His signature on the Final Affidavit Required of Homestead Claimants
The fact that he had a homestead was not so unusual. The website for the Homestead National Monument in Nebraska states that 10% of United States land was homesteaded, 4 million claims were made and almost 90,000 homesteads in just Kansas. The Bureau of Land Management General Land Office website gives the following description of a Homestead.
1862 Homestead Act. Allowed settlement of public lands and required only residence and improvement and cultivation of the land. Any person, a citizen or person intending to become a citizen, 21 years of age or older, and the head of a household could make application. With five years residence and improvements/cultivation, only a $15.00 fee was required to get 160 acres. Repealed in 1976.
I was able to use the BLM GLO website and search for information about him. I entered the state: Kansas, and then the county: Sherman and then his name: Nathan Albertson and I was able to get the basic information about the claim, including a map down to the section level. (I did discover that if I misspelled his name they couldn't find him.) It was 160 acres, the southwest 1/4 of section 9, township 10 south and range 41 west. It was about 10 miles southwest of the town of Goodland.
But it was much more interesting to read the case file, which I ordered from the National Archives a number of years ago. I discovered that he paid $14.00 on 29 Sep 1886 for his original claim at the Land Office in Wa-Keeney, Kansas. It was the next spring, 9 Mar 1887, when he had a house there and actually took up residence.
On his proof statement 10 Mar 1893, he described the improvements that had been made: frame house 8 X 16, sod house 13 x 24 plus sod addition 12 x 16 (inside), frame barn 16 x 24, sod stable 18 x 100, well 69 ft, 10 ft water, windmill, 70 acres under fence and 90 acres under cultivation. In the six growing seasons cultivated acreage was: 1887 - 20 acres; 1888 - 35 acres; 1889 - 45 acres; 1890 - 45 acres; 1891 - 45 acres; 1892 - 90 acres. He described the land as prairie, 1st rate, most valuable for farming, no indication of minerals, so more valuable for agricultural purposes.
When asked about who was in his family, he stated his wife and 3 children. He didn't mention the fact that his oldest (only) daughter had married in 1891, so was no longer living with the family. He also didn't mention that his wife was seven months pregnant and their fourth son would be born in May of 1893. This accounts for all five of his children.