1904 Dominion Lands - Interim Homestead Receipt for Yorkton Assiniboia

Settler John Henderson from Powassan Ontario.

Stamped 'Dominion Land Office June 8 1904 Yorkton, Assa'. Yorkton was in the Provisional District of Assiniboia, North West Territories, which in 1905 became Saskatchewan.

Parcel of land being paid for located:

NE Quarter of Section 20, Township 36 Range 17 West of 2 Meridian.

Signed by Peakes, Local Agent.

Printed note that all minerals under the land belong to His Majesty.

Folded horizontally and vertically. Couple of tears at bottom and right side of main fold. Some browning along folds.

 

In 1871, the Canadian government entered into Treaties to obtain the consent of the indigenous nations from the territories set out respectively in each Treaty. The Treaties provided for the taking up of lands "for immigration and settlement". The Dominion Lands Act  was an 1872 Canadian law that aimed to encourage the settlement of the Canadian Prairies, and to help prevent the area being claimed by the United States. In order to settle the area, Canada invited mass emigration by European and American pioneers, as well as settlers from eastern Canada. It echoed the American homestead system by offering ownership of 160 acres of land free (except for a small registration fee) to any man over 18 or any woman heading a household. They did not need to be British subjects, but had to live on the plot and improve it.

Unlike in eastern Canada, the federal government had assumed control over public lands and natural resources in most of western Canada. The Act originally applied to the province of Manitoba and to the Northwest Territories. Upon the creation of the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta from the Northwest Territories, the Act continued to apply to them.

The act gave a claimant (160 acres, or 65 hectares) for free, the only cost to the farmer being a $10 administration fee. Any male farmer who was at least 21 years of age and agreed to cultivate at least 40 acres (16 ha) of the land and build a permanent dwelling on it (within three years) qualified. This condition of "proving up the homestead" was instituted to prevent speculators from gaining control of the land.

Large-scale immigration to the prairies did not get underway until 1896. Overall, about 478,000 square kilometres (118,000,000 acres) of land were given away by the government under the Dominion Lands Act.

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