Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

borders could take up and locate the land. The states that did not have this public land were issued scrip, representing land acreage. The state receiving this scrip could not locate land in another state, but it could sell this scrip to individuals, and the purchaser might take up government lands in any state.

Had every state handled this matter as well as it might, the foundation for almost self-sustaining educational institutions might have been laid everywhere. In many cases land and scrip were bartered away for next to nothing. Within fifty years these lands were selling at from $50 to $100 an acre. In fact, the apparent lack of foresight with which the matter was handled was responsible for the demand for more federal money, which led to the Second Morrill Act of 1890.

The market was flooded with this land scrip. Many of the states disposed of their scrip at less than $1 an acre. Indiana received $212,238.50 for its 390,000 acres. Louisiana sold its 209,920 acres at 87 cents an acre. Maine sold its scrip, representing 210,000 acres, for $116,359.20. Tennessee sold its scrip for a little more than 90 cents an acre. So it went, almost without exception, throughout the entire list of states receiving scrip.

But there was one big exception and that exception was Cornell University. Ezra Cornell, a benefactor of Cornell College for whom Cornell University was later named, saw New York's land scrip, representing 989,920 acres, being sold out at a little more than 50 cents an acre. Of course no state could of itself locate lands in another state, but there was nothing to prevent an individual from doing 80. Mr. Cornell made a contract with the state to buy this scrip and locate the land. He located 500,000 acres of the finest timberlands in Wisconsin. Up to July 1, 1921, the total endowment from the sale of lands amounted to $5,737,698.04, with 280 acres of land still remaining unsold.

The states that were able to locate the lands within their own domain did much better as a rule than the states

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

receiving the scrip. That was because they could hold the lands until they would bring a better price. Those that held their land the longest naturally were able to secure the largest endowment. The states entering the Union later, and for which provision for similar grants of land was made, tended to keep their lands, rather than the money derived from them, as in the cases of Idaho and Arizona.

Kansas derived $491,746 from the sale of 82,315 acres of land. A deficit of 7,686 acres was made up by Congress in 1907 and this remains unsold. Iowa received $592,463.46 and none of its land remains unsold. It must be remembered that the representation of the western states in Congress was by no means equal to that of the eastern states, and consequently their respective land grants were smaller. But so much better did they handle things that the total amount of endowment received by many western states exceeded that of apparently more fortunate eastern states. The consideration of Nebraska's record in handling its educational land grant will be left until later.


Agricultural Education. International Encyclopedia, 1918. Agricultural Education. Monroe's Cyclopedia of Education, 1911.

ANDREWS, BENJAMIN F. The Land Grant of 1862 and the Land

Grant Colleges. Bulletin No. 13, 1918, of the United States
Bureau of Education.

JAMES, EDMUND J. The Origin of the Land-Grant Act of 1862.

University Studies, Vol. IV, No. 1, University of Illinois, Urbana,
Ill. 1910.

TRUE, A. C. and CLARK, V. A. Agricultural Experiment Stations in

the United States. United States Department of Agriculture, 1900.




A HISTORY of the Agricultural College of Nebraska is

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

From the earliest years to the present day the two have been inseparably connected. The Agricultural College was established as one of the colleges of the University, later, in 1877, being incorporated in the Industrial College, and still later, in 1909, again becoming a separate college of the University, the College of Agriculture.

The University and Agricultural College received their endowment from two sources. The Enabling Act of 1864, providing for the state's admission into the Union, declared that seventy-two sections (46,080 acres) should be “set apart and reserved for the use and support of a state university, and to be appropriated and applied as the Legislature may prescribe.” The Land Grant Act of 1862, referred to in our preceding chapter, allotted 30,000 acres of land to each state for each representative and senator in Congress, for the purpose of "endowment, support, and maintenance of at least one college, where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts."

An act of 1866 provided "that when any Territory shall become a State and be admitted into the Union such new State shall be entitled to the benefits of the said act of July 2, 1862, by expressing the acceptance therein required within three years from the date of its admission into the Union, and providing the college or colleges within five years after such acceptance." Under the Land Grant Act of 1862 Nebraska was entitled to 90,000 acres, making a




total of 136,080 acres available for the support of a university and agricultural college. Nebraska was admitted as a state on March 1, 1867.



February 15, 1869 marks the establishment of the University. It was on this day, now known as Charter Day in the history of the University, that the Nebraska Legislature passed definite legislation for its establishment. Before this time, however, the Legislature had had in mind the establishment of a University. In an act of the Legislature, approved June 14, 1867, authorizing the selection of 640 acres for the site of the capital city, there was this provision:

"The State University and State Agricultural College shall be united as one educational institution, and shall be located upon a reservation selected by said Commissioners, in said “Lincoln,' and the necessary buildings shall be erected thereon as soon as funds can be secured by the sale of lands donated to the State for the purposes or from other sources.”

In the summer of 1867 the site for the city of Lincoln was selected and four blocks in the north part of the town were set aside for the University. Under the United States law the land grant of the Government had to be accepted within three years after the admission of the state. So Governor Butler in his message of January 9, 1869 had called attention to the necessity of taking immediate action for the organization of the University and Agricultural College.

The Act of February 15, 1869 provided “that there shall be established in this state an institution under the name and style of 'The University of Nebraska.' The object of such institution shall be to afford to the inhabitants of this State, the means of acquiring a thorough knowledge of the various branches of literature, science and the arts."

The Legislature was certainly ambitious enough for the

University, for no less than six colleges and some fifty "chairs" or professorships were established. There was to be a College of Ancient and Modern Literature, Mathematics and the Natural Sciences; a College of Agriculture; a College of Law; a College of Medicine; a College of Practical Science, Civil Engineering and Mechanics; and a College of Fine Arts. In the College of Ancient and Modern Literature, Mathematics and the Natural Sciences there were to be two chairs of ancient languages, two chairs of modern languages, a chair of rhetoric, oratory and logic, a chair of history and geography, a chair of philosophy of the human mind, a chair of moral philosophy, a chair of natural theology and the history of all religions, a chair of the mathematics, a chair of natural philosophy, a chair of chemistry, and a chair of political economy.

In the College of Agriculture there were to be a chair of applied chemistry, a chair of botany, a chair of agriculture, a chair of horticulture, a chair of meteorology and climatology, a chair of veterinary surgery, and a superintendent of the model farm.

The ambitious nature of this program was somewhat tempered by the provision that the regents should fill only such chairs in the College of Ancient and Modern Literature, Mathematics and the Natural Sciences, the College of Agriculture, and the College of Practical Science, Civil Engineering and Mechanics as the wants of the institution should demand. They might require the professors to serve in more than one department or college, until the students increased to sufficient numbers. This law also provided that "no new professorship shall be established without the authority of the Legislature.” The College of Fine Arts was not to be established until the annual income of the University Fund reached $100,000.

For the College of Agriculture, there was this additional provision:

“The Governor shall set apart two sections of any Agricultural College land, or Saline land [the salt lands in the early days were

« PreviousContinue »