I’ve been trying to follow up on a previous post about the “divorce industry” in Oklahoma Territory (1889 – 1907), but I keep getting sidetracked by odd search results and unexpectedly engaging-but-off-topic tangents. I’m finally admitting that my ADHD (Abstemiously Distracted History Dysfunction) has won, and figure I might as well share some of the results.
I’ve been looking into the “divorce industry” in Oklahoma Territory (1889 – 1907), and I spend more time than seems reasonable searching online newspaper archives for terms like “divorce” or “Oklahoma.” I’m not sure this makes me a crack researcher, but it has certainly led me down some weird paths.
Pick any topic – ANY topic – and start scratching at it. Something fascinating will almost always unfold… and yet leave you with a congress of unknowns, smirking and smug like Alice’s cat.
Between the first “land run” opening up the “Unassigned Lands” of Indian Territory in 1889 and statehood in 1907, Oklahoma filled up rapidly.
There were a variety of reasons, of course. The “frontier” was rapidly closing and Oklahoma Territory was the last hope of true homesteading on the continent. Early reports suggested fertile soil and cooperative climate – descriptions which would later be recalled in wry reflection by those who'd embraced them. Then there was the sheer newness and unpredictability of it all – in a nation built on restlessness and possibilities, that alone was sometimes enough.
Oh – and of course, it was a great place to get a divorce.