Curtis Wong Concordia 5th Chapter 5.

3 Key Terms Homesteaders – Settlers on the free land made available by the Homestead Act. Soddy – A home built of blocks of turf. Morrill Land Grant Acts – Gave federal land to the states to help finance agricultural colleges. Bonanza farms – Enormous single crop spreads of 10,000 acres or more. Summary A – Settlers Flock Westward to Farm) Federal Government made huge land grants to railroads, 170 million acres, worth half a billion dollars, for laying track in the West. For one grant, the Union and Central Pacific received 10 square miles of public land for every mile of track laid in a territory. The two companies, Union and Central Pacific, began a race to lay the track. The Central Pacific moved eastwards from Sacramento while the Union Pacfic moved westward from Omaha. They hired Civil War veterans as well as immigrants, and citizens to do the labor. During the winter of 1868, workers laid about eight miles of track a day. Both the companies hit Utah by the spring of 1869. The country boasted four transcontinental railroads fifteen years later. Some companies sold their land for 2-10 dollars an acre. Some companies even hired agents to goto Europe to find buyers. That caused many immigrants to come, as many Europeans came hoping to escape wars and overpopulation plus economic issues. Many land has been claimed, and there was even a major land giveaway in Oklahoma of 1889. In less than, 2million acres of land has been claimed by land hungry settlers. B – Settlers Meet the Challenges of the Plains Before the farmers could prepare their land for farming, they first had to provide shelter for themselves. Most settlers built their homes on the land itself. Many pioneers dug their homes into the sides of ravines or small hills. The ones who moved to the flat plains, usually made freestanding houses by stacking blocks made of prairie turf. The women of the families did most of the work of feeding and clothing their families. They usually worked beside the men in the fields, plowing the land and planting and harvesting the predominant crop, wheat. They raised cows, hogs, sheep, chickens and children. They milked the cows, skimmed cream, churned butter. They sheared the sheep, carded wool, and sewed or knit clothes for their families. They hauled water from wells that they had helped to dig, made soap and candles from tallow, did grain, baked bread, and cooked meals over an open fire. They also sponsored schools and churches in an effort to provide for a future. Many new devices came up for farming, which made it a lot more easier to make money cause it makes more grain available. Machinery was expensive, and farmers often needed to borrow money to buy them. Farmers could usually pay back the loans, and give back what is borrowed, but sometimes if the value of wheat fell, they would need to make or produce enough wheat to support it. If not, they lose their money and can’t pay for their loans, which makes them lose their land to the farmers. By 1900s, the average farmer had nearly 150 acres under cultivation. Some farmers mortgaged their land to buy more property, which meant more debts. And between 1885 to 1890, the plains experienced drought. The farmers grew as many grain as possible for their land, and had tons of debt they couldn’t pay. Reflection In this section, I was wondering what life in the agricultural field was like, till i realized how bad it sucked being in the position of debt. I was amazed at how Oklahoma increased their population by basically giving out land. It attracted many immigrants, and i was wondering if it was illegal for them to come here at that time. I still don’t know how big an acre is, I’m thinking its about a third of a football field, but damn, 2 million acres given away in 24 hours.