Sod Houses


Mattie's Story, History, Daily Life

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In 1862, The United States government passed the Homestead Act, which opened up much of the West for settlement by U.S. Citizens. Land taken from American Indians-- by means of war, treaties, and trading--was declared "public domain." Signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, The Homestead Act of 1862 made it possible for many people to own land for the first time in their lives.

This is the story of one woman who, with her husband and young daughter, left Indiana to start a homestead in Nebraska. Mattie Oblinger and her family left a treasure trove of letters, enabling us to gain some insight into her life, and the lives of many others who made a similar journey to become sod house pioneers in the American West.

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