When the Territory of Kansas was created in 1854, its boundary was set at the 38th Parallel. When Texas, a slave state, came into the Union in 1845, it would not extend its sovereignty over any territory north of 36 degree 30' because such territory would be free - as specified by the Missouri Compromise. This left a narrow strip of land 34 miles wide between Kansas and Texas, extending from the 100th Meridian on the east to the 103rd Meridian on the west... a total of 168 miles in length. At the eastern end of the area was the Cherokee Strip and at the western end was the Territory of New Mexico. As the area was claimed by no state, it soon became known as "No Man's Land". Jim Lane, a freighter on the Santa Fe Trail, is credited with being the first permanent settler along the Beaver River in 1879, where he established a supply store. In the mid-1880s a considerable number of settlers came into "No Man's Land". Many left heavily mortgaged farm lands in western Kansas and became "squatters" in what was to become the Oklahoma Panhandle. These settlers were not long in realizing the necessity for law and order. Several townsites were organized; trade centers and villages began to spring up. Judges and law enforcment officers were selected. Although these settlers could not receive legal title to the land on which they settled, precedent in other territorial regions indicated the federal government would - in time - recognize "squatters rights".
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