Part 2: In a Nutshell

  • President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, which took effect on January 1, 1863.
  • The Homestead Act gave a quarter section of land free to people who could meet certain conditions.
  • A quarter section, or 160 acres, is a square of land measuring ½ mile on each side.
  • Requirements for a homesteader included being at least 21 years of age or the head of a family, being a U.S. citizen or promising to become one, raising crops on part of the land, building a home, having access to water, and living on the homestead for five years.
  • The Timber Culture Act, or tree claim, allowed a person to get a quarter section of land free if he or she planted 10 acres of it with trees.
  • The Pre-emption Act allowed people living on government land to buy the land at a cheap price.
  • Joseph (Jolly Joe) Rolette led the first homestead claim in northern Dakota in the area where Alexander Henry had built Fort Pembina 67 years earlier.
  • The Northern Pacific Railroad had millions of acres of land to sell in North Dakota.
  • Bonanza farms were gigantic wheat farms ranging in size from 3,000 to over 75,000 acres in northern Dakota.
  • In 1874, George Cass, president of the Northern Pacific Railroad, helped establish the first bonanza farm in the Red River Valley.
  • Oliver Dalrymple, who started out as a bonanza farm manager, became one of the largest bonanza farm owners in the Red River Valley.
  • The Grandin Farm had the first telephones in North Dakota and owned steamboats to ship its wheat on the Red River.
  • John Miller, North Dakota’s first governor, was an owner of the Dwight Farm.
  • The buildings on the Bagg Farm in Richland County have been restored as a tourist attraction.
  • By 1900, most of the bonanza farms were being split up and sold to settlers.
  • The land in eastern North Dakota is good for farming; the land in western North Dakota is good for ranching.
  • Promoters of settlement in the western part of the state called the Badlands “Pyramid Park.”
  • Cattle from Texas were brought to northern Dakota to be fattened for market.
  • Cattle kept on the open range were branded for identification.
  • Semi-annual roundups were held to brand calves and ship cattle to market.
  • Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, owned two ranches in the Badlands.
  • The Marquis de Morès founded the town of Medora, named in honor of his wife.
  • The devastating winter of 1886–87 marked the end of the cattle bonanzas in northern Dakota.
  • The Little Missouri Horse Ranch, or the HT Ranch owned by A.C. Huidekoper, was the largest horse ranch ever to operate in North Dakota.
  • Both the bonanza farms and the cattle bonanzas had proven that the land in North Dakota was productive and could provide a means of support.
  • The Great Dakota Boom occurred between 1878 and 1886, when over 100,000 settlers moved into the eastern two-thirds of the state.
  • A second population boom occurred between 1889 and 1915; the peak year for homesteading was 1908.
  • The two major factors that accounted for the settlement of North Dakota were the Homestead Act and the construction of railroads.
  • The Round House was a two-story circular house in Wells County, used to entertain eastern land buyers.
  • Scandinavians are people from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland.
  • The Scandinavian immigrants were literate and valued education.
  • Norwegians made up the largest group of immigrants who settled in North Dakota.
  • Norwegians first settled the Red River Valley and then the other river valleys of the state.
  • By the time North Dakota became a state, the northeastern corner had the largest Icelandic population in the United States.
  • German immigrants tended to come to North Dakota in colonies.
  • Anton Klaus was so involved in promoting Jamestown that he was called the “Father of Jamestown.”
  • German-Russians, or Germans from Russia, were the second-largest group of immigrants who settled in North Dakota.
  • German-Russians were Germans whose ancestors had moved to Russia in the late 1700s.
  • John Wishek did so much for the German-Russians in the south-central part of the state that he was called “Father Wishek.”
  • The German-Russians were noted for their strong work ethic.
  • The British Isles includes the nations of Great Britain and Ireland; Great Britain consists of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
  • Queen Victoria’s maid, Marie Downing, homesteaded near Rolla.
  • The earliest non-Indian people to settle in North Dakota were French trappers and traders from Canada.
  • Bohemians, who were noted for their love of music, were also called Czechs.
  • Many Ukrainian immigrants moved to North Dakota to get away from unfavorable living conditions in Ukraine.
  • Arab-Americans consisted of immigrants from Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and other Middle Eastern countries.