We Know We Belong to the Land - A Hundred Years of Oklahoma and the Congress
Territorial Oklahoma (part 2)
David A. Harvey
David A. Harvey (R-OK, 1890-1892). (Courtesy of Oklahoma Historical Society)
Dennis T. Flynn
Dennis T. Flynn (R-OK, 1893-1896, 1899-1902). (Courtesy of Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries)

A Territorial Delegate served in the U.S. House of Representatives. The delegate could not vote on the floor, but he could serve on committees, introduce petitions, and otherwise tend to territorial matters. Three Republicans and a member of the Free Silver Party (Callahan) held the office of Territorial Delegate: David Harvey, Dennis T. Flynn, James Y. Callahan, and Bird S. McGuire. All were essentially Midwesterners although Harvey and Flynn were born in Nova Scotia and Pennsylvania respectively. All but Callahan were members of the bar, and both Harvey and Flynn had at one time tried the newspaper business. With the exception of Callahan, all had migrated to the new territory from Kansas, with both Harvey and Flynn coming in 1889.

Congressional bills involving land were of interest to the settlers of the new territory. Flynn in 1893 secured passage of a measure that extended the time period for when payment for the settled lands could be made. In 1900 Congress passed his "Free Homes" bill which cancelled the unpaid balance on lands already settled and opened up the unsettled portion to free entry. The "booming" continued for successive openings of other lands within the territory. Other debates centered on Populist issues concerning social, political, and economic reforms.

The Republican Party occupied the White House for thirteen of the seventeen years Oklahoma Territory existed. In addition, because most of the settlers were from the northern or border states, they tended to be members of the GOP.

James Y.Callahan
James Y. Callahan (Free Silver-OK, 1897-1898). (Courtesy of Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries)
Bird S. McGuire
Bird McGuire (R-OK, 1903-1907 as territorial delegate; 1907-1914, House). (Courtesy of Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries)

Copyright © 2007 Carl Albert Center at the University of Oklahoma
Last Modified 04/05
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