Lesson Plan

Freeing the Elwha (Neighbors Along the Elwha River)

Will and Grant Humes with Orlin Budick at Humes Ranch in 1905.

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Grade Level:
Sixth Grade-Eighth Grade
Civic Engagement, Community, Geography, Government, History, Immigration, Political Science, Public Policy, Social Studies, Westward Expansion
One to Two Class Periods
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
Washington State Standards:
Social Studies:
EALR 1: CIVICS, Component 1.2:


Who were the people that homesteaded along the Elwha?  How and what can we find out about their lives?


  • Identify the purpose of the Homestead Act;
  • Decide what was needed to move west during the 1800s;
  • Describe the day-to-day life of homesteaders;
  • Explore who moved onto the Olympic peninsula;
  • Develop a time line for events and developments along the Elwha River and Port Angeles, WA.


After reading an article explaining the use of Township and Range to identify land parcels, students will look at two specific townships along the lower Elwha River. The teacher will assign each student a name to research on the BLM website and find information about homesteads. The student place the homesteader's name on n individual Clallam County map, the teacher and students will fill in a large class map to show all the homesteaders in each section of Township 30N and 31N, Range 7W. Students will write a journal entry on the additional name they selected to research on the website. The paragraph will include who they selected, why they selected that name and what information they found. If they were successful in finding another homesteader the journal entry should include where the homestead was located.

  • Aliquot: an equally divided part. A section could be divided into fourths, then the fourth was divided again into fourths until less than an acre became a lot.
  • Base Line: The horizontal line where the survey began.
  • Meridian: The vertical line where the survey began. Washington and Oregon are on the Willamette Meridian.
  • Range: The measure of township squares east or west of the meridian.
  • Section: A square mile numbered between 1 and 36 containing 640 acres.
  • Township: A six by six mile square containing 23,040 acres divided into 36 sections. Also used for the measure of township squares north or south of the base line.


  • Computer access to the internet
  • Article: An Explanation of Township and Range
  • Maps
  • Clallam County Township and Range
  • Clallam County T30N and R7W Section blank
  • Clallam County T30N and R7W Section teacher master
  • Graphic Organizer: "Land Patents"
  • Graphic Organizer "Land Patents" teacher master
  • Journal



  • Completion of graphic organizer with all information about the assigned homesteader and one additional name.
  • The records from the BLM site are used by researchers today to find family information and real estate information. Students may also write in their journals about the additional information they found.
  • Completion of section map (keep for future lessons).


Base Line

Last updated: February 28, 2015