Types of Land Patents
Cash Entry: An entry that covered public lands for which the individual paid cash or its equivalent.
Credits: These patents were issued to anyone who either paid by cash at the time of sale and received a discount; or paid by credit in installments over a four-year period. If full payment were not received within the four-year period, title to the land would revert back to the Federal Government.
Homestead: A Homestead allowed settlers to apply for up to 160 acres of public land if they lived on it for five years and proof of cultivation. This land did not cost anything per acre, but the settler did pay a filing fee.
Indian Patents: Under the general Allotment Act of February 8, 1887, and certain specific laws for named tribes, allotments of land on reservations were made to individual Native Americans residing on the land. There are two kinds of patents that allowed resale by the Native Americans:
- Indian Trust Patents were issued and held in trust for a period of twenty-five years. When the twenty-five years expired a direct sale of the land could be made.
- Indian Fee Patent was the actual title to the property of land entirely owned by an individual and their heirs.
Military Warrants: From 1788 to 1855 the United States granted military bounty land warrants as a reward for military service. These warrants were issued in various denominations and based upon the rank and length of service.
Mineral Certificates: The General Mining Law of 1872 defined mineral lands as a parcel of land containing valuable minerals in its soil and rocks. There were three kinds of mining claims:
- Lode Claims contained gold, silver or other precious metals occurring in veins;
- Placer Claims are for minerals not found in veins; and
- Mill Site Claims are limited to lands that do not contain valuable minerals. Up to five acres of public land may be claimed for the purpose of processing minerals.
Private Land Claims: A claim based on the assertion that the claimant (or his predecessors in interest) derived his right while the land was under the dominion of a foreign government.
Railroad: To aid in the construction of certain railroads. The Act of September 20, 1850, granted to the State alternate sections of public land on either side of the rail lines and branches.
State Selection: Each new State admitted to the Union was granted 500,000 acres of public land for internal improvements established under the Act of September 4, 1841.
Swamp: Under the Act of September 28, 1850, lands identified as swamp and overflowed lands unfit for cultivation was granted to the States. Once accepted by the State, the Federal Government had no further jurisdiction over the parcels.
Town Sites: An area of public lands which has been segregated for disposal as an urban development, often subdivided in blocks, which are further subdivided into town lots.
Town Lots: May be regular or irregular in shape and its acreage varies from that of regular subdivisions.