Malinda Thomasina McCandless (1876-1969)

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Malinda Thomasina McCandless Baird
Malinda in Her Older Years.jpg
Born: 15 February 1876 of South Haven, Kansas
Died: 9 October 1969 Safford, Arizona
Father: Charles Robert McCandless
Mother: Martha Dodson
Siblings: Frances Ann McCandless
Magdala Margaret McCandless
Helen Forrest McCandless
Mary Elizabeth McCandless
Malinda Thomasina McCandless
Thomas M. McCandless
Nena Patsy McCandless
Charles Franklin McCandless
Catherine Berriman McCandless
Spouse: Robert Eccles Baird
Married: 12 August 1913 Long Beach, California
Children: Walter Forest Baird
Thomas Howard Baird
Margaret Lois Baird
“The Life Story of Charles Robert McCandless”
By his daughter, Malinda Thomasina McCandless
With notes [in brackets] added by her Grandson, Gerald H Curtis

Running for Claims

[Note: When Grandma was about fifteen, she and her family witnessed one of the famous “land runs” for staking homestead claims in the Oklahoma Indian Territory just to the south of them. On 2 March, 1889 Congress had passed the Indian Appropriations Bill, proclaiming that unassigned lands were part of the public domain. This was the first step toward the famous Oklahoma Land Rush. The government laid out the unassigned lands in 160-acre homesteads, and on 22 April 1889, it was opened to white settlement in the “run” for claiming farms or town lots. Almost three million acres were made available. This first of five runs has become one of the most dramatized episodes in western history.

People by the tens of thousands gathered at the borders, waiting for the starting signal at noon. Government buglers were stationed at intervals around the perimeters to be opened and sounded the start at noon. The settlers then rode frantically on wagons and horses, to secure the best parcels of land before anyone else could.

It was the fourth run, on 16 September 1893, that originated on the southern border of Kansas, which Malinda and her family could have observed from their farm. This was the largest of the five runs, with about 100,000 people attempting to run for claims. The result of this run was the settlement and formation of seven Oklahoma counties just to the south of where the McCandless family farmed, including the two immediately bordering Sumner county in Kansas, where they lived: Grant and Kay counties.]

The following is her description of that event:

"Sometime about 1890, the Indian Territory was opened up for settlement. People who wanted free land had to “run” to make their claims. The road [to the] East [of our farm] made a gradual rise, giving us a wonderful view of all wagons, covered wagons, buggies, carts and horseback riders. The people were lined up as far as you could see. [In a second version of this account, she stated: "On the main highway where we stood, it was a gradual upward slope as far as we could see."]

"When the guns were fired at twelve noon, it seemed like the earth was moving when they all started. That mass of moving wagons, buggies and horseback riders was the most thrilling sight I ever saw. This is something that when seen, will never be forgotten, and never happen again.

"My father and sisters made the run, but when they arrived at the farm which my father had selected while herding his cattle, he found a house had been built and people living there. They were what was called “sooners” and had no right to the place. It would have taken court proceedings to get them off and father did not have the means to do that." [For more information on these “land runs,” see ]


  • 1880 Federal Census, South Haven, Sumner, Kansas:
McCandless, Charles
, Dolly, daughter, single, female, white, 4, KS