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Stone Claims


When the Homestead Bill was signed in 1861, it allowed for 160 acres of land to be claimed as long as the land was improved. Later, desert claims became available, as did tree claims, in which the land was awarded in return for planting trees. Logging claims could also be obtained in forested areas.

On this date, in 1903, the local land office at Devils Lake handed down a decision that stone claims were also valid. Under the Timber and Stone Act of 1878, stone claims of one hundred and sixty acres were allowed on lands with large quantities of ordinary boulders or limestone – lands deemed unfit for farming. The glacial deposits of central North Dakota created landscapes suitable for stone claims.

Dakota Datebook written by Jim Davis

The Jamestown Weekly Alert – April 9, 1903