed for the opening of land in Oklahoma. For decades, Texas cattlemen had driven their herds east from northern Texas to the railroads in southern Kansas, and they, more than most, knew the value of the western grasslands. You’ve probably heard of the Chisholm Trail, which was one of four cattle trails that ran through the Twin Territories.
From 1890 to statehood in 1907, many referred to Oklahoma as the Twin Territories. The eastern half of the state was Indian Territory while the western half was the Oklahoma Territory.
There was a large chunk of land in the center of Oklahoma, which no Indians had settled on. This was called the Unassigned Lands and the first to be offered for settlement. When all was said and done, five land runs were held to settle millions of acres of land.
Dates of the land runs:
- April 22nd, 1889 – The Unassigned Lands
- 1891, September 22 – Iowa, Sac, Fox, Pottawatomie, and Shawnee Lands.
- 1892, April 19 – Cheyenne and Arapaho land opened by land run.
- 1893 September 16 – Cherokee Outlet opened by land run.
- 1895, May 3 – Kickapoo lands opened.
In 1905, Leaders from each territory pushed to have the Twin Territories submitted to the union as two separate states, but Congress passed the Enabling Act in 1906, uniting the two territories forever.
President Theodore Roosevelt signed a proclamation declaring statehood for Oklahoma in the morning of November 16, 1907. A large crowd in Guthrie, the original capital, received a telegraphed message that the “Twin Territories” had been merged to form the forty-sixth state. In a mock wedding ceremony, symbols of these two diverse communities – a woman representing the Indian Territory, and a man from Oklahoma Territory – were united in marriage.
Vickie’s latest book, Gabriel’s Atonement, is set against the exciting backdrop of the first land run.
Gambler Gabe Coulter is content with his comfortable life—but when a man with a gun confronts him in a dark alley, everything changes. Guilt riddles him for killing Tom Talbot, even though it was self-defense. The dying man said the money he lost to Gabe was meant for his destitute wife and son. The only way Gabe knows to rid himself of the guilt over killing Talbot is to return the money he won to the man’s wife.
Lara Talbot doesn’t believe Tom had money. She sees Gabe as a charming con artist like her irresponsible husband and wants nothing to do with him. She struggles to feed her family, keep her rebellious sister in line, and care for her young son and sick grandpa. The land rush in the Oklahoma Territory seems the only way for them to get a home, so Lara rides, but her dreams don’t turn out as planned. Could God have a bigger dream for her than she could imagine?
Vickie, what a fantastic article! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing all that rich history. We appreciate the Book Giveaway, too. Continued blessings to you in 2015!
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CONGRATULATIONS to Cynthia Fernstaedt Martinez, who won the signed copy of Gabriel’s Atonement by Vickie McDonough!
What historical tidbit from Vickie’s post fascinated you most? Have you read any of Vickie’s books?