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ERIC Number: EJ864807
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0275-7664
"Daughters of British Blood" or "Hordes of Men of Alien Race": The Homesteads-for-Women Campaign in Western Canada
Carter, Sarah
Great Plains Quarterly, v29 n4 p267-286 Fall 2009
In May 1910 Mildred Williams, a young teacher in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, made headlines across Western Canada for her pluck and stamina as she waited for twelve days and nights on a chair on the stairs outside the door of the land office in Saskatoon to claim a homestead. She was determined to file on a half-section (320 acres) of valuable land near Kindersley. Williams put up with a great deal of inconvenience during her days and nights on the stairs. Her vigil was worth the wait: she successfully filed on land that she estimated would be worth ten thousand dollars in three years. What was most remarkable about her achievement was that Williams was a single woman, and single women were not permitted to homestead under Canada's Dominion Lands Act. A homestead system patterned to a great extent on the 1862 U.S. Homestead Act permitted all males over the age of twenty-one (later eighteen) to enter on a homestead for a ten-dollar fee. Fulfillment of residence and cultivation duties on the homestead during a three-year "proving up" period earned the entrant the title or patent to the land. In both nations married women were prohibited from homesteading, but the Canadian land laws departed from the U.S. model in one important respect: single women were not eligible to homestead. Under the U.S. Homestead Act of 1862, anyone who was the head of a family or over the age of twenty-one could homestead, regardless of gender. In Western Canada, women were eligible only if they qualified as a "sole" head of household with a dependent child or children.
Center for Great Plains Studies. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1155 Q Street, Hewit Place, P.O. Box 880214, Lincoln, NE 68588-0214. Tel: 402-472-3082; Fax: 402-472-0463; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada; United States