“Present-day Oklahoma and the American Southwest were providentially placed to keep the American people from ruinous diffusion… We have little apprehension of giving too unfavorable an account of this portion of the country. Though the soil is in some places fertile, the want of timber, of navigable streams, and of water for the necessities of life, render it an unfit residence for any but a nomad population. The traveler who shall at any time have traversed its desolate sands, will, we think, join us in the wish that this region may forever remain the unmolested haunt of the native hunter, the bison, and the jackall.”
-Edwin James, botanist accompanying American explorer Stephen H. Long
With his own eyes James witnessed scenes ranging from bald eagles to pelicans to wild horses to a square-mile-large prairie dog colony. As recounted in W. David Baird and Danny Goble’s The Story of Oklahoma, he also wrote of the constant bedeviling presence of seed ticks in the lives of Oklahoma explorers:
“The bite is not felt until the insect has had time to bury the whole of his beak, and in the case of the minute and most troublesome species, nearly his whole body seems hid under the skin. Where he fastens himself with such tenacity… he will sooner suffer his head and body to be dragged apart than relinquish his hold.”
Read the entire Oklahoma story in John J. Dwyer's
The Oklahomans: The Story of Oklahoma and Its People
volume 1 of a 2-part series on the 46th state and the people who make this state very special.