"This digital collection integrates two collections from the holdings of the Nebraska State Historical Society, the Solomon D. Butcher photographs and the letters of the Uriah W. Oblinger family. Together they illustrate the story of settlement on the Great Plains. Approximately 3,000 glass plate negatives crafted by Butcher record the process of settlement in Nebraska between 1886 and 1912. Butcher photographed actively in central Nebraska including Custer, Buffalo, Dawson and Cherry counties. The approximately 3,000 pages of Oblinger family letters discuss land, work, neighbors, crops, religious meetings, problems with grasshoppers, financial problems, and the Easter Blizzard of 1873. Uriah Oblinger came from Indiana to Fillmore County, Nebraska in 1873 to claim a homestead for his family. In the eloquent letters exchanged between Uriah and his wife Mattie, and in letters to other family members, Oblinger expresses very personal insight into the joy, despair, and determination in their struggle to establish a home on the prairie."
These interviews were conducted in 1933-1934 and cover a wide variety of subjects on Colorado history. The interviewees were people who had lived in selected areas of the state over a long period of time and could provide insight into life in Colorado from a personal point of view.
PDF scans of the CWA Pioneer Interviews are available to view online.
"Digital Horizons is an online treasure house of thousands of images, documents, video, and oral histories depicting life on the Northern Plains from the late 1800s to today. Here you'll find a fascinating snapshot of the lives, culture, and history of the people who shaped life on the prairies. "
The Homestead Acts—a series of federal laws passed between 1862 and 1916—granted 160-acre sections of public land, called homesteads, to Americans at very little cost. These acts were designed to provide incentives for Americans to move west.
Virgil Earp, the brother of famous lawman Wyatt Earp, followed his family West in the 1860s after his service with the Union Army during the Civil War. He participated in the Gunfight at the OK Corral in Arizona Territory in 1877 and filed this homestead proof at the Prescott, Arizona, Land Office on April 1, 1900.
On January 1, 1863, Daniel Freeman became the first American to file a homestead claim for land under the Homestead Act of 1862. The act required a series of steps, such as improving a plot of land and living on it for five years, before the homesteader could gain ownership of the 160 acres he claimed. After initiating his claim on January 1, 1863, Freeman received his ownership certificate on January 20, 1868.
"The Indian-Pioneer Papers oral history collection spans from 1861 to 1936. It includes typescripts of interviews conducted during the 1930s by government workers with thousands of Oklahomans regarding the settlement of Oklahoma and Indian territories, as well as the condition and conduct of life there. Consisting of approximately 80,000 entries, the index to this collection may be accessed via personal name, place name, or subject."
"Portrays the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century through first-person accounts, biographies, promotional literature, local histories, ethnographic and antiquarian texts, colonial archival documents, and other works drawn from the Library of Congress's General Collections and Rare Books and Special Collections Division. The collection's 138 volumes depict the land and its resources; the conflicts between settlers and Native peoples; the experience of pioneers and missionaries, soldiers and immigrants and reformers; the growth of local communities and local cultural traditions; and the development of regional and national leadership in agriculture, business, medicine, politics, religion, law, journalism, education, and the role of women."
Signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862, the Homestead Act encouraged Western migration by providing settlers 160 acres of public land. In exchange, homesteaders paid a small filing fee and were required to complete five years of continuous residence before receiving ownership of the land. After six months of residency, homesteaders also had the option of purchasing the land from the government for $1.25 per acre. The Homestead Act led to the distribution of 80 million acres of public land by 1900.
The story of the Donner Party remains one of the most tragic and compelling in pioneer history. Johnson gathers many rare early narratives detailing the participants' trying experiences into one of the most accurate accounts to date of this disastrous event.