This Noble Moses P. Kinkaid

On April 28, 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt signed a bill sponsored by Moses P. Kinkaid of O’Neill, which allowed homesteaders to claim 640 acres of land in certain parts of western Nebraska where smaller farms were impractical. Most of the new farmers, called Kinkaiders, had higher hopes than they ever had profits. “The Kinkaider Comes and Goes,” the title of a 1930 article by Mari Sandoz, telegraphs the end of the story. Still, the Kinkaid Act brought many people and and some permanent settlement to the Sandhills. And enough stuck around long enough to create a song, later collected by Nebraska folklorist Louise Pound:


You ask what place I like the best

The sand hills, O the old sand hills

The place Kinkaiders make their home

And prairie chickens freely roam

In all Nebraska’s wide domain

Tis the place we long to see again

The sand hills are the very best

She is queen of all the rest

The corn we raise is our delight

The melons too are out of sight

Potatoes grown are extra fine

And can’t be beat in any clime

The peaceful cows in pastures dream

And furnish us with golden cream

So I shall keep my Kinkaid home

And never far away shall roam

Then let us all with hearts sincere

Thank him for what has brought us here

And for the homestead law he made

This noble Moses P. Kinkaid

To read more about visionary and 10-times-elected U.S. Congressman Moses P. Kinkaid  click here:

To see the brick and sandstone building in O’Neill where Kinkaid practiced law, now part of the Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey, click here:

To find out more about the long-term effects of the Kinkaid and other acts, click here for Francis Moul’s, “The Biggest Partner: The Federal Government and Sioux County, Nebraska,” Nebraska History 80 (1999): 150-165.

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