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The Swift Family - Papa, Essie, Orlando, Mary, Mama, & Frank

The Homestead Act of 1862 has been called one the most important pieces of Legislation in the history of the United States. Signed into law in 1862 by Abraham Lincoln after the secession of southern states, this Act turned over vast amounts of the public domain to private citizens. 270 millions acres, or 10% of the area of the United States was claimed and settled under this act. Amelia father was an early Chico homesteader; he purchased this land and gave it to Amelia prior to his death, two years before William and Amelia were married. William and Amelia worked this land for 25 years.

The Swift Ranch House

Homesteaders had to live on the land, build a home, make improvements and farm for 5 years before they were eligible to "prove up." A total filing fee of $18 was required for a 160 acre parcel of land, but sacrifice & hard work exacted the real price. The Swift Ranch was 240 acres.

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