Evolution of the Rogers Ranch

On the Rogers Ranch things would fundamentally change by 1889 when the Missouri Pacific Railway would come through and bisect the ranch in two. The railroad, following modern day Highway 169, created two natural east and west sections to the ranch. But, the railroad also brought settlers. Though the land within the Cherokee Nation was collectively owned by the Cherokees, and leased by individual tribal members, white settlers started showing up to build a new life for themselves on the western frontier.

It was the beginning of the end of the Rogers Ranch as it once was. By the late 1890s, through the Curtis and Dawes Acts, the federal government would take the land that was once collectively owned by the tribes, and individually allot the land to the citizens. The Rogers ranch, which was once 60,000 acres, was reduced to about 140 acres, with Clem and Will Rogers’ allotments. Clem was able to buy up land around him, reaching nearly 2000 acres, but the ranch would never be what it once was. Times had changed.