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Head To The Homestead

Back in the “Old days”, homesteading consisted of trying to live & maintain on 160 acres of FREE land for a 5 year period under what was known as the “Homestead Act.” This was followed by a “Relief Act” which reduced the residency to only 3 years. The Homestead Act was established back in 1862, & in 1909, the Act was increased from the initial 160 acres to 320 acres as the arid land was not adequate to make a living with only 160 acres. This was monumental as it doubled the homesteader’s acreage! From January 1908 to December 1910, the Land Office down in Great Falls had some 9600 filings! Not all of our Montana land was open to homesteading at this point in time however. In July of 1911, the local newspapers reported that some 3235 farmers filed Homesteads in Choteau County for the past fiscal year. I should point out that Choteau County at the time included Hill, Blain & Liberty Counties within it’s boundaries. As one old time farmer told me when I was a kid, “It wasn’t much but we called it home.”

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