Calif. Families Sikes Homestead Cert. Homestead Act PreŽmption Act Contact
The Preemption Act, statute was passed (1841) by the U.S. Congress in response to the demands of the Western states that squatters be allowed to preempt lands. Pioneers often settled on public lands before they could be surveyed and auctioned by the U.S. government.

I could not find a copy of the actual act. One article on the Homestead Act said:

"You qualified for the land if you had built a house on it, dug a well, broken (plowed) 10 acres, fenced a specified amount, and actually lived there."
However, that language does not appear in the Homestead Act; It only says you need to have "filed a preŽmption claim" or paid $1.25 or less per acre.

There was a messge from Jim Oberly, History Dept., U of Wisc-Eau Claire" JOBERLY@CNSVAX.UWEC.EDU on a H Net message board which states:

"The General Land Office let its local land office personnel decide how to design the proof statement form. Some offices required a lot of information (to the benefit of us today) and others required a bare minimum. There is a reproduction of what a proof statement looked like in Figure 13 of my _Sixty Million Acres_ "

See Also:
Paul Gates' 1968 _History of Public Land Law Development_ (Washington: Government Printing Office).

last updated 7 May 2001