Plain Farm - Jamestown School District

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Farming on the Great Plains
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Due to lack of water, trees, and
variable climate, not many people
settled in the Great Plains.
If you were in the President’s
Cabinet, what would you advise
him to do to get people to move
to the plains?
Homestead Act
• Federal government gives 160 acres to citizens to
farm
• Paid a small registration fee ($10) and promised
to live there 5 years
• Granted land to unmarried women
• Seen as a way to escape your problems in the
east, the farming on the frontier was a chance at
starting over.
• Most are poor farmers
What do you notice about these
Homesteader’s homes and farms?
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Soddie of Luxury - two floors and glass windows!
Homesteaders - they get 160
acres for a $10 registration fee!
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Who Farmed the Plains?
• Exodusters
• African-Americans who moved to
plains to farm
• Many were escaping the sharecropping
system
• Immigrants
• Could get land from Homestead Act if
they promised to become citizens
• Wrote letters home urging friends and
family to come - started pockets of one
nationality (Swedes in Minnesota)
What Was Life Like on the
Plains?
• Soddies
• Many homes made of mud (little wood
available on plains)
• Small and uncomfortable
• Chores
• Done by both sexes
• Washing clothes, farming, tending to
animals, housework
• Communities
• Small and very close
• One room schools
• Churches were the social centers of most
towns
How Do You Farm the Plains?
• Climate
• Sodbusters
• Steel Plow
• Dry Farming
• Cyrus
McCormick
• Extreme - Hot, dry winters and frigid,
blustery winters
• Nickname for plains farmers
• Invented by John Deere to break through
the hard soil
• Use of crops that need little water (red
wheat)
• Inventor of farm tools like a reaper and
thresher
• Allowed for larger farms and fewer
workers if you could afford the machines
Entertainment in the Soddies
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Oklahoma Land Rush - April 22, 1889
• U.S. government decides to give the Indian
Territory (now Oklahoma) to settlers
• Native Americans promised this land when they
moved here (Trail of Tears)
• Settlers could stake out whatever land they wanted
after noon on April 22, 1889
• Settlers lined up on border. Cannons fired at
noon, and the race to claim land was on.
• Settlers found out best land was already taken by
those who cheated and snuck in early.
• Sooners - those who went in early and grabbed the
best land
When the cannons sounded at noon on April 22, 1889, the
race to grab the best land was on!
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Irony -
Oklahoma
University’s
nickname is the
Sooners.
They named their
athletes after
cheaters!
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