My name is Elizabeth, I’m 15 and I’m moving to the West with my family. We are going there for something called the Homestead Act. The Homestead Act is when you get 160 acres of land for free for 5 years. During the 5 years, you must grow crops. But my father is going to the West for mining gold. It’s May 8th, 1861. Tomorrow my family and I leave for the West. We are going by railroad. It will be my first time going on the railroad. I’m so excited yet nervous. I heard that it’s a Transcontinental Railroad. That means that it’s a railroad that spans the continent.
May 9th, 1861
Man: “So what are you on this train for?”
Me: “Moving to the West. My family is getting a big house with 160 acres of land for free and my dads going to be a miner.” Man: “Oh, the Homestead Act!”
Me: “Yeah. What are you here for?”
Man: “Gold mining of course! I wanna strike gold and become rich!” Me: “Well, I have to go now so good luck and safe traveling.” Man: “Good luck and safe trip to you too!”
24 hours later
My family and I are now in the West. The train ride was actually not that bad. But now we’re going to our house. Momma and poppa say it’s a big house. My older brother, Frank whose 19, might either stay with momma and I or go mining with poppa and my little sister, Sally whose 5, is staying with momma and I. I’m so excited that we’re here. It’s beautiful here. The fields, the land, everything!
Now we’re at the house. It’s beautiful. And it’s really big and the land is beautiful. It’s like living a dream: fields of blue grass, beautiful blue skies, white puffy clouds. At night, I plan on laying outside in the fields and just watching the starts twinkle like little diamonds. I’m so happy to be here and I’m really excited to be spending the next 5 years and to start a new life in the West with my family.