On May 20, 1862 President Abraham Lincoln passed the Homestead Act. This law allowed any U.S. citizen, or future citizen, to apply for and lay claim to 160 acres of surveyed government land. First, they had to file an application, pay a small fee, improve the land, and file for the deed of title. In the first five years, the homesteader had to live on the land and make improvements by building a 12 by 14 dwelling and by growing crops. When the five years was up they had to show proof of the improvements and could then file for the land patent (now called deed of title).
This act brought more Mexicans to the Santa Monica Mountain area. Many families had already moved to the area when travelers brought news back to Mexico of how well the Missions and their cattle were doing due to the large pasture areas, fresh drinking water, and fertile soil. Spaniard colonists had been struggling to raise their cattle on the rocky landscape of Mexico, which brought the initial wave of people to the Santa Monica Mountains area. It also brought many other people from various cultural backgrounds and provided a polyglot mixture of homesteaders during this time.