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Note by Gem - Famed 'Woodchopper' Note

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The central vignette of a man holding an axe, his wife holding their baby, the family dog in the backdrop of a small log cabin provides a pleasant reminder of whats important.


While likely of only modest means they appear content but not complacent. Looking well into the distance suggests that their may be greater possibilities that lay ahead.


In the lower left corner pictured is Andrew Jackson. A fitting choice as 'Old Hickory', nicknamed so for his toughness is known to have represented the common man.


Today I'll share two notes. The First is an 1880 Fr. 81. The second is a 1907 last in the Fr number 92. This is the 'finest known' Fr. 92 note graded by PMG Pop 1.


Post civil war an underlying theme of 19th century dealt with westward expansion.


I've talked about the theme in my 'bison' posting and we see the same the same theme again in the 'woodchopper' note.


By circulating these 'pioneer' notes in millions of people hands it would help promote a culture of westward movement.


Signed into law in May 1862, the Homestead Act opened up settlement in the western United States, allowing any American, including freed slaves, to put in a claim for up to 160 free acres of federal land.

Eventually, 1.6 million individual claims would be approved; nearly ten percent of all government held property for a total of 420,000 square miles of territory.


The Homestead Act of 1862 provided that any adult citizen (or person intending to become a citizen) who headed a family could qualify for a grant of 160 acres of public land by paying a small registration fee and living on the land continuously for five years.

If the settler was willing to pay $1.25 an acre, he could obtain the land after only six months' residence.


By the end of the Civil War, fifteen thousand homestead claims had been established , and more followed in the postwar years.


In the words of the great Abraham Lincoln who signed the Act in Law It is the purpose of our government "to elevate the condition of men, to lift artificial burdens from all shoulders and to give everyone an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life."

-President Abraham Lincoln, July 4, 1861.


it allowed nearly any man or woman, immigrant or freed slave a "fair chance." It's this 'fair chance' that celebrated an honored on the pioneer note.


The economic, agricultural, and social stability generated by the Homestead Act was utterly inconceivable in other times and places -- and formed a large part of the foundation of American prosperity in the 20th century.










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