Homestead Act – May 20, 1862 – Daniel Freeman 1st Homesteader

Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act on May 20, 1862. It would take effect on January 1, 1863. The first homesteader to take “the required oath and [be] given the documents which made him possessor of 160 acres of land” was Daniel Freeman (1826-1908).

Daniel Freeman was born April 26, 1826 in Lewisburg, Preble County, Ohio. The son of Samuel and Phebe (Willis) Freeman.

This image of Daniel Freeman is from the Omaha (NE) Sunday World Herald 26 June 1899.

According to that newspaper he and his family moved from Ohio to Illinois when he was 9 years old. In time he enlisted in “Company H of the Seventeenth Illinois Volunteers” and was stationed in Nebraska.

Freeman “had been ordered to return to St. Louis” and would not be in town when the land record office would open on January 2nd but the Recorder of Deeds James Bedford agreed to accommodate Freeman’s situation and made an exception and administered the oath at midnight the morning of January 1st so that he could leave to report in St. Louis.

Freeman wouldn’t return to build on his land until 1865. He literally married the “girl next door” – Agnes Suiter (1843-1931) – and they built their lives together there in Brownsville, Nebraska.

The Kansas City (MO) Times 26 May 1920 carried an image of the old homestead.

What a great day for genealogists. GenealogyBank is packed with newspaper articles and historical documents – over 227 Million of them that document and give the details of our ancestor’s lives.

It’s great to have the details and the actual images of our ancestors and their homes. Who knew it would be this easy to find them after all these years.

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GenealogyBank Adds Over 4 Million Records & Documents

GenealogyBank announced today that over 4 million historical newspapers records and documents from 24 States have been added to its database.

This constantly growing collection now features over 221 million family history records – I estimate that to contain over 1.3 Billion names.

You can search GenealogyBank for free and see a small slice of every record for your ancestors but you must join GenealogyBank to view the complete documents – 30 day trial memberships are available for only $9.95.

Here’s what’s new on the site:
Alaska
Juneau. Daily Alaska Dispatch. 5/1/1917 to 8/31/1917

Alabama
Montgomery. Montgomery Advertiser. 10/1/1912 to 12/31/1912

California
Anderson Valley Post. 5/3/2006 to Current

Connecticut
Bridgeport. Republican Farmer. 1/5/1814 to 12/20/1815

Georgia
Cordele. Cordele Dispatch. 11/14/2007 to Current
Savannah. Savannah Tribune. 12/4/1875 to 12/27/1913

Illinois
Danville. Commercial News. 11/6/2007 to Current

Massachusetts
Boston. Boston Journal. 7/1/1880 to 10/6/1917
Boston. Daily Atlas. 7/1/1841 to 4/11/1857
Lowell. Lowell Daily Citizen and News. 3/21/1857 to 1/24/1879
Springfield. Springfield Republican. 5/17/1900 to 11/15/1910
Worcester. Worcester Daily Spy. 7/6/1903 to 9/22/1903

Maryland
Baltimore. Baltimore American. 9/1/1917 to 12/31/1922
Baltimore Sun. 7/1/1847 to 1/3/1848

Maine
Portland. Portland Daily Advertiser. 1/1/1863 to 6/30/1863


Minnesota
St. Paul. St. Paul Daily Pioneer. 9/23/1854 to 4/12/1855

Missouri
Hannibal. Missouri Courier. 1/18/1849 to 2/17/1853
St. Louis. St. Louis Republic. 10/1/1889 to 4/30/1900

Montana
Anaconda. Anaconda Standard. 1/2/1898 to 4/30/1915

Nevada
Ely. Ely Times. 10/10/2007 to Current

New Hampshire
Portsmouth. Portsmouth Journal of Literature & Politics. 6/2/1838 to 12/31/1842

New Jersey
Bridgeton. Washington Whig. 1/7/1821 to 12/27/1822

New Mexico
Albuquerque. Albuquerque Journal. 9/1/1910 to 12/31/1910
Gallup. Gallup Independent. 10/11.2007 to Current

New York
New York Herald. 8/1/1858 to 12/31/1858

North Carolina
Halifax. North Carolina Journal. 1/2/1797 to 9/11/1797

Ohio
Ashtabula. Star Beacon. 10/20/2007 to Current

Oklahoma
Altus. Altus Times. 1/14/2008 to Current
Bartlesville. Bartlesville Examiner Enterprise. 10/18/2007 to Current
Knight. Frontier Index. 4/14/1868 to 4/14/1868
Oklahoma City. Daily Oklahoman. 5/1/1913 to 6/30/1913
Pauls Valley. Pauls Valley Daily Democrat. 9/8/2007 to current

Oregon
Portland. Oregonian. 8/8/1920 to 8/29/1920

Pennsylvania
Philadelphia. North American. 1/1/1845 to 6/30/1879

West Virginia
Bluefield. Bluefield Daily Telegraph. 12/28/2007 to Current
Fairmont. Times West Virginian. 1/11/2008 to Current
Logan. Logan Banner. 7/8/2007 to Current

And more – big news is on the way! Stay tuned.