60 years of the BLM

Part 3 - Managing the Settlement

[Text from History of the BLM video, part 3]

Slide #16 History/Managing the Settlement (title)

  • Managing the settlement rush proved to be one of the young U.S. government’s greatest challenges.

Slide #17 Government Men Working

  • A small, but enthusiastic group of very unusual bureaucrats were hired to set up and run the citizen land program.
  • Some were rugged Westerners who knew the land firsthand--
  • Others administered the program in Washington DC, setting policy, establishing procedures, and processed the volumes of paperwork required.
  • Together, they tried to manage the huge public response to the promise of almost free land and a chance to own a piece of America.

Slide #18 GLO hard pressed to keep pace with settlers

  • Thousands upon thousands of settlers moved onto the land and land titles and claims had to be issued.
  • The General Land Office was buried in requests and the inevitable backlog complicated the transfers.
  • But the settlers often didn’t wait, taking possession first and worrying about paperwork later.
  • These “squatters” were usually granted their land later by Congress.

Slide#19 Government men in the field

  • As the job diversified, so did the workforce.
  • Surveyors in Model T trucks joined landsmen on horseback
  • And together, they mapped out the West for settlement.

Slide#20 Land Grants & Land Claims

  • Congress passed a variety of land transfer methods.
  • An example was military scrip issued in lieu of cash to soldiers for their service.
  • Even Captain Abraham Lincoln received this certificate for one-hundred and twenty acres for his efforts in the Black Hawk Wars.

Slide#21 Federal Timberlands

  • Eventually, not just the land itself, but the resources on the land -- wer recognized as having important value to the westward expansion.
  • Timber production became important for building and fuel.
It also became a critical commodity for the massive public works project that was to dramatically change western settlement – the building of the transcontinental railroad.

60 Years of the BLM - History video, part 3: broadband, dial-up