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Posts Tagged ‘Subsistence Homesteads’

Settlers were enabled to acquire more free land by the Timber Culture Act signed into law in 1873. This law granted up to 160 acres to any homesteader who planted forty acres of trees during an eight-year period after filing. It was possible to file this claim on land adjacent to the original homestead claim for this purpose. The homesteader could thus eventually claim title to 360 acres.

John Wesley Powell, the famous surveyor, explorer and friend to Native Americans, established the 10thmeridian that bisects the present state of Nebraska. He is, perhaps, most famous and most remembered for leading the first expedition to run the untamed Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, in wooden boats. In Nebraska the 100thmeridian runs north/south, bisecting Blaine county and separating the western one-fourth of Custer county from its eastern portion. The 100thmeridian also marks the eastern limits limit of the Sand Hills. The Kinkaid Act, passed into law in 1904 opened the Sand Hills to homesteaders who were able to claim one section of land, a square mile, 640 acres. Five years later (1909) the Enlarged Homestead Act was passed enabling homesteaders who settled on marginal lands, those that could not be readily irrigated (dry land farming), to file on 320 acres rather than the previous 160.

The New Deal constituted a number of laws passed in the 1930’s and championed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. They were designed to provide for a population impoverished by the Great Depression. One of the laws passed during this program created the Subsistence Homestead Division adding this form of welfare to the array.

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