The Homestead Act
May 20, 1862
AN ACT to secure homesteads to actual settlers on the public domain. Be it
enacted, That any person who is the head of a family, or who has arrived at the
age of twenty-one years, and is a citizen of the United States, or who shall
have filed his declaration of intention to become such, as required by the
naturalization laws of the United States, and who has never borne arms against
the United States Government or given aid and comfort to its enemies, shall,
from and after the first of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, be
entitled to enter one quarter-section or a less quantity of unappropriated
public lands, upon which said person may have filed a pre-emption claim. . . .
Provided, that any person owning or residing on land may, under the provision
of the act, enter other land lying contiguous to his or her said land, which
shall not, with the land already owned and occupied, exceed in the aggregate
one hundred and sixty acres.
Source: United States. Statutes at Large, Vol. XII, 1862, pp.392-394 (12