Some acquired land only to resell it and make money. Others homesteaders, like Lorenzo Merry, were leaving trouble behind. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act and created opportunity for the 372,000 families that poured onto the prairies. The families came for many reasons – a hunger for land, a vision for the future, a longing for adventure, or an interest in profit. Some failed. Some scraped by. Some succeeded.
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