How did the U.S. Government grant homesteads? 

A homesteader had to meet all requirements of law to obtain a homestead. The final step was for the federal government to issue an official document, called a land patent. Federal officials signed it on behalf of the President of the United States. It granted legal ownership to the homesteaded land. It cited the legal authority (law) enabling the grant to be made. It gave a legal description of the land being granted to the homesteader. It also provided information about the original application for the homestead and the location where the patent was recorded.