Homesteading Legacies

Freeman_A,180
First Homesteader, Daniel Freeman

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The Homestead Act became the law of the land on January 1, 1863. it remained in effect until 1976, when the Federal Land Policy and Management Act repealed it (though a ten year extension through 1986 was authorized in Alaska).

Over the entire 124-year history of the Homestead Act, four million people filed for 160-acre parcels of the public domain. Of these four million, more than half were successful, fulfilling all the requirements of the government and earning the title to their property. Every single one of these four million, regardless of success or failure, had a personal story.

Homestead National Monument of America exists today to tell those stories and commemorate the accomplishments and memories of all homesteaders. The Monument is currently involved in a project to identify well-known figures in American history that have or had personal connections to the Homestead Act. Some of those identified thus far include: Willa Cather (author); George Washington Carver (scientist, educator); Virgil Earp (frontier lawman); Jeannette Rankin (first woman elected to congress); Laura Ingalls Wilder (author); and Lawrence Welk (entertainer). Each of these people was touched by the Homestead Act and made significant contributions to the world in which he or she lived. Through a generous grant from the Gage County Foundation, Banners have been produced featuring each of these individuals. The banners hang outside the Education Center at the Monument. Links to the stories of some prominent descendents of homesteaders can be found below. If you are a descendant of someone who filed on a homestead you story is important too, go here to learn more about telling your story.

 
 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Rachel Bella Calof

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Rachel Bella Calof
Yiddish Autobiographer, Homesteader
1876-1952
Devils Lake, North Dakota

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
George Washington Carver

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George Washington Carver
Inventor, Educator, Homesteader
1865(?)-1943
Beeler, Kansas

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Willa Cather

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Willa Cather
Author, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Daughter of Homesteaders
1873-1947
Red Cloud, Nebraska

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Kenneth Deardorff

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Kenneth Deardorff
Farmer, Busness Owner, Carpenter, Fur Trapper,
Vietnam Veteran, Homesteader
1944 -
Stony River, Alaska

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Ivan Doig

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Ivan Doig
Ranch hand, Novelist, Historian, Grandson of Homesteaders
1939-2015
Broadwater County, Montana

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Virgil Earp

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Virgil Earp
Wells Fargo Shotgun Guard,
Deputy Marshall-Shootout at the OK Corral, Homesteader
1844-1905
Prescott, Arizona

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Whoopi Goldberg

NPS

Whoopi Goldberg
Comedian, Actress, Winner of Grammy, Tony, Emmy, and Academy Awards Great-Great-Granddaughter of Homesteaders
1955-
Alachua County Florida

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Amy Heidemann

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Amy Heidemann
Member of the band Karmin, Singer, Songwriter, Musician,
Great-Great Granddaughter of Homesteaders
1986 -
Seward, Nebraska

 
John Hubbell Banner
John Hubbell

NPS

John Hubbell
Trader with the Navajo Indians (Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site), Homesteader
1853-1930
Gando, Arizona

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Chet Huntley

NPS

Chet Huntley
Radio Announcer, Journalist, Newscaster (The Huntley-Brinkley Report,
NBC News), Resort Developer, Son of Homesteaders
1911-1974
Cardwell, Montana

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Jewel Kilcher

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Jewel Kilcher
Musician, Author, Actress, Granddaughter of Homesteaders
1974-
Homer, Alaska

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Thomas Kleppe

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Thomas Kleppe

Mayor, Member of Congress, Director of Small Busness Administration, Secretary of the Interior (Ford Administration), Son of Homesteaders
1919- 2007
Kintyre, North Dakota

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Walter Knott

NPS

Walter Knott
Farmer, Agricultural Developer, Restaurateur, Theme Park Innovator, Homesteader
1889 - 1981
Buena Park, California

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
William McKnight

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William McKnight
Businessman, Industrialist, Head of 3M corporation, Son of Homesteaders
1887 - 1978
White, South Dakota

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Enos Mills

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Enos Mills
Naturalist, Father of Rocky Mountain National Park, Homesteader
1870-1922
Estes Park, Colorado

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Forest Ray Moulton

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Forest Ray Moulton
Astronomer, Mathematician, Son of Homesteaders
1872-1952
LeRoy, Michigan

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Bill Nelson

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Bill Nelson
State Legislator, State Insurance Commissioner,
U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senator, Astronaut, Grandson of Homesteaders
1942-
Brevard County, Florida

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Al Neuharth

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Al Neuharth
Businessman, author, and founder of USA Today, The Freedom Forum, and the Newseum, Grandson of Homesteaders
1924-2013
Eureka, South Dakota

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Tom Osborne

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Tom Osborne
Educator, College Football Coach (University of Nebraska),
U. S. Congressman, Grandson of Homesteaders
1937-
Hastings, Nebraska

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Steve Owen

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Steve Owen
All-Pro Football Player, Professional Football Coach (New York Giants),
Son of Homesteaders
1898-1964
Cleo Springs, Oklahoma

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Jeannette Rankin

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Jeannette Rankin
First Woman Elected to Congress, Peace Advocate,
Daughter of Homesteaders
1880-1973
Missoula, Montana

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Evelyn Sharp

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Evelyn Sharp
Aviator, Pilot for Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) and
Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) in World War II,
Daughter of Homesteaders
1919-1944
Ord, Nebraska

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Wa gi ma wub

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Wa gi ma wub
Boise Forte/Ojibwe Indian Chief, Homesteader
1835-1937
Vermilion Lake, Minnesota

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Lawrence Welk

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Lawrence Welk
Musician, Entertainer, Son of Homesteaders
1903-1992
Strasburg, North Dakota

 
Homestead Legacy Banner highlighting the individual's connection to homesteading.
Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Laura Ingalls Wilder
Author of Little House on the Prairie Series, Daughter of Homesteaders
1867-1957
De Smet, South Dakota

 
Portrait of Charles in front of "Spirit of St. Louis" Plane
Charles Lindbergh

NPS

Charles Lindbergh
Aviator, Grandson of Homesteaders
1902-1974
Detroit, Michigan

Last updated: September 22, 2018

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Beatrice , NE 68310

Phone:

(402) 223-3514

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