The Free Lands of Iowa. Being an accurate description of the Sioux City land-district, etc.
A.R. Fulton (Des Moines, Iowa, 1869)
This 67 page pamphlet showing all the vacant lands still available in northwest Iowa in 1869 was written for “all in search of cheap homes.” It describes the counties in the district, explains the system of public land surveys, and prints the requirements of the Homestead Act (originally signed into law in 1862, the Homestead Act gave anyone who met the requirements 160 acres of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi). The information provided for each county includes streams, lakes, springs and wells, timber, soil and surface, game, health, settlements, statistics, and a section titled “What is needed.” Palo Alto County, for example, boasted “ten schools…in which children are taught at least six months in the year” as well as “one saw mill, three blacksmith shops, one store, one doctor, one lawyer and six post offices.” The principle agricultural crops were corn, wheat, oats, and potatoes. “Good first-class prairie” could be had for $2.50 - $5.00 an acre. The descriptions of Iowa are accurate and appreciative. The author writes “we have no elevations that can be called mountains, and yet no considerable portion of the surface is level” and further that Iowa is made up of “vast prairies possessing a weird sublimity that no pen can describe.” In a state where over 150 days per year are below freezing, the author adds in a thundering understatement that the “the winters are cold.”
Geography & Topography