|Nils Nilsson or Nels Nelson, Verona area pioneer and on of|
four homesteaders studied in Ken Nelson's research.
Early advocates of the homestead were the “free soilers” who even had a short-lived, single-issue political party called the Free Soil Party centered in New York State. They saw the homestead in the west as a mechanism to halt the spread of slavery into the new states in the west. And although the 1960 act made it through congress there was still strong opposition by Southern Congressmen. Buchanan feared that such a divisive act would further drive the south toward secession.
|Carl Johan Johannesson or Charley |
Johnson, homesteader northwest of
|This 1962 postage stamp commemorated the centennial of|
the Homestead Act
|Nels Nelson's final official certificate in the series|
of required documents needed to secure his
homestead. The detailed story of the process is
located in the "PAGES" section of this blog.
Adolph Aspegren’s homestead application was just west of Saronville in Section 2 of Lewis Township.
Ken’s description of the homestead process is a 24 page document. Much as I’d like to share it with you today, Jarod does not do single-subject issues of Sutton Life Magazine. Ken and I will post a version of his research product on the Sutton Historical Society blog at suttonhistoricalsociety.blogspot.com
|This stone monument commemorating the first|
registered claim under the Timber Culture Act
of 1873 is located near Edgar, Nebraska. Photo
is from the Clay County Atlas of 1963 compiled
by Midwest Atlas Co., Fremont, Nebraska
The Homestead Act was repealed in 1976 with an extension for Alaska. The last homestead was an 80 acre claim in southeastern Alaska in 1988.
Were there problems? Of course. The drafters of the legislation stipulated that a dwelling of at least 12 X 14 would be built. They neglected to define the units of measurement opening the doors from some to claim that their 12 inch by 14 inch structure met that requirement. Phony claimants could be hired and people bought abandoned property. Land Offices were underfunded and understaffed, wages were low making enforcement tough and investigators were targets for bribery. Conditions were harsh where most homesteads were filed and only about 40% were eventually proved up.
But still, 1.6 million applications were processed for more than 270 million acres or about one tenth of the country.
This article first appeared in the July, 2013 issue of Sutton Life Magazine. Contact Jarod Griess at 402-984-4302 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about his publication.