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Rachel Taylor Proves Up


When people filed homestead claims in North Dakota, they had six months to build themselves a dwelling and start living on the land. Rachel Taylor, a 21 year-old single teacher, filed in McKenzie County in late November 1903, and then went back to Steele County to finish out the school year. She set out for McKenzie County as the deadline for building her house approached in the spring, but the river was so swollen, she couldn’t cross it. In fact, it took three weeks for the water level to drop enough so that friends could take her across in a rowboat.

Rachel was soon captivated with her surroundings. “That first summer there,” she said, “I grew to love the prairie in it natural, wild, untamed state, and I felt a bit sad that now it would be cut up, plowed up, fenced up, used and trampled over by the feet of men, many caring only for the money it would bring.”

Well, six years later, Rachel Taylor proved up. It was on this date in 1909 that she received the “final certificate” on her claim.

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm