On this date back in 1862, the Homestead Act was passed by the Union Congress. Since the Civil War was going on, the Southern States were not the least bit happy about the Union giving away small parcels of land. They were 160 acre parcels and any adult over the age of 21 could be eligible. All they had to do was cultivate the land and build something permanent on it like a house or a barn. Then after living on the parcel for five years, the land could become legally theirs by paying a ten dollar filing fee. The South just figured that it was a sneaky plan to get the West's support for the union.
This was not a new idea and a variety of plans were proposed during the 1800's. None of these plans were very successful, including this one. By 1890, only about three percent of the government land west of the Mississippi had been given away. This land give-a-way was really not very effective. What really opened up the West and making vacant lands productive was liberal mining laws and grants to the railroads so they could lay tracks and that in turn, gave ease of access to the area.
Another beautiful day here and I hope it is also a beautiful day where you are. Now, regardless of the weather, you all have a great day, you hear?