Last updated: September 24, 2023
Peter Clark traveled to the land office in New Orleans on October 15, 1887 to apply for 159.33 acres of land under the Homestead Act of 1862 in the little town of Maurepas in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. Most of his land was piney woods.
For several years Peter Clark cleared five of the 159.33 acres of land to build a house, outhouse and, grow an assortment of crops to sustain and support his family. He had a network of family and friends who resided near him throughout the seven years he was required to live on the land to help him.
He asked the following individuals to serve as witnesses to testify on his behalf Charles Baptiste, Henry Tinkshell, Marshall Douglas, Alfred Robinson and Ida and Robert Benefield.
The Southland newspaper published a notice for six consecutive weeks beginning October 17, 1894 to ensure that the entire community knew that Peter was in the final process of officially acquiring the land under the under the Homestead Act of 1862. On October 15, 1895, Peter submitted proof to the land office in New Orleans that he had complied with the homesteader’s rules for settlers.
Although, Peter was able to give his final testimony, he almost missed his final filing date because he had a difficult time raising money to pay for his transportation to New Orleans and other expenses. He pleaded his case as documented in his land entry file #9590 as follows:
Land Office New Orleans, Louisiana “Before me the undersigned authority, personally came and appeared Peter Clark who being by me first duty sworn, deposes and says that he is the identical person who made Homestead Entry No 9590 on April 25, 1887; that the seven years in which homesteaders are required to make Proof in support of their entries expired in his case on April 25, 1894 and his final Proof made this day in support of his said Entry #9590 is not within the statutory period. That he is a very poor man and that until today he has not been able to get money to pay the cost of making proof and this is the earliest day he had the money. That he has lived on and cultivated his land in good faith for over ten (10) years and it would work a great hardship, were he deprived of his entry. Wherefore, he prays that his Proof be accepted passed, his Final Certificate Receipt issue thereon and that he may receive Patent on his said entry after the necessary formalities in the provisos- Sworn to and subscribed Peter x Clarkhis MarkBefore me A.D., 1894 G.McD Brumby – Register”
After pleading his case, Peter Clark received his Homestead Land patent in 1896 and he resided on this land until his death in 1909. The 1900 US Census officially listed Peter Clark as a farmer residing on land that he owned with his wife (Rebecca Youngblood), two children and two grandchildren
~ Contributed by Bernice Bennett, descendant
About Bernice Alexander Bennett
Bernice Alexander Bennett is the great-great granddaughter of Louisiana homesteader Peter Clark. She is also an award-winning author, genealogist, nationally recognized guest speaker, storyteller, producer-host of the popular Research at the National Archives and Beyond BlogTalkRadio program, Citizen’s Archivist with the National Archives, and on the Board of Directors for the National Genealogical Society. Bennett, a New Orleans native and current resident in Maryland--enjoyed a 35-year career in domestic and international public health. She received an undergraduate degree from Grambling State University and a graduate degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan. Her genealogical research centers on Southeast Louisiana, and also Edgefield and Greenwood Counties, South Carolina.