It is important to the discussion of Butcher and Wyatt as homesteaders to understand the public land laws which affected their choice of land. Consequently, a review of the history of land legislation affecting the allocation and use of the public domain is in order and particularly that legislation under which Butcher and Wyatt made entry: the Homestead Act of 1862. Through this act early settlers around Tucumcari were able to acquire, at little expense, 160 acre tracts of land. In addition, the shortcomings and beneficial aspects of other acts of Congress concerning the acquisition of public domain will be examined as they provided the guidelines under which homesteaders received patents around Tucumcari throughout the early years of the twentieth century. The focus of this discussion will center on the use and abuse of the public domain by both the private sector and the various government regulatory agencies.

Document Type

Working Paper