Determined to be Homesteaders: A Descriptive Analysis of the Homestead Records of Single Women Who Purchased Volunteer Bounty Land in Saskatchewan

Sandra Rollings-Magnusson

Abstract


Under the land regulations set out by the Canadian government in 1871, single women were not eligible to obtain a free homestead of 160 acres in the western Canadian prairie region.  Rather, their male counterparts, those who were eighteen years of age and older, were deemed to be acceptable candidates and entitled to qualify for the quarter-sections.  However, by 1908, single women finally obtained an opportunity to register for homestead land, follow the homestead regulations, and gain title to property. This was done through The Volunteer Bounty Act of 1908.  While the primary purpose of this Act was to benefit Canadian soldiers who had volunteered and fought in South Africa in the Boer War (1899-1902) by granting them 320 acres of free homestead land in the western prairie region, the Act allowed soldiers to name a substitute; that is, any adult individual who would assume full responsibility for the property and follow homestead regulations. In many cases, the purchasers of these lands were women. Given this unique and innovative way for women to obtain homestead land, this paper will provide a descriptive analysis of the efforts made by single Saskatchewan women in their pursuit of gaining title to their own land.

 


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Canadian Journal of Family and Youth / Le Journal Canadien de Famille et de la Jeunesse
2008-2014 | ISSN 1718-9748