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Payne County
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The preservation of the history of Stillwater during the Land Run and the pioneer days is an important mission of the Sheerar Museum.

In the 1870s and 1880s, several attempts at Boomer settlements were made in the Unassigned Lands of Oklahoma to force the Federal Government to open the territory to homesteaders.  In December 1884,
Despite this last failure, the actions of the colonists and growing public sentiment led to the eventual opening of the territory in 1889.

On April 22, 1889, the Land Run into the Unassigned Land occurred. By the end of the day, 240 acres had been claimed in the Stillwater township and the population of

Downtown Stillwater 1890
one such attempt resulted in an encampment called Stillwater. The colonists built crude log cabins and dugouts to shelter them from the winter cold. the tent city numbered 300. Less than a month after their arrival at the Stillwater site, Federal troops forced them to return to Kansas.

History Of Payne County Oklahoma

The Perkins Journal
January 10, 1895
In the NEW COUNTRY Column
Brief Bits of General News from the Territories
"It is talked strong that the Court House at Stillwater was burned to get rid of fraudulent records"

Payne Co. was founded in 1889 as County #6, the name Payne later selected. Parts were added on in 1891 (Iowa/Sac & Fox lands), 1893 (Cherokee Strip) and small bits at other times. Rock and Walnut Twps. were taken from Payne County and attached to Noble County at Statehood. Land records technically go back to 1889 (not all were rerecorded after the courthouse fire of 1894). Marriages go back to 1893, and probate start 1894.
Payne County was named for Captain David L. Payne, called the "father of Oklahoma" the leader of the Oklahoma Boomers. He was on his way to Stillwater with the other Boomers when he died suddenly of a heart attack November 28, 1884 in Wellington, Kansas. He is buried now in Stillwater, Oklahoma (since April 22, 1995) on the southwestern corner of Boomer Lake/Park.
The county seat is Stillwater, named after a nearby creek "Stillwater Creek" a tributary of the Cimarron River, post office established in 1889.
Stillwater was the first recorded reference to a non-Indian settlement in the "Unassigned Lands" of what was to become Oklahoma.
It was part of a cavalry officer's report after an encounter with the "Boomer" settlement on Christmas Eve, 1884. That's why it is often said Stillwater is "Where Oklahoma Began". Stillwater was the northern edge of the first land run into Oklahoma in 1889. The northern edge of Stillwater borders the "Cherokee Strip" area which was opened to settlement in the land run of 1893.