Thursday, December 29, 2016

Today In Wyoming's History: December 29, 1916. Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 becomes law.

Today In Wyoming's History: December 29:

Abandoned post Wold War One Stock Raising Homestead Act homestead.

1916  The Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 becomes law.  It  allowed for 640 acres for ranching purposes, but severed the surface ownership from the mineral ownership, which remained in the hands of the United States.

The Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 recognized the reality of  Western homesteading which was that smaller parcels of property were not sufficient for Western agricultural conditions.  It was not the only  such homestead act, however, and other acts likewise provided larger  parcels than the original act, whose anniversary is rapidly coming up.   The act also recognized that homesteading not only remained popular, but the 1916 act came in the decade that would see the greatest number of  homesteads filed nationally.

Perhaps most significant, in some ways, was that the 1916 act also  recognized the split estate, which showed that the United States was  interested in being the mineral interest owner henceforth, a change from prior policies.  1916 was also a boom year in oil and gas production,  due to World War One, and the US was effectively keeping an interest in  that production.  The split estate remains a major feature of western  mineral law today.

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