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Homestead Act Commemorations Continue

Homestead National Monument of America

National Park News

On December 30th, Homestead National Monument of America paid tribute to the 150th anniversaries of both the Homestead Act and the Emancipation Proclamation. 

Dr. Ken Winkle from the University of Nebraska shared some of his vast knowledge about the Emancipation Proclamation with a crowd of around 200.  The 4th Artillery Regimental Civil War Band from Denver, Colorado, also played and taught dance lessons to the crowd.  Around 70 people learned the dances of that time period. 

Near the end of their concert, Darrel Draper, portraying the first homesteader, Daniel Freeman, burst into the party to find the land office agent to reenact the filing of the first Homestead claim.  Jaimie Ulmer, director of the Beatrice Community Players, portrayed Richard Barrett, the General Land Office agent. 

This reenactment was based on family stories of Daniel Freeman interrupting a New Year’s Eve party in Brownville, Nebraska Territory, to find the land agent and file the first claim at midnight on January 1, 1863. Darrel Draper completed the afternoon with a portrayal of Daniel Freeman. 

This event was the bridge to the second year of commemorations of the 150th anniversary of the Homestead Act, with 2013 being the “The Year of the Homesteader.” This year will focus on the people who homesteaded.  

The event was funded through partnerships with Main Street Beatrice, the Hevelone Foundation, and the Nebraska Humanities Council.


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