The New Student's Reference Work/Pre-Emption
Pre-Emp′tion. Under the laws of the United States, an actual settler on the public lands enjoys the right, in preference to any one else, of purchasing at a fixed price the land on which he has settled, to the extent of 160 acres. In the case of offered lands, the settler must file his declaratory statement within 30 days after entry, and within a year proof must be made of settlement and cultivation and the land paid for at $1.25 per acre if outside the limits of a railroad grant or $2.50 if within such limits. If the tract settled on is unoffered, an approved plan of the township must first be received at the district land-office; the statement must then be filed within three months; and final proof and payment must be made within 30 months thereafter. Title to land is thus obtained much sooner than under the homestead laws; but a homestead settler may at any time after six months purchase the land under the pre-emption laws; as, on the other hand, the holder of a pre-emption claim may convert it into a homestead. See Homestead Laws.