The first postcard I'm sharing with you today happens to be the oldest postcard in my Engle Family Postcard collection. As you can see, it is dated July 22, 1904 and was addressed to Mrs. R. Engle, (W) Sioux Falls, S. D.
Mrs. R. Engle was Mrs. Sarah Amanda (Waterman) Engle, my maternal 2nd great-grandaunt.
Here's the transcription from front of the postcard:
Dear Mother -
Registered within 15 minutes after I struck the town.
W.B.E.This postcard was from Sarah Amanda's son William Barker Engle (W.B.E.).
So, why was William in Yankton, South Dakota and what was he registering for?
I did some research to find out what this postcard was about and this is what I found.
On May 13, 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt signed a Proclamation. The Proclamation was titled Proclamation 526 - Opening of Sioux Lands of the Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota. You can read the Proclamation by clicking HERE.
In essence, and according to this Proclamation, an agreement was made between the Sioux Indian tribe on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota and a United States Indian Inspector named James McLaughlin. This agreement was approved by Congress on April 23, 1904. In this agreement, the Sioux Indian tribe relinquished their claim to about 382,000 acres of unallotted lands to the United States of America.
On August 8, 1904 at 9:00 am, these lands were opened under the homestead and townsite laws of the United States of America.
There was a procedure put into place for those interested in acquiring these lands. And it went as follows:
Beginning on July 5, 1904 at 9:00 am, and ending on July 23, 1904 at 6:00 pm, a registration was held at Chamberlain, Yankton, Bonesteel, and Fairfax in South Dakota for those who were interested in these lands.
Qualified registrants were eligible for a drawing which began on July 28 1904. The drawing determined the order in which qualified registrants would be able to enter the homestead lands following the opening of said lands in Gregory County.
It looks like William B. Engle registered in the nick of time for the drawing, as he arrived on July 22, a day before the registration period ended.
Thousands of people registered for these homestead lands. I found an interesting newspaper article in the California Digital Newspaper Collection website stating just how many people registered. The following article is from The San Francisco Call, Volume 96, Number 51, 21 July 1904.
|The San Francisco Call, Volume 96, Number 51, 21 July 1904|
California Digital Newspaper Collection,
Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research,
University of California, Riverside, <http://cdnc.ucr.edu>
According to this article, before William B. Engle even had a chance to register, 46,670 people had already registered! Wow! And since he registered a day later than when this paper was published, the number was likely even larger than the stated 46,670 people.
There are two questions that I don't have an answer for at this point:
- Was William's name picked in the drawing?
- Was William B. Engle registering for himself, or as an agent for his Civil War veteran father, Richard Engle?
I saw a picture online that showed the Janousek & Bruhn Photography Studio on a street in Yankton, South Dakota. If you'd like to see that picture, click HERE.
I also thought it would be interesting to crop some of the pictures from the collage and share those here too. They show the long lines of people waiting to register for these homestead lands.
The following poem was included in this collage of pictures.
Isn't it amazing how much a postcard can teach us about historical events?
I will be sharing more of these amazing Engle Family Postcards in future posts.
Thanks for reading!
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