I"m sorry it took so long since my last letter, but I have been having difficulties here in the land of opportunity. It is a little more difficult than I had anticipated out here in America. I want you to know that the American government encouraged frontier settlement by offering land grants. Remember I told you about those great beneficial policies by the American government, well I have found that it is not as desirable as some had thought, let me tell you about them. .
There was a government policy, the Federal Mining Act of 1872, where miners could buy federal land for $2.50-$5.00 an acre. Miners wouldn"t have to pay royalties on minerals extracted from their land. Sounds good, but the press had exaggerated when they reported miners were scooping up gold by the panful. Mining was not easy, the labor was back-breaking and the equipment to do the job could get expensive. The larger minerals lay buried deep in the earth's soil and to extract those minerals it would take expensive equipment to dig down deep. There was no policy, or grants to help me or the average American with acquiring that equipment. So the large mining company would eventually take over because they had the equipment to do the job. .
Many people were attracted to agriculture because of the Homestead Act of 1862. This policy gave 160 acres of free land to anyone who paid a ten-dollar registration fee. Now that was a great price, but the soil was tough, so you would need more land for farming and the rich soiled areas were hard to come by. In 1873, the Timber Culture Act went into effect and that gave an a 160 additional acres to these land owners just so long as they planted trees on 40 of the acres. It was difficult to manage water for the farming and the trees, with little rainfall, so water-wells were need to irrigate. There would even be droughts in the wells from time to time. With the expensive equipment, and tough seasons farmers were over-worked and began to weigh the worth while.