Friday, August 21, 2009

New Way To Be a Part of the Homesteading Story: KS, ND, NE, OK

The Homestead Act of 1862 gave people an opportunity to own 160 acres of land.

Now, a new program is under way to give people a chance to support the Homestead National Monument of America, a National Parks Service site, with a gift of $160 that will support activities that will continue to tell the homesteading story.

“It will provide a sustaining source of funds for ongoing projects and enhancements,” said Dr. Don Weldon, president of Friends of Homestead. “We want to build partnerships to continue to grow the ways in which we can tell the homesteading story.”

Homestead National Monument, located west of Beatrice, Nebraska, is the only National Park Service site dedicate d to the commemoration and interpretation of the Homestead Act of 1862 and the many changes it initiated in the United States and the world. Ten percent of U.S. land was given away under the Homestead Act, and there is an estimated 93 million homestead descendants alive today.

Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Oklahoma are four of the 30 states where homesteaded land is located. According to Homestead National Monument records:

• There were 89,945 successful homesteading claims in Kansas, responsible for developing 25 percent of the state’s land.

• There were 104,260 successful homesteading claims in Nebraska, responsible for developing 45 percent of the state’s land.

• There were 118,472 successful homesteading claims in North Dakota, responsible for developing 39 percent of the state’s land.

• There were 99,557 successful homesteading claims in Oklahoma, responsible for developing 34 percent of the state’s land.

Anyone interested in becoming a $160 donor (single or couple) will be known as a Homestead Innovation Congress Participant. All gifts of $160 or more provided during 2009 will be known as Charter Participants. Gifts will be recognized on the Levels of Giving Recognition Board at the entrance of the Homestead National Monument Heritage Center.

A recognition dinner is being planned for those participating. Checks should be made to Friends of Homestead and sent to the Friends of Homestead National Monument of America, 8523 West State Highway 4, Beatrice, NE 68310.

Are you a descendant of Homesteaders?

If you are a descendant of Homesteaders, send you name and address along with any family histories to the Friends of Homestead. The Friends of Homestead are collecting the names and addresses of all descendants. This information should be sent to:

Friends of Homestead
8523 West State Highway 4
Beatrice, NE 68310

or email

Homestead National Monument to be Featured on US Quarter in 2015