Monday, 7 September 2015

Looking for a Homestead 1892

A recent trip to the Archives in Winnipeg turned up a copy of the letter written by Benjmanin Boulton requesting a homestead dated May 30th, 1892.  If you have an ancestor who acquired land under the Homestead Act of 1872, you might find something similar in their microfilm.  Under the act, anyone who was at least 21 years old could apply for 160 acres of unsettled land .  Title would be granted if they lived on the property for three years and made the required improvement.  They were also given a pre-emption privilege that allowed them to buy nearby land for one dollar per acre.

Reston May 30th 92 
Agent of Dominion

Lands Mr Hiam
Dear Sir
As I am very anxious about getting a place I thought it best to write you a line to see if the place that I cancelled could go on in my favour as it would not be long now untill perhaps you could let me know if there would be any chance of one getting it my friend Mr. Baldwin tells me that I made a mistake in trying to give it up I have a chance of getting some land to work next year so if you can let me know at your earliest convenience the full particulars you will be very greatily
Benjamin Bolton
Reston Man

According to a 1970 Reston School  publication, Through the Eyes of Our Community, the railway did not reach Reston until December of 1892 and the town was not firmly established until the spring of 1893.  Mr. John Baldwin had been approached by the C.P.R. to put the town site on the corner of his land if he would give the company 24 acres of land for a station site and yards.  He turned it down but did reconsider after pressure from nearby residents who saw the water run on the west side as a positive factor for a townsite. The name "Reston" was taken from the Post Office (and later School District) that had been established in 1890 at  William Bulloch's farm.  

It is interesting to see the spelling of his name without the "U". It does indicate in the file that he decided to cancel the application somewhere between the 11th and the 30th of May but it went ahead anyway.  The final patent certificate for this quarter did not go through until 1916, likely because it was held up in probate after Benjamin's death in 1895.  Several letters are included back and forth with lawyers to see what Ann needs to do to get the letter of patent for this land.

Also in the file was a memo that indicates the NE 24-6-28 had 30 acres broken in 1893 and 50 more the next year.  By 1895, 105 acres were broken and under cultivation.  There was also a frame house worth $1000, stable, granary and fencing allowing the conditions of homesteading to be met.  Neighbours William Lau and John William Sutcliffe submitted documents in support of the Boulton claim and they are in the file as well.

Also in the file is a notice to an Albert Armstrong of Pipestone in May of 1892 to cancel his Homestead application for the quarter as he had not replied to letters on behalf of the Minister of the Interior. That would have freed Benjamin to take the quarter for himself.  

In 1892, his son James Herbert applied for and in 1903 he received the North West quarter.  The "x" is claimed to be his mark on this document.