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Dakota Territory: Railroading and Homesteading

April 16, 2013

In 1879 the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company was expanding its tracks from western MN, in to Dakota Territory. The rolling Dakota prairies were opening up to homesteaders and railroad service and new towns need developing in the territory. Pa saw the quarter section ( 160 acres) of free government  homestead land as a way to resume farming in the west. But getting started was costly: Pa had little money to invest in new buildings, tools, and seeds on vacant homestead land To make himself, Pa again used his varied talents: he too a clerical job with the railroad cams as the tracks  were being laid through the town sites   of Brookings and De Smet Dakota Territory. 

Fortunately, Pa and Ma  raised each of their children to enjoy reading and to excel in writing a good story as sell as telling on. Fifty years after the Ingalls family moved to Dakota, Carrie recorded her memories of the first year spent in DeSmet. Which we will look at later on.


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