“Stand on the Rights of the Company and Make a Square Fight of It”

Richard J. Orsi

in Sunset Limited

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780520200197
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940864 | DOI:
“Stand on the Rights of the Company and Make a Square Fight of It”

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This chapter talks about the land-grants given by the Southern Pacific, and looks at squatterism and the land-grant myths. These myths were exaggerated and misinterpreted accounts of the significance of railway land grants in the American West. The chapter studies several major and interrelated elements of them. This is followed by a section on the Land Department Organization, which was established by the four leaders of the Southern Pacific. This organization was the first of their railway interests to acquire a land grant. The chapter then identifies the problems in acquiring and defending reliable patents, and looks at the development of a land-management and sales program aimed at building traffic for its lines. The credit and leasing programs of the Company, the conflicts that arose from the confused government processing of land patents, and squatterism are discussed in the final sections of the chapter.

Keywords: land grants; squatterism; land-grant myths; Land Department Organization; railway interests; credit programs; leasing programs; land patents

Chapter.  11621 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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