The Timber Culture Act
Timber Culture Act was a follow-up act to the Homestead Act. The Timber Culture Act
Timber Culture Act was passed by Congress in 1873. The act allowed homesteaders to get another 160 acres (65 ha) of land if they planted trees on one-fourth of the land, because the land was "almost one entire plain of grass, which is and ever must be useless to cultivating man." (qtd. in Daily Life on the 19th Century American Frontier by Aleesha White)
1 Text of the Timber Culture Act 2 Explanation 3 References 4 See also
Text of the Timber Culture Act
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An Act to encourage the Growth of Timber on western Prairies.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled,
That any person who shall plant, protect, and keep in a healthy,
growing condition for ten years forty acres of timber, the trees
thereon not being more than twelve feet apart each way on any
quarter-section of any of the public lands of the United States shall
be entitled to a patent for the whole of said quarter-section at the
expiration of said ten years, on making proof of such fact by not less
than two credible witnesses; Provided, That only one quarter in any
section shall be thus granted.
SECTION 2. That the person applying for the benefit of this act shall,
upon application to the register of the land-office in which he or she
is about to make such entry, make affidavit before said register or
receiver that said entry is made for the cultivation of timber, and
upon filing said affidavit with said register and receiver, and on
payment of ten dollars, he or she shall thereupon be permitted to
enter the quantity of land specified: Provided however, That no
certificate shall be given or patent issue therefor until the
expiration of at least ten years from the date of such entry; and if
at the expiration of such time, or at any time within three years
thereafter, the person making such entry, or if he or she be dead, his
or her heirs or legal representatives, shall prove by two credible
witnesses that he, she, or they have planted, and for not less than
ten years have cultivated and there was people whom quantity and
character of timber as aforesaid, they shall receive the patent for
such quarter-section of land.
SECTION 3. That if at any time after the filing of said affidavit, and
prior to the issuing of the patent for said land, it shall be proven
after due notice to the party making such entry and claiming to
cultivate such timber, to the satisfaction of the register of the
land-office, that such person has abandoned or failed to cultivate,
protect and keep in good condition such timber, then, and in that
event, said land shall revert to the United States.
SECTION 4. That each and every person who, under the provisions of an
act entitled "An act to secure homesteads to actual settlers on the
public domain" approved May twentieth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two
or any amendment thereto, having a homestead on said public domain,
who, at the end of the third year of his or her residence thereon,
shall have had under cultivation, for two years, one acre of timber,
the trees thereon not being more than twelve feet apart each way, and
in a good, thrifty condition, for each and every sixteen acres of said
homestead, shall upon due proof of said fact by two credible witnesses
receive his or her patent for said homestead.
SECTION 5. That no land acquired under provisions of this act, shall,
in any event, become liable to the satisfaction of any debt or debts
contracted prior to the issuing of patent therefore.
SECTION 6. That the commissioner of the general land-office is hereby
required to prepare and issue such rules and regulations, consistent
with this act, as shall be necessary and proper to carry its
provisions into effect; and that the registers and the receivers of
the several land-offices shall be entitled to receive the same
compensation for any lands entered under the provisions of this that
they are now entitled to receive when the same quantity of land is
entered with money.
SECTION 7. That the fifth section of the act entitled "An act in
addition to an act to punish crimes against the United States, and for
other purposes" approved March third, eighteen hundred and
fifty-seven, shall extend to all oaths, affirmations, and affidavits
required or authorized by this act.
APPROVED, March 3, 1873.
160 acres (65 ha) of additional free land could be obtained if
they set aside 40 acres (16 ha) to grow trees to solve the
problem of lack of wood on the Great Plains. After planting the trees
the land could only be completely obtained if it was occupied by the
same family for at least 5 years. The act was passed to prevent abuse
of the original
^ U.S. Statutes at Large, vol. 17, p. 605. Forty-second Congress Sess. II. Ch. 274-277, 1873.
George W. Swink, said to be the first holder of a timber