The Homestead Act of 1862

A while ago, a friend asked me if I would look for the immigration records of his ancestor, Antoni Tarnowski.  He knew a few details about Antoni, including the fact that he homesteaded in Minnesota.

The Homestead Act was signed into law by Abraham Lincoln in 1862.  Under this Act, 10% of the land of the United States was conveyed to private citizens and settled.  Any head of household who was at least 21 years old could claim a 160 acre parcel.  Homesteaders had to live on the land for five years, build a home, make improvements, and farm the land.  After this period of time, the homesteader could Prove Up and receive a Land Patent.

One source of Land Patents is the Bureau of Land Management – General Land Office Records.  There, I found the Land Patent for Antoni Tarnowski in Minnesota.

Land Patent for Antoni Tarnowski

Land Patent of Antoni Tarnowski

This Land Patent shows that according to Homestead Certificate 1131, Application 1396, Antoni Tarnowski was granted the south half of the south-east quarter and the lots numbered three and four of section seventeen, in township fifty-two north, of range fourteen west of the Fourth Principal Meridian in Minnesota, containing one hundred sixty-five acres and forty-five hundredths of an acre.  The Land Patent was dated 15 January 1884 and includes the names Chester A. Arthur, Wm. H. Crook, and S. W. Clark.

Additionally, the Bureau of Land Management – General Land Office Records website summarizes the Land Patent as follows:

  • Patentee: Antoni Tarnowski
  • State: Minnesota
  • Acres: 165.45
  • Metes/Bounds: No
  • Title Transfer Issue Date: 1/15/1884
  • Land Office: Duluth
  • Cancelled: No
  • U. S. Reservations: No
  • Mineral Reservations: No
  • Authority: May 20, 1862: Homestead Entry Original (12 Stat. 392)
  • Document Nr.: 1131
  • Misc. Doc. Nr.: 1396
  • Accession/Serial Nr.: MN0870__.097
  • BLM Serial Nr.: MN NO S/N

Aliquot  Sec./                           Fract.
Parts     Block Township Range Section     Meridian         State Counties
S1/2SE 17/    52-N       14-W   No  4th PM – 1831 MN/WI MN St Louis
3           17/    52-N       14-W   No  4th PM – 1831 MN/WI MN St Louis
4           17/    52-N       14-W   No  4th PM – 1831 MN/WI MN St Louis

After finding this information, I ordered the entire Land Entry File from the National Archives.  I had to first order the form to request the Land Entry File, and when the form arrived a few days later, I filled out the form and sent it in with the appropriate fee.  The Land Entry File arrived a few weeks later. The file contained thirteen documents, the first three of which were issued in 1877: the Application, Affidavit, and Receipt.

Tarnowski Homestead Application

Homestead Application of Antoni Tarnowski

The Application (Number 1896) was filed on June 12, 1877 at the Land Office in Duluth, Minnesota, showing that the location of Antoni’s 165.45 acres was the S1/2 of the SE 1/4 and Lots 3 & 4 of Section 17 in Township 52N of Range 14W.

The Homestead Affidavit of Antoni Tarnowski

Homestead Affidavit of Antoni Tarnowski

The Affidavit was made on June 12, 1877 at the Land Office in Duluth, Minnesota, and in it Antoni states that he had declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States, that he was married, and that he was over the age of 21 years.

Homestead Receipt for Antoni Tarnowski

Homestead Receipt of Antoni Tarnowski

The Receipt shows that Antoni paid $14.00 to file the Application and the Affidavit under the Homestead Act, which included a filing fee to claim the land temporarily and a commission for the land agent.

Tomorrow: Antoni proves his claim.

See also:

Copyright © 2006 by Stephen J. Danko

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One Response to The Homestead Act of 1862

  1. tony robinson says:

    I have an original Homestead Act document in my possession (Certificate #2932, Application #1671). And, by chance, I found your web site. My document was signed by Chester A. Arthur and I couldn’t identify the name of the Recorder of the General Land Office until now; being S.W. Clark. And, the Secretary’s name is M McKeean. Thanks!

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