Cedar Valley Realtor

Post-Civil War Period

In 1866 the federal government forced the tribes into new Reconstruction Treaties. It was also during this time the policy of the Federal government changed from Indian Removal to one of assimilation. Most of the land in central and western Indian Territory was ceded to the government. Some of the land was given to other tribes, but the central part, the so-called Unassigned Lands, remained with the government. Another concession allowed railroads to cross Indian lands. Furthermore the practice of slavery was outlawed. Some nations were integrated racially and otherwise with their slaves, but other nations were extremely hostile to the former slaves and wanted them exiled from their territory. In the 1870s, a movement began by whites and blacks wanting to settle the government lands in the Indian Territory under the Homestead Act of 1862. They referred to the Unassigned Lands as Oklahoma and to themselves as Boomers. In the 1880s, early settlers of the state's very sparsely populated Panhandle region tried to form the Cimarron Territory but lost a lawsuit against the federal government. This prompted a judge in Paris, Texas, to unintentionally create a moniker for the area. "That is land that can be owned by no man," the judge said, and after that the panhandle was referred to as No Man's Land until statehood arrived decades later. In 1884, in United States v. Payne, the United States District Court in Topeka, Kansas, ruled that settling on the lands ceded to the government by the Indians under the 1866 treaties was not a crime. The government at first resisted, but Congress soon enacted laws authorizing settlement. Congress passed the Dawes Act, or General Allotment Act, in 1887 requiring the government to negotiate agreements with the tribes to divide Indian lands into individual holdings. Under the allotment system, tribal land left over would be surveyed for settlement by non-Indians. Following settlement, many whites accused Republican officials of giving preferential treatment to ex-slaves in land disputes. The Homestead Acts were several United States federal laws that gave an applicant ownership of land, typically called a "homestead", at little or no cost. In the United States, this originally consisted of grants totaling 160 acres (65 hectares, or one-fourth of a section) of unappropriated federal land within the boundaries of the public land states. An extension of the Homestead Principle in law, the United States Homestead Acts were initially proposed as an expression of the "Free Soil" policy of Northerners who wanted individual farmers to own and operate their own farms, as opposed to Southern slave-owners who could use groups of slaves to economic advantage. The first of the acts, the Homestead Act of 1862, was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862. Anyone who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government (including freed slaves and women); was 21 or older, or the head of a family; could file an application to claim a federal land grant. There was also a residency requirement. The Southern Homestead Act of 1866 sought to address land ownership inequalities in the south during reconstruction. The Timber Culture Act granted land to a claimant who promised to plant trees. The tract could be added to an existing homestead claim and had no residency requirement. The Kincaid Amendment granted a full section (640 acres) to homesteaders in western Nebraska. An amendment to the Homestead Act of 1862, the Enlarged Homestead Act, was passed in 1909 and increased the allotted acreage to 320. Another amended act, the Stock-Raising Homestead Act, was passed in 1916 and again increased the land involved, this time to 640 acres.