Congress passes the Homestead Act, offering millions of acres of free land to settlers who stay on the land for five years. Lumber companies acquire valuable timber lands through fraudulent claims.
“A Homestead Bill Passed. Minnesota will derive great benefit from the passage of this act. Not only will it afford relief to thousands of settlers at present upon our public domain, but offer additional inducements for emigrants from the east and the old country to settle among us.” -Mankato Record, June 26, 1862
The act brings 75,000 people to Minnesota over 3 years. To qualify for 160 free acres, settlers have to live on it for five years, farm, and build a permanent dwelling. Those able to spend the money can buy the 160 acres at $1.25 an acre after living on it for six months.*
I am a witness to this truth this morning: Minnesota is the property of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for the heart of the Homestead Act to offer a place for the emigrant: “exile, expatriate, emigre, colonist, migrant, displaced person, D.P., traveler, foreigner, pilgrim, refugee, fugitive, wayfarer, wanderer, immigrant, alien, outcast, man without a country.” (p.136, “Webster’s New World Thesaurus” by Charlton Laird) This is an honorable motive, to be a place of refuge, consistent through Minnesota’s history.
However, there is a heritage of mixed fruit. Some land given away by the state was “acquired” or unjustly taken from Native Americans. We see the continuation of the root sins of greed for land by the fraudulent claims of special interests: lumber companies, railroads, land speculators, and corrupted government agencies. Lord will You be the arbiter of justice over these parties to mass theft, deception, or at least self-interest? Will You specifically restore the Native American to his land(s), or find a path to reasonable compensation? Will You meet this bitter root of land greed today?
Under the the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, I announce to the spirit and attitude of land greed that your reign in Minnesota from the Homestead Act of 1862 through the present and into the eternal future is broken. Land and property, be reassigned according to the will of the Lord, to the stewards whom He may choose. O land of Minnesota, all below, and sky above, I declare a “Year of Jubilee”: a year of returning and rest, a year of the favor of the Lord!
*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!