For William, Amos, John, and Andrew, it was the government reaching out with a free gift… not entirely free as it had an $18 filing fee and the promise of five years of time. It was the Homestead Act of 1862 which was signed into law by President Lincoln.
Each of the men started their collected journeys from different starting points: William from England, Amos from Illinois, John from Ohio, and Andrew from Maine. Two of them were Civil War veterans. One possessed wanderlust in his soul. One felt a need to move on.
All of them followed the rules for claiming their free land. They built homes on the property and made improvements. They gathered witnesses to attest to these truths in completing their paper work. They placed ads in the local paper to state that they had completed the requirements and to let fellow townspeople know that the land was officially theirs.
They all had many things in common. They all settled in Osborne County, Kansas. They all are in my line of grandfathers. They all had a love of the land. They all were willing to make sacrifices to care for their homesteads. Thank you, Grandfathers.
The men who enjoyed the free gifts were William Henry Stevens, Amos Howell Boultinghouse, John Nickel, and Andrew Storer.