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.