With authentic estate rates going up and up these times, it is difficult to picture a time when oceanfront or riverfront house was free. In 1862, Congress handed a Homestead Act which supplied as several as 160 acres of community land absolutely free to someone who occupied the land for five decades.
Claimants experienced to shell out the administrative payment in cash in buy to entire the transaction. It was also attainable just to pay back cash at the starting and forgo the prerequisite of five-several years profession of the land.
The Act was supposed to stimulate settlement of the western aspect of the United States. The regulation, nonetheless, used nationwide. At the time there was nonetheless readily available unclaimed land in Florida and homestead land here available a significantly diverse photograph than in the West.
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Most images of homesteaders depict them dwelling in sod homes on the Plains. So iconic was that idea that in 1962 the United States Article Workplace issued a 4-cent, initial-class commemorative stamp to mark the centennial of the Homestead Act, showcasing a sod dwelling.
In this space, homesteaders acquired oceanfront land or assets along tidal or freshwater rivers. There was little unclaimed land north of St. Augustine, in which most of the attributes experienced been granted below the Spanish homestead coverage. But there had been still some out there parcels in the southern component of St. Johns County.
Candidates commenced implementing for land just after the Civil War finished in 1865. Lots of residents of this spot could not qualify to apply as the Homestead Act excluded those “who had borne arms towards the United States or presented support and ease and comfort to its enemies.” This prohibition foreclosed people who had fought for or assisted the Accomplice states.
Albert Graves’ oceanfront “summer camp” on a homestead grant at Summer season Haven minor resembled the settlers’ homes in the West. Residents largely from Crescent City “settled” together the dunes in the summer time. Drop and wintertime storms generally demolished their tents and huts.
Graves acquired title to his land in 1883. A few yrs afterwards, he registered the plat for Summer months Haven Subdivision with road names invoking a marine concept, these kinds of as Sheepshead and Oyster streets. These days the Atlantic Ocean is taking in absent a lot of Graves’ homestead-grant land.
James C. Middleton acquired homestead land at Crescent Seaside that stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Matanzas River. He subdivided the land and registered a plat with his title – Middleton Subdivision. He sold heaps to family members generally from Florida’s inside. With Middleton and Graves, homestead grants were turned into family vacation communities, not farms or ranches.
Cordin Barnes gained title in 1878 to homestead land on the north aspect of Moultrie Creek, where the bridge on U.S. 1 crosses the creek now. Not considerably away from Barnes’ assets, Henry Briggs became the operator of homestead acreage in close proximity to present day St. Augustine Memorial Park on Aged Moultrie Street. There Briggs took a stab developing grapes.
Charles Merrifield obtained homestead land in the area that would turn into Hastings. You can see the road indicator for Merryfield Lane as it intersects S.R. 207 at the St. Johns-Putnam county line.
Farther south of right here, folks from the Midwestern U.S. also created holiday-design enclaves on homestead land. In modern Canaveral National Seashore, a group from the St. Louis region established the Eldora local community on Mosquito Lagoon on homestead land.
In this occasion homesteaders have been relocating from west to east, unlike the far more popular direction of relocating from east to west. Though Graves’ Summer season Haven turned a summertime leisure place, Eldora was populated by winter season people.
What a ordinarily Florida tale. A law that was meant to develop family farms in the West was applied together Florida’s waterways to develop trip homes.
Susan R. Parker retains a doctorate in colonial heritage.