Hannah Haksgaard

Hannah Haksgaard

Topics: American Old West, History, Law and Governance, South Dakota, Women

Community: Vermillion

Program Types: Speakers Bureau, Virtual Program(s)

hannah.haksgaard@usd.edu | 605-661-9026

Including Unmarried Women in the Homestead Act of 1862
This program will talk about the congressional debates leading up to the passage of the Homestead Act of 1862 with a focus on why Congress decided to give unmarried women the right to homestead. It will discuss women’s rights as well as the democratic process.

Women’s Lived Experiences Under the Homestead Laws
This program will talk about how women made strategic decisions in their lives based on the laws surrounding homesteading. The Homestead Act of 1862 required specific steps and listed particular qualifications. Women were savvy and took actions to make sure they would qualify to get land, including by delaying marriage.

Deserted Wives and Homesteading Rights
This program will cover a sub-set of female homesteaders: deserted wives. These are women who came west to homestead with their husbands, but then the husbands abandoned the homestead and marriage. The legal rights of deserted wives were unclear under the Homestead Act, and this program will cover how these women successfully made legal and factual arguments to gain ownership of homesteads.

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