The Resignation of Mayor William L Couch

The Resignation of Mayor William L Couch (HM2MIQ)

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N 35° 27.978', W 97° 31.168'

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Oklahoma City November 11, 1889

— The '89er Trail —

First a boomer, then a sooner, then the first mayor of Oklahoma City, William L. Couch resigned as Mayor on November 11, 1889. Five months later, he died of a gunshot wound by a rival homestead claimant, the day before the first anniversary of the Land Run.

After a summer of heated disputes among lot claimants, unremitting criticism from his political opponents the Kickapoos, and a dramatic confrontation with voters in the charter election of September 21, Mayor Couch abruptly resigned as mayor on November 11, 1889. Increasingly concerned about rival claimants of his homestead who accused him of being a sooner, he joined his family just west of the city limits to protect his 160 acre claim.

Couch's homestead was claimed by two other settlers who had built houses on the acreage and several townsite companies that hoped to establish West Oklahoma City. On April 4, 1890, rival claimant John C. Adams, also a sooner, fired his rifle at Couch and hit him in the leg. The wound became infected and on April 21, 1890, Couch was dead. A massive funeral the following day honored the city's first mayor on the first anniversary of the Run of '89.

Photo captions:
Top left: William Couch, Oklahoma City's first mayor, was killed by a rival homestead claimant just before the first anniversary of the Run.

Research



Division of the Oklahoma Historical Society

Middle: Based on historical accounts these are the approximate locations of the W.L. Couch and J.С. Adams homes on the same quarter-section homestead claim.
Research Division of the Oklahoma Historical Society
Top right: William Couch, his father, five brothers and an associate claimed quarter sections around the Oklahoma City townsite. All were sooners, and all of their claims were eventually rejected.
Details
HM NumberHM2MIQ
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Year Placed2018
Placed ByOklahoma City Community Foundation, Wiggin Properties
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, November 1st, 2019 at 11:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)14S E 634335 N 3925763
Decimal Degrees35.46630000, -97.51946667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 27.978', W 97° 31.168'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 27' 58.68" N, 97° 31' 10.08" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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