Working Off the Homestead

United States Homestead applications may mention off-farm employment like this one from the 1880s for a homestead in Dawson County, Nebraska does. Applicants were supposed to  be living on the homestead, but some did have off-farm employment.


2 thoughts on “Working Off the Homestead

  1. mary hammond

    But the question inquired about the homesread applicant’s *previous* residencce and *previous* occupation. How can you assume, from this, that he continued his employment with the railroad?

    On the other hand, he could have had a local, part-time, offce job with the railroad, not requiring him to neglect his homestead/farm.

    1. michaeljohnneill Post author

      Actually I can’t assume that he continued his employment–homesteaders really were not supposed to live off the homestead. The first sentence in the tip should have been a little more clear that the testimony may have mentioned PREVIOUS non-farm employment–which some researchers may be unaware of.

      Homesteaders were supposed to live and work the homestead. I do have one ancestor who worked for the railroad during the week–and actually also had a home in the nearby town in addition to the soddy on their homestead. That house in town is not mentioned in the homestead application, but there are property and tax records for it.


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