An Account of Starting a South Dakota Homestead

John and Lillian Sherk staked a claim for a South Dakota homestead and did the best with what they were given.


| Good Old Days



Why would my parents claim land? My mother's answer was, "Why not?" She and my father were young; they wanted to get ahead. Adventure itself was a lure. And my father had a longing for land, a longing that was to stay with him all of his life. He was destined for a South Dakota homestead.

So they filed on land near Nolan, South Dakota, in 1907, and set forth with their two children to live their adventure.

Some years later my mother wrote about their arrival at the claim:

"In our hired wagon we set out from Pierre and we drove for miles over the hills without seeing a sign of human life. The hills were not enormous, but just rolling, rolling green land.

"To file a claim it was necessary to sign a contract with the government to take 160 acres and make them 'home.' A house must be built, a well dug, a certain number of acres plowed and a certain number of acres fenced in. We had two choices in obtaining the final deed: We could stay eight months and then pay some cash; or we could stay two years and pay no cash. We planned to stay the shorter time.

"Across the lonely land we drove, for hours and hours, and then suddenly there was our home!





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