In September 1850 Congress passed the Donation Land Claim Act which granted land to "certain white settlers and Indians of mixed blood" who emigrated to Oregon between December 1850 and December1853 and agreed to stay on the land for four years. The number of acres granted depended on marital status: 640 acres to a married couple, 160 acres to a single white male over the age of 21, and 320 acres to a single male who married one year after arrival (with half going to his wife).
The Butler and other pioneer families that came to Monmouth and Polk County in the early 1850, 1852 and 1853 were no doubt motivated in part because of free land.
Further information about land records can be obtained at the Oregon State Archives (consult the Federal Records under Land Records); and the Polk County Courthouse in Dallas.
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