The purpose of this section is to give the student access to all primary and secondary resources for Unit 3.1: Homesteading This Dry Land - 1905 to 1920.
"A mass movement, homesteading transformed Montana's social, cultural, and environmental landscape - and for the 82,000 individuals who took up the challenge, it also transformed their own lives. Each homesteading family has its own story full of moments of hope, joy, and hardship. In 1908, 12-year-old Otto Jorgensen came to Montana with his Danish immigrant family. Years later, Jorgensen recalled events from their homesteading days near Dagmar, including the construction of their first house, a 16-foot-by-24-foot soddy" (Montana Historical Society).
"No federal or state aid was available to assist drought victims in the late 1910s and 1920s. Bankrupt and destitute homesteaders turned to the Salvation Army and the Red Cross for help. Unable to aid the thousands of homeless, these agencies argued that drought sufferers were a state concern. Shelby attorney W. M. Black witnessed the disaster and wrote Governor Joseph M. Dixon about its proportions." (Montana Historical Society)
"In 1909[,] Congress enacted the Enlarged Homestead Act. That act, which allowed settlers to claim 320 acres, set off Montana's homestead boom in earnest. Three years later, Congress enacted the Three Year Homestead Law, which greatly expanded settlement of federal lands. The law reduced from five years to three the time necessary to "prove up" a claim and permitted five months' absence from the land each year. For Montana it meant 12,500 homestead entries in the first year alone. Railroads aggressively marketed homesteading along their lines with pamphlets such as this 1917 Milwaukee Road brochure." (Montana Historical Society)