[Homestead] Homesteading, early days
genegerue at ruralize.com
Tue Dec 7 17:03:28 EST 2004
Here's an excerpt from an interesting site at:
By 1900, homesteaders had filed 600,000 claims for 80 million acres. Most
pioneers settled in the Western Plains states. Experienced farm workers
from other states or Europe, they abandoned family and community ties for
the isolation of pioneer life gambling that conditions would favor
prosperity. Louise Lane Trace was 16 when her family arrived in Nebraska.
After navigating a series of disasters, they reached their homestead in the
spring of 1866. Over seventy years later, WPA interviewer George Wartman
recorded Mrs. Trace's memories of that difficult time:
Mr. Lane had arrived at his homestead with 30 head of cattle and
several horses. He put out sod corn which gave all indication of being a
wonderful crop, but the grasshoppers took the entire crop. There was an
abundance of wild grass, but no way to harvest it. After winter set in with
no feed for the stock they commenced to suffer. The horses became so weak
from starvation [that?] they were not fit for traveling so Mr. Lane would
walk 15 miles to what they called the "Dutch Settlement" and now known as
Swanton, pay $2.00 per bushel for corn and carry a sack full on his
shoulder making a thirty mile
trip for one sack.
"Mrs. Wm. Trace," Lincoln, Nebraska, November 29, 1938.
More information about the Homestead