Source A: Butler Pamphlet (Modified)

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Source A: Butler Pamphlet (Modified)
Note: Thomas Ambrose Butler was an Irish immigrant who was an acting Catholic priest in Leavenworth, Kansas in 1871, the year this pamphlet was published. His pamphlet provided advice for other Irish men and women who were considering immigration to the United States.

It is now nearly five years since I resigned my "Curacy" in the diocese of Dublin, and came out to this country in order to lend my humble aid in the sacred cause of our holy religion. I was well aware that amidst the crowd of immigrants flocking out upon the prairies of the new State of Kansas many Catholics were to be found.

I begin by assuring the reader that I am not an advocate of Irish emigration; I would rather a million of times that " the old race" could hold every inch of " the old land." I believe that the pang of separation, and the subsequent sad feeling of exile from friends and country, leave an impress upon the heart that can never be removed. Let those, then, who can live at home in Ireland remain there—unless, indeed, the future prospects of their family are very dark.

There is one class in Ireland which, I am well aware, has no other resource left but emigration—I allude, of course, to the unhappy farmers who become the victims of eviction. An Irish farmer cast, in accordance with the cruel laws that crush him, out upon'the wayside, with his family, deprived of the home and lands of his fathers, turns his tearful eyes towards the Far West.
To such I say, with a heart full of sympathy, hesitate not, if you have health and strength, and money enough to bring you out; come to the great free country, where you may soon grow rich and independent as a farmer, with yellow corn waving upon the breasts of the prairies, and cattle grazing upon the hills, and no master over you but the Great Lord of Heaven and Earth. I wish every young Irishman who understands how to farm would keep before him, as the great object of his ambition when coming to America, the possession of a good farm in this country.
The policy of the American Government has been to endeavour to civilize the wild Indians, and, that failing, to drive them back from the fertile lands, where civilization might spread her mighty arms under the care of the hardy pioneers. Eventually, however, the noble red-man will be exterminated, if the teachings of civilization fail to reach his heart and curb his inclinations.

Nearly all the wild Indians have moved away from Kansas, or are hemmed in at the extreme north of the State, and the smallest acts of lawlessness on their part would afford a good

excuse to the military, who occupy the various government forts, to dash in upon them and exterminate them.
People can yet obtain splendid land in Kansas under the law of " pre-emption," and also in accordance with the " Home-stead Law."

" Every head of a family, or widow, or single man or woman over twenty-one years of age, being a citizen, or having filed a declaration of intention to become a citizen, can pre-empt 160 acres of land, by paying therefore, and complying with certain regulations. The (qualified) party who makes the first settlement upon any public land, by improving the same, is entitled to the right of pre-emption, if the pre-emption laws are subsequently complied with, including filing upon the same." The price to be paid for these pre-emption lands is 1 1/4 dollar per acre. Let us now take a practical illustration.

Suppose some young Irishman—married or unmarried—driven forth from his home in " the old country," and anxious to obtain a farm amidst the rolling prairies of Kansas. He asks me, " How much money will I require to obtain a farm by pre-emption ?" I answer, " You can have 160 acres of the most fertile land that ever the rains and dews of heaven fell upon for the small sum of two hundred dollars, or about thirty-six pounds English money; you can build a small ' farm-house' for about one hundred dollars, something less than eighteen pounds; and, therefore, for house, and farm of 160 acres, you have to pay fifty-four pounds sterling. And these become yours forever!  No rents, no landlords, no danger of eviction!"

I come now to describe another manner of obtaining State lands—namely, by "home-steading.'' "The homestead law permits any person to acquire by occupation, and the payment of commissions and fees, one hundred and sixty acres of land. Under this law the settler may file on the land he desires to obtain, and that filing holds good for six months, during which time the settler must take possession of the land by occupation and improvement."

Consequently, by the payment of eighteen dollars, and fulfillment of the conditions above prescribed, a man may obtain a good farm in the State of Kansas.

In conclusion, and as a last advice, I say to all the Irish people—Do not come out to America if you can live at home. If you cannot live in Ireland, come out and till the fertile prairies, and you will be happy.

Source: The State of Kansas and Irish Immigration by Thomas Ambrose Butler, 1871. Read the full text at:
Source B: Singleton Scrapbook Flyer (Modified)
Note: Benjamin “Pap” Singleton was a former slave that worked strenuously to encourage African Americans to settle in Kansas. His efforts led him to be described as the “Father of the Exodus.” He compiled this scrapbook in order to document the Exoduster movement in the 1870s and 1880s.

The Largest Colored Colony in America!
Is now locating in the Great Solomon Valley in Graham County, two hundred and forty miles north west of Topeka.
Mr. Smith, the President of the Colony is a colored man and has lived for the last three years in Solomon Valley.
All letters of inquiry regarding Soil, Climate, and Locations should be addressed to W.H. Smith, or his Secretary, S.P. Roundtree, Topeka, Kansas, until May 15th, 1877; then at Ellis, Ellis Co., Kan. A Postoffice will be located in June at
which is beautifully located on the north side of the south fork of the Solomon River, near the line of Graham and Rooks Counties, 14 miles east of Hill City, and is designed for the Colored Colony. By September 1st the Colony will have houses erected and all braces of mercantile business will be opened out for the benefit of the Colony. A Church edifice and other public buildings will be erected. No saloons or other houses of ill-fame will be allowed on the town site within five years from the date of this organization.
We invite our colored friends of the Nation to come and join with us in this beautiful Promise Land.

Dated at Topeka, Kansas, April 16, 1877.

Source: Taken from a Benjamin “Pap” Singleton scrapbook, 1877-1886. See document and scrapbook collection at:

Source C: Rupert Letter (Modified)
Note: Elinore Rupert lost her husband to a railroad accident and proceeded to take on various jobs, including house cleaner and laundress, in order to support herself and her daughter. Eventually Rupert decided to become a homesteader. This letter chronicles her trip to file a claim.

Burnt Fork, Wyoming

April 18, 1909
Dear, Dear Mrs. Coney,
Well, I have filed on my land and am now a bloated landowner. I waited a long time to even see land in the reserve, and the snow is yet too deep, so I thought that as they have but three months of summer and spring together and as I wanted the land for a ranch anyway, perhaps I had better stay in the valley. So I have filed adjoining Mr. Stewart and I am well pleased. I have a grove of twelve swamp pines on my place, and I am going to build my house there. I thought it would be very romantic to live on the peaks amid the whispering pines, but I reckon it would be powerfully uncomfortable also, and I guess my twelve can whisper enough for me; and a dandy thing is, I have all the nice snow-water I want; a small stream runs right through the center of my land and I am quite near wood.
A neighbor and his daughter were going to Green River, the county-seat, and said I might go along, so I did, as I could file there as well as at the land office; and oh, that trip!  I had more fun to the square inch than Mark Twain or Samantha Allen ever provoked. It took us a whole week to go and come.
When I went up to the office where I was to file, the door was open and the most taciturn old man sat before a desk. I hesitated at the door, but he never let on. I coughed, yet no sign but a deeper scowl. I stepped in and modestly kicked over a chair. He whirled around like I had shot him. "Well?" he interrogated. I said, "I am powerful glad of it. I was afraid you were sick, you looked in such pain." He looked at me a minute, then grinned and said he thought I was a book-agent. Fancy me, a fat, comfortable widow, trying to sell books!
Well, I filed and came home.
With lots of love to you,
Your sincere friend,
Elinore Rupert

Source: Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart, 1914. Read the full text at:

Tool 1: Opening Up the Textbook (OUT)
What groups of people took advantage of the Homestead Act?


Group(s) That Filed Homestead Claims

Motive(s) For Homesteading

Your Textbook

Document A:

Butler Pamphlet

Document B:

Singleton Flyer

Document C:

Rupert Letter

1. How is the textbook’s story similar to and different from one of the other sources you read?

Textbook’s Story Other Source’s Story

Adapted from: Stanford History Education Group, “ Dust to Eat, and Dust to Breathe, and Dust to Drink”
2. In a paragraph, evaluate the following statement using evidence from what you have read today:

“There are multiple stories and perspectives in history.”

3. In a paragraph explain how the Homestead Act brought diversity and also conflict to the American


Adapted from: Stanford History Education Group, “ Dust to Eat, and Dust to Breathe, and Dust to Drink”

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