The Homestead Act was a federal law that gave an applicant up to 160 acres of undeveloped federal land. The law required that the person file an application, improve the land, and file for a deed. The applicant had to be at least 21 years old and had to live on the land for 5 years. The original act was signed into law in 1862. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 ended homesteading.
Daniel Shively of Merrick County, Nebraska was one applicant who did receive 160 acres from the Homestead Act. Daniel applied for the land on May 11, 1892 and was granted the acreage on April 24, 1899. The land granted was the NW quarter of Section 20 in Township 15N of Range 6W of the 6 Principal Meridian.
The applicant had to satisfy the requirements and also had to provide statements from others who knew him and could verify his claim. The publisher of the local newspaper had to prove that notice to the witnesses had been made public. For Daniel Shively's claim, G W Beard publisher of the Central City Nonpareil in Central City, Nebraska gave proof of the notification. The notice ran for 6 weeks, from 16-March-1899 to 20-April-1899. The legal notice stated "Notice for Publication, Land Office at Lincoln, NEB, March 11, 1899: Notice is hereby given that the following named settler has filed notice of his intention to make final proof in support of his claim, and that said proof will be made before the County Judge at Central City, Neb., on April 22, 1899, viz: Daniel Shively H. E. 18304 for the nw 1/4 sec. 20, tp. 15, range 6 W. He names the following witnesses to prove his continuous residence upon and cultivation of said land, viz: Henry O. Gay, of Central City, Neb.; David H. Johnston, of Central City, Neb.; Charles O. Gregg, of Central City, Neb.; Clark Newcomer, of Central City, Neb. J. W. Johnson, Register Documented in the archives are the testimonies of David H. Johnston and Charles O. Gregg.
The applicant had to answer 21 questions regarding the claim. From the questions it is learned that Daniel Shively was 36 years old (born in 1863) and had a family which consisted of a wife and one child. He first made settlement on the land on 11-May-1892 and established a residence there on 1-October-1892. He states part of the house was built before 1892 and the rest in the fall of 1898. He claims improvements to the land consisting of the frame residence worth $200, graineries, corn cubs and about five acres of trees. Daniel states he had fifty five acres of land broken and had raised corn and small grains each year.
Daniel Shively is recorded on the 1880 Merrick County census in the household of his father, Henry Shively. From the census report is learned: Clarksville precinct Henry Shively age 48, widowed, born in Ohio, son William B age 20 born in Indiana, daughter Rosanna age 18 born in Indiana, son Daniel age 17 born in Indiana, son George W age 14 born in Iowa, and daughter Elizabeth M age 9 born in Iowa. It is known that Henry Shively was married 1st to Elizabeth Ann Richards who is buried in the Bureau Cemetery in Merrick County. Henry Shively married 2nd Virginia A. Giels on 1-May-1883.
Daniel Shively was married to Rhoda Consada "Sada" Sowl on 16-October-1895 in South Bend, Cass County, Nebraska. He is listed on the 1900 Merrick County, Mead Township census: Daniel Shively age 36, born April 1863 with wife Sadie R born February 1879 and son Lester F born February 1898. Daniel and Sada Shively had at least one other son, Harold S. Shively born 1906. Daniel, Sada and Lester are buried in the Bureau Cemetery in Merrick County, Nebraska.