The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed US citizens to become the owner, free of charge, of 160 acres of US Government land. To become owner was a three step process; file an application, improve the land and file for a deed or title. Before applying, the homesteaders were required to live five years on the land, improve the land by establishing a building and grow crops. My Great grandfather, James Jefferson ‘Jeff” Burnett did just that.
Jeff Burnett filed a homestead claim in 1889, which is recorded in the National Archives, in Washington DC. There are several interesting documents which were included with the homestead application. One such document is the “Homestead Proof – Testimony of Claimant” which can be found below. In this document Jeff Burnett tells that there has been a house located on the land for about 10 years and he has established residence for 8 years. The testimony goes on to confirm there was a barn and stable, fowl house, smoke house, garden, orchard, fencing and a well.
Although the land was free, there were some filing fees which accounted to $16.54 or about 10 cents per acre. You can read more about the Jeff Burnett land holdings here; http://burnettmusings.blogspot.com/2015/02/james-jefferson-burnett-land-holdings.html.
More about James Jefferson Burnett can be found here; http://burnettmusings.blogspot.com/2014/11/james-jefferson-burnett-tenth-child-of.html.
Homestead Proof – Testimony of Claimant, Land Entry Files, Louisiana, New Orleans Land Office, Homestead Final Certificate # 6,290.
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