George S. (George Samuel) Clason.

Free homestead lands of Colorado described; a handbook for settlers online

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per year.

The farmer with five, ten or twenty milk cows, cannot only
make a good living, but he can grow independent without any
other source of income.


In addition to the direct income from the cows themselves,
he has the increase in the herd, which is constant and rapid.
Every calf that is turned on the pasture range will increase in
value from $1.50 to $2.00 per month, for four years, without any
attention, save a little feeding during the snow storms in the
winter time.

The dairy industry is receiving much attention in this State,
for here, in the tremendous area well covered with nutritive native
grasses, is the possibility of developing a profitable industry.

The settler should take special care in choosing his milk
stock. If he does not know how himself, he should go to some
practical city dairyman. A cow must be a good milker to make
money for the city dairy, where it is necessary to buy feed. They
can tell right away what kind of stock to get and what kind to
avoid. If it is not practical to get as many head of milk cows
to start with as desired, buy calves and raise them.

In and around the city of Denver alone there are 10,000
head of milk cows kept in dairies. In these dairies are born
every year nearly 10,000 calves. They sell them at a nominal
price, or even give them away frequently. From such a source
a breed of real milkers can be secured.

The market is unlimited for eA T erything a dairy farmer
produces, whether it be cream, butter, cheese or fat steers. It
is always salable, and at a good price, for spot cash.

By raising a few acres of alfalfa, kaffir corn, sorghum and
other fodder, which can be raised with very little cultivation,
cut when green and stored in a silo, the dairy farmer has ample
supplies of feed for the winter.

The wild grasses of Colorado's prairies have a characteristic
not common to grasses groAvn in lower altitudes and more moist
climates. It ripens into natural hay without growing coarse
or without losing its nutritious properties. Cattle will eat these
grasses all winter long and thrive.


There are many natural divisions of Colorado and many
local names, some of which will be explained here, as these will
be frequently referred to in the descriptions, which follow :


The Arkansas valley is the valley of the Arkansas river
from Canon City, where the river first emerges out of the Royal
gorge, through Pueblo, Otero, Bent and Powers counties to the
Kansas state line. This valley varies from just a few miles to
twenty and thirty miles in width.

It is very fertile and practically all under irrigation. It
is famous for its apples, cantaloupes, celery and alfalfa.

There are no vacant lands in the valley proper; but on the
bench lands, above the irrigation canals, there is considerable
land which is now being taken up and farmed without irriga-
tion. In time other canals will be taken out from the river to
cover a still larger area and put them under irrigation.

This requires, however, the construction of large storage
reservoirs in the mountains, as the running waters in the streams
are all appropriated and only sufficient to supply the canals al-
ready in operation. It will probably be some years before we
shall see any great change in the irrigated area of Arkansas


The Platte valley is the valley of the South Platte river,
running from Denver to the northeastern corner of the State,
through Adams, Weld, Morgan, Logan and Sedgwick counties.
The valley itself is comparatively narrow, varying from five to
ten or fifteen miles. It is very fertile and most of the available
lands are already under irrigation and cultivation.


The Grand valley is in the valley of the Grand river, in
Mesa county, and not in Grand county, as frequently supposed.
This is a wide, level valley. Most of it already being under irri-

The United States reclamation service is now building a
large canal in the Grand valley, which will extend the irrigated
area very materially.

This is a famous fruit section,



The San Luis valley is a large level prairie, in the extreme
south-central part of the State. It is bounded on the east by
the Sangre de Cristo range of mountains, and on the west by the
Great Continental divide. This valley is fifty miles in width
and a hundred miles in length. Geologists tell us that it was the
bed of an ancient lake, which accounts for the extremely level

The longest piece of absolutely straight railway track in
the United States is located in the San Luis valley, between
Villa Grove and Alamosa. It extends for sixty miles without
a curve.

Irrigation canals in this valley are built in straight lines.


This is the valley of the Uncompahgre river, extending
from Ouray county across Montrose county.

The Gunnison tunnel, a project of the United States
reclamation service, irrigates a large part of the Uncompahgre

It is a very fertile section and well known for its fruit and


This is the valley of the Cache La Poudre river, in Larimer
and Weld counties.

It is a very fertile valley, and very carefully irrigated by
one of the most modern irrigation systems in the United States.


This is a narrow valley in Chaffee county, along the Upper
Arkansas river.

These are the principal and best known valleys in the State.
Along each stream is more or less valley land, using the name of
each of the streams.


"The San Juan" is a general term frequently used for the
extreme southwestern corner of Colorado, which includes
the San Juan mountains, with their valuable metal mining dis-
tricts, and the agricultural lands to the south of these, in Monte-
zuma, La Plata and Archuleta counties, watered by the snows
from this mountain range. Included in the San Juan country
are the Montezuma and La Plata valleys.



This is a term used to describe the extreme western portion
of Montrose county, west of the Uncompahgre plateau. This is
in the valley of the Dolores river and includes the western por-
tion of San Miguel county and the extreme southwestern corner
of Mesa county.

The Paradox country is a rapidly developing agricultural
district, best known, at the present time, for the production of
uranium and radium ores.


North park is the local name for Jackson county. It is a
rolling prairie district, quite level in places, about twenty-five by
thirty-five miles in extent, surrounded on the east, south and
west by high ranges of mountains. It is located in the extreme
north-central portion of Colorado, adjoining the Wyoming state


Middle park is the local name for Grand county and covers
the territory comprising the headwaters of the Grand river. It
is surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges. The river emerges
from the park through a series of deep canyons or gorges.

Middle park is much more broken than North park. It is
an ideal stock country and is famous as a fishing, hunting and
sight seeing section.


South park is the local name for Park county. It is a high,
rolling plateau or prairie, walled in on the west by the Park
range of the Great Continental divide. South park, proper, is
comparatively destitute of timber and is principally grazing

Along the streams are large areas of irrigated hay lands,
which are very productive.



Every citizen of the United States has a right to claim a
homestead on any vacant land, in any state, that is open for entry.

The homestead laws of the United States are technical, legal
documents, filled with "ifs," "buts" and "whereases." For the
benefit of those contemplating filing on homesteads, a brief, sim-
ple outline of the necessary steps or requirements, is here given.

A homestead was originally 160 acres or a quarter section
of land, half a mile square. In some sections designated by the
United States land office as semi-arid districts, a settler may now
take 320 acres under practically the same provision. It is neces-
sary first, that the land be visited and examined. It must be
selected in forty-acre tracts. These tracts must be adjoining or
touching on the corner, giving a settler an opportunity to select
the best land that is open.

Before going to the expense of making a trip to see lands,
call or write to the recorder for the land office in that district
to make sure they are still open. When filings are being made
rapidly in an office they may have been entered since the map
showing them was made.

After examining the land, application may be made in per-
son, or by properly made out application blank, duly certified
by a United States commissioner, a judge, or a clerk of a court
of record living in or near the district, at the United States land
office for the district in which the land is located. All of the
necessary blanks and legal forms required for homesteading will
be supplied by the land office.

After making a formal application for entry a settler is
allowed six months in which to establish residence on the land.
That is, to move on it and take possession.

After he has lived on the land for three years, from the
time he actually takes possession, he is entitled to a patent, which
is equivalent to a deed.

Residence on the land must be actual and not as some people
imagine, merely a pretense. The settler must build some kind of
a suitable residence on the land itself and actually live there.
After establishing his residence, absence of not more than five
months in each year is allowed, providing that upon leaving,
notice of the beginning of such an absence must be filed with the
land office, either in person or in writing. He must also file
notice upon his return, following such a period of absence. Two
such periods cannot be in sequence. He could not leave the first


of August and return the first of January to leave immediately
again for another five months, as there must be a reasonable
period of actual residence between absences and a reasonable
cause for such absence must be explained to the land office.


On a homestead of 160 acres, the law requires that a claim-
ant's cultivation must not be less than one-sixteenth of the area-
of the entry, beginning the second year and not less than one-
eighth of the area beginning the third year and continue cultivat-
ing this much until a patent is obtained.

Under the enlarged homestead laws on 320 acres, the entry-
man is required to cultivate one-eighth of the area the second year
and one- fourth the area after that.


After fourteen months of actual residence on the home-
stead, the entryman may commute his entry by making a cash
payment of $1.25 per acre, providing he has complied with the
other regulations.


A soldier or sailor in the service of the government may
make an entry during enlistment in time of peace, and is not
required personally to live on the land, but may receive a patent
if liis family maintains the necessary residence and cultivation
until the entry is three years old.

A soldier or sailor, who has served our government in time
of war, is entitled to have the time of his military service apply
on a residence on a homestead, providing that he, himself, main-
tains an actual residence for at least one year, and no patent will
be issued until a suitable habitable house has been placed on the
land, and there has been one year's residence and cultivation by
him of at least one year.

A soldier or sailor who is discharged during time of war on
account of wounds or disability incurred in the Tine of duty, can
have credit for the entire time of his enlistment, subject to the
above provision.


Homestead entries can be made by any male citizen of the
United States over twenty-one years ; any unmarried women over
the age of twenty-one ; or foreign born persons who have declared
their intentions to become citizens of the United States.

No person who is already the owner of more than 160 acres
of land is eligible to make an entry, as the homestead laws are


intended to provide homes for those who do not already have

Under certain conditions married women are entitled to
make entry as follows : Where she has been actually deserted by
her husband. Where her husband is incapacitated by disease or
otherwise from earning a support for his family and the wife
is really the head and main support of the family. Where the
husband is confined in a penitentiary and she is actually the
head of the family.

A husband and wife cannot maintain separate residences
on homestead entries. If two persons marry after having made
entry, one or the other must relinquish.

A widow, if otherwise qualified, may make a homestead
entry, notwithstanding the fact that her husband had used his


A settler who complies with the homestead laws of the
United States and actually maintains his home on the land for
three years, is given free title to this land by the government.
His only expense being a nominal fee to the land office to cover
the clerical work, the total of which is as follows :

Filing fee on 160 acres, if within a railroad grant, $22.00;
outside, $16.

Filing fee on 320 acres, if within a railroad grant, $34.00;
outside, $22.00.

Final proof on 160 acres, if within a railroad grant, $12.00 ;
outside, $6.00.

Final proof on 320 acres, if within railroad grant, $24.00;
outside, $12.00.

As the Union Pacific Railway is the only railroad in this
State having a land grant, the larger filing and final proof fees
only apply to lands within twenty miles of this road.


Those considernig filing on a homestead should write to
the United States land office at Washington, D. C., or to any
local United States land office, and request the following publi-
cations, which will be sent without cost:

"Suggestions to Homesteaders."

"The Three- Year Homestead Laws."

"Desert Land Laws and Regulations."

"Timber and Stone Act."

"Isolated Tract Law."

These state fully all the different methods by which title
can be secured to Government lands.


To properly understand the land descriptions in this book,
a careful reading of the following is essential.


The unit of description is a township, six miles square, con-
taining thirty-six sections of 640 acres each.

To properly make use of the descriptions which follow,
they must be used with the Clason Land District Maps, which
show what lands in each township are vacant. In many town-
ships not over forty or eighty acres may be vacant, and that in
the undesirable portions. In other places, practically entire
townships will be found without settlers. Almost every town-
ship described contained some vacant land at the time this book
was prepared.

In writing these descriptions the author has tried to give
in brief, condensed form, the most prominent features of each
township. There are good lands in some townships which in
general are undesirable just as there are poor lands in the best

The township is the unit of the government survey in this
State and reference can be made to any map of Colorado showing
township lines, which should correspond with the descriptions
given here.

Townships are described by township numbers and range
numbers, being a cross numbering system. The township num-
bers run north and south from the point of initiative and the
range numbers east and west.

Colorado is crossed east and west, about twenty miles north
of Denver, by the 40th parallel of latitude. All surveys in this
State, with the exception of the southwestern quarter and a small
area in the Grand valley, are based on the 40th parallel of lati-
tude and the 6th principal meridian of longitude. This may
sound complicated, but it is really simple. For example, all
townships are numbered north and south from the 40th parallel.
Thus township 1 South, would be adjoining it; township 10
South would be sixty miles south of the 40th parallel of latitude ;
which is on the extreme northern boundary of the State, and
or township 10 North, would be sixty miles north.

The township numbers range from 1 North to 12 North,
from 1 South to 35 South, at the extreme southern boundary.

Range numbers are read west from the 6th principal
meridian, which crosses north and south through central Ne-
braska and Kansas. The first range number we have in this



State is Range 41 West on the eastern boundary, thence num-
bered consecutively across the State to Range 104 West.

The above survey covers three-fourths of the State. In
addition to it we have the Ute principal meridian, comprising a
few townships in the center of the Grand valley, around Grand
Junction, this survey having been made before the main sur-
vey had been carried that far westward.

In the southwestern portion of Colorado we have another
survey based on the established survey line of New Mexico. This
survey was carried into the southwestern part of the State be-
fore the main survey was brought across that territory. The
townships read north from the New Mexico base line and start
in this State with number 32 North, at the extreme southern
boundary of this State, numbering thus consecutively north to
51 North, at a point where this survey ties up with Township 15
South, of the main survey. The range numbers from the New
Mexico survey read east and west from the New Mexico guide
Meridian, there being Ranges 1 to 12 East, where the survey con-
nects with Range 73 West, of the main survey and 1 to 20 West,
which takes in the extreme western boundary of the State.

Townships are grouped in the following descriptions by
counties for convenience in locating. Where a township lies

"1 i-


. ,



LJS?5TJtJ_. n " i -A ^



Outline Map of Colorado, Showing What Portions of the State Are Covered
by the Three Different Surveys


partially in one county and partially in another, it is only de-
scribed in one county, usually the one containing the largest
proportion of the township.


In calculating rainfall, the average of records for the past
ten years has been used. It will be found that the rainfall will
vary but slightly from the figures given.

On the eastern plains, extending from the foothills east to
the state line, the rainfall varies from ten to twenty inches an-
nually. In most places the average is at least one inch per month
throughout the year, which is ample moisture, if properly con-
served, for producing crops.

In the mountainous districts the rainfall is seldom under
fifteen inches, varying from that to twenty-five inches, and in
numerous places it runs above twenty-five inches.

On the plains the annual precipitation comes principally
in the form of rains, just when it is needed by the growing crops,
the fall and winter months being comparatively dry. In the
mountains the heaviest precipitation is in the form of snow in
the winter, rain and wet snows in the spring, and rains in the

Growing crops are not injured as quickly by drouth in this
State as at lower altitudes. Hot winds are unknown in Colorado.


In giving the distances from the railroad, the township is
used as the unit and distances are air line distances to the near-
est side of the township.

In the plains section, the distances will correspond fairly
close with the wagon road distances. In the mountainous dis-
tricts the wagon road distances may be considerably more.


Elevation above the sea level varies in this State from about
3,500 feet in the valleys of the Platte and Arkansas rivers to
14,000 feet, at the summit of the highest mountain peaks.

Elevation has a direct effect upon the climate and upon the
production of the crops. The higher the elevation, the longer
the winters and the shorter the summers.

There is practically a true relationship between elevation
and latitude. For example, a thousand feet in elevation is equal
to 100 miles in latitude. For farming purposes, an elevation of
6,000 feet at the southern boundary of Colorado would produce
the same conditions as an elevation of 5,000 feet 100 miles further


Local conditions frequently counteract the effect of eleva-
tion. Many sheltered places in the mountains have a very mild
climate and no late frosts, making them suitable for fruit and
grape culture.

Corn is successfully raised up to an elevation of 5,000 or
6,000 feet. At an elevation of 7,000 feet and up it usually re-
quires hardy varieties of grains to mature. Very little fruit ex-
cepting berries can be matured at above 5,000 feet in elevation.
At the extreme high altitudes of 8,000 and 9,000 feet no crops can
be matured excepting the summer vegetables, hay and fodder.


Settlers who homestead lands having timber on them are
the owners of the timber. It is unlawful to cut timber from the
vacant government lands. In the national forests such lumber
as a settler needs can be cut free of cost by making application
to the local ranger.

In the prairies and in the large valleys there is practically
no timber, excepting a few cottonwoods and willows, which grow
along the streams. The occurrance of timber is usually noted in
the descriptions. If it is not definitely stated that timber occurs,
it is almost certain that there is none.

Land values in the timbered district are estimated accord-
ing to the value of the surface for farming or grazing, without
regard to the value of the timber.


A very large area of the State of Colorado is underlaid
with coal veins. Nearly all lands underlaid with coal are open to
homestead entry, but the settler is not the owner of the coal. His
rights are only for the surface.

Coal is cheap and plentiful, and makes up for the lack of
timber in many parts of the State, furnishing an abundance of

Coal lands must be entered and patented in a different way.
The United States land office will supply circulars describing
how lands can be taken under the coal filing upon request.


The land values are estimated according to the market
price of the raw and unimproved lands in each township. It is
intended that these values be conservative. Bear in mind that
they always refer to vacant lands. For example, a description
may say that most of the township is under irrigation ana the
value is $5 to $12 per acre. The value of irrigated lands is any-
where from $50 up to $200 per acre, and the values given refer
only to the vacant lands.


Values are naturally governed by the distance from a rail-
road and population of the county. In unsettled districts lands
may be quoted at $5 per acre because of the small population
and the little demand ror lands in that section.

It should also be borne in mind that Colorado is very
sparsely settled. This state can readily accommodate five times
as many farmers as are living here today. The demand for
farm lands, locally, is far below what it should be. Our land
values are not more than half what the land should bring.

At the present time the value of Colorado lands is on the
increase. Just a few years ago railroad lands on the plains could
be purchased at $1.25 to $2.50 per acre. These same lands today
cannot be bought for less than $10 to $12 per acre and sometimes
$30 to $40 . Those who get lands here today are getting some-
thing that will increase in value every year. The retired farm-
ers of the Mississippi valley made a large percentage of their for-
tunes through the increase of the value of their lands. Such an
increase is bound to take place in Colorado before this State is
another generation older. It is not absurd that the profits of
one year's crop on a farm will frequently pay the entire purchase
price. That is the condition existing in many localities in


Prairie or plateau lands are generally slightly rolling, unless
specified to be level. If described as rolling or undulating, it

Online LibraryGeorge S. (George Samuel) ClasonFree homestead lands of Colorado described; a handbook for settlers → online text (page 3 of 39)