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APRIL 2003
10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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North Forty name rooted in history

The term "north forty," from which this paper takes its name, has agricultural roots tied to the Homestead Act of 1862. The Homestead Act allowed for the transfer of 160 acres (a quarter section) of unoccupied public land to each homesteader on payment of a nominal fee after five years of residence or a fee of $1.25 an acre after six months of residence.

Homesteads were generally laid out in four quarters on a north, south, east and west square of 40 acres each. "North forty" was a reference to the northern most block of the homesteader's property. Subsequently, rural people referred to property as the "north forty," the "south forty" or even the "back forty." It does not always mean an actual 40 acres--it could be more, or it could be less. Hence, the North Forty News--reaching the northernmost part of Larimer County and covering acres and acres of people and places!

- David M. Knotts


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