Calif. Families Sikes Jonathan Sikes Ranch Homestead Certificate Contact

Larger Version
Note the signature is by Grant's secretary.

In 1869 Jonathan Sikes established a homestead on a quarter section (152 acres *) of land under the Homestead Act of 1862. It was located in the Tremont District, of Solano Co. just south of Davis, Yolo Co. .

The 1862 Homestead Act, which became law on Jan. 1, 1863 required a three-step procedure: file an application, improve the land, and file for the patent (deed). It allowed anyone to file for a quarter-section of free land (160 acres *). The land was yours at the end of five years if you had proof of settlement and cultivation and filed a preŽmption claim.

The preŽmption act required building a house, digging a well, breaking (plowing) 10 acres, fencing a specified amount, and actually living there.

He got a patent (deed) in 1873 as recorded on the back of the certificate (at right). (Regional land offices had some leeway in interpreting the law and he got his patent after 4 years.)

A National Park Service article says, "Even if a homesteader did find a promising homestead location, he faced substantial expense in his gamble to acquire it. Building a house, digging a well, constructing a fence, purchasing seed grain, and acquiring draft animals and farm implements cost far more than did land itself." built a house on it, dug a well, broken (plowed) 10 acres, fenced a specified amount, and actually lived there. In 1976 it expired in all the states but Alaska, where it ended in 1986.

* Normally a quarter section is 160 acres (one half mile by one half mile), but because of a surveying error when the the section markers were originally layed out by the government, sections in this area are slightly smaller.

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last updated 6 May 2001