Government Lands in Nebraska ~ 1903

Nebraska has an area of 49,137,280 acres; 39,549,812 acres are classed as appropriated, 606,611 acres are reserved, and 8,989,857 acres are un-appropriated, or subject to homestead entry, called government lands. These un-appropriated lands are located in eight government land districts, designated as follows:

Alliance District
Box Butte County, 48,632 Acres
Cheyenne County, 280,571 Acres
Dawes County, 157,070 Acres
Deuel County, 517,256 Acres
Scotts Bluffs County, 122,565 Acres
Sheridan County 550,031 Acres
Sioux County 874,052 Acres
Total 2,550.177 acres

Broken Bow District
Blaine County, 231,578 Acres
Brown County, 143,745 Acres
Cherry County, 528,247 Acres
Custer County 30,293 Acres
Grant County, 183,398 Acres
Hooker County, 325,349 Acres
Logan County, 142,400 Acres
McPherson County, 278,276 Acres
Thomas County, 252,746 Acres
Total 2,116.032 acres

McCook District
Chase County, 47.467 Acres
Dundy County, 117,548 Acres
Frontier County, 640 Acres
Harlan County, 40 Acres
Hayes County, 17,897 Acres
Hitchcock County, 2,500 Acres
Red Willow County, 400 Acres
Total 186,992 acres

Lincoln District
This district has but a small acreage of
government lands left, there being only
4.625 acres; 3,700 of this is in Greeley
County, 725 in Valley, 120 in Custer,
40 in Sherman, and 40 in Buffalo.
North Platte District
Custer County, 800 Acres
Dawson County, Acres
Keith County, 117,263 Acres
Lincoln County, 179,768 Acres
Logan County, 33,035 Acres
McPherson County, 271.123 Acres
Perkins County, 15,268 Acres
Total 617,377 acres

O'Neill District

Boone County, 4,898 Acres
Boyd County, 20,041 Acres
Brown County, 5,900 Acres
Garfield County 149,920 Acres
Holt County, 101,780 Acres
Keyapaha County, 600 Acres
Knox County, 400 Acres
Loup County, 198,740 Acres
Rock County, 52,120 Acres
Wheeler County, 87,520 Acres
Total 621,919 acres

Sidney District
Banner County, 46.368 Acres
Cheyenne County, 206,496 Acres
Deuel County, 140,625 Acres
Keith County, 11,517 Acres
Kimball County, 109,931 Acres
Scotts Bluffs County, 14,929 Acres
Total 629.866 acres

Valentine District
Brown County, 279,737 Acres
Cherry County, 1,871,458 Acres
Keyapaha County, 36,322 Acres
Rock County, 166,722 Acres
Total 2,354,389 acres

These estimates are the government reports for the year ending June 30, 1903, and are lessened by the homestead entries filed subsequent to this date.

How to Procure These Lands

These lands can be procured only under the homestead law, which requires actual settlement for a period of five years in order to get a free title or patent to the land.

Persons Entitled to Make Homestead Entries

A single man over twenty-one years old; a single woman over twenty-one years old; a married man over twenty-one years old; a married man, the head of a family, if not twenty-one years old.

A married woman has no legal right to make a homestead entry.

A homestead entry may be made for 160 acres or less. The expense of filing a homestead entry is as follows: For 160 acres, $14; 120 acres, $13; 80 acres, $7; 40 acres, $6. It costs to prove up on a homestead, at expiration of the five years: Land office fees, $4 for 160 acres; $3 for 120 acres; $2 for 80 acres; and $1 for 40 acres.

Any person making a homestead entry must, within six months from the filing of the entry, move onto the land and establish a home and remain thereon at least fourteen months, when commutation may be made by proving actual residence and paying to the Receiver of the local Land Office $1.25 per acre for the land filed on. Otherwise a continuous residence of five years is required in order to obtain title.

The greater portion of the government lands remaining unoccupied in Nebraska are best suited to grazing and stock ranching purposes. They are generally improving in quality each year and becoming more resourceful as grazing and hay lands. Opportunities for the man of small capital to start in the raising of livestock on the un-appropriated millions of acres of good grazing lands cannot be excelled in any portion of the globe.

As evidence of the value and utility of these lands we quote a letter under date of October 30, 1903, from the Register of the Land Office at Valentine, Neb.:

"Dear Sir:
This land district embraces most of Brown, Cherry Keya Paha and Rock counties. In Brown County there are approximately 265,000 acres un-appropriated and subject to entry; in Cherry County, 1,750,000 acres; in Keya Paha, 24,000 acres; and in Rock, 155,000 acres.

"During the year ending June 30, 1903, homestead entries were made in this office covering 117,723 acres, and final proof made to 55,105 acres." At present vacant lands can only be entered under the homestead law or by location with scrip, except in case of isolated tracts of less than 160 acres, which may be purchased at public sale under prescribed regulations. I shall not attempt any description of the country or opportunities offered settlers, as you are quite familiar with existing conditions, which were never better, all interests doing well.

J. C. Pettijohn, Register."

Nebraska AHGP

A Condensed History of Nebraska for fifty years to date, Compiled by Geo. W. Hervey, Editor, and Published by Nebraska Farmer Co., Omaha, Nebraska, 1903.

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