Descendants of Utah homesteaders sought by Park Service

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – The National Park Service is looking for descendants of the country’s original homesteaders, who were granted 160 acres of free land in the 1800s.The service is recruiting volunteers to participate in two events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Homestead Act of 1862. The Homestead National Monument in Beatrice, Neb., will hold a commemorative celebration May 20 and a parade June 16.Officials are seeking a volunteer from each of the 30 homestead states to carry their state flag at the celebration. The service says Utah had nearly 17,000 homesteaders whose claims covered 7 percent of the state’s land mass.Homesteading was halted in 1976 except in Alaska, where it continued until 1986. Homestead grants were made in the Midwest, all states west of the Mississippi River except for Texas, and in some southern states.

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