The Great American Desert proved to be fertile farmland which attracted thousands to Dakota Territory. The Homestead Law allowed ownership for a modest filing fee along with residency and improvements to the land. Among the many Germans, Norwegians and other northern Europeans was an Irishman who came to the Minot area to take advantage of this liberal law. The Irish were noted for their gambling spirit, and perhaps the Homestead Law could be considered North Dakota’s first gambling law, for this Irishman wrote home encouraging his friends and family to come to Dakota with the following: “Tis the greatest country under the sun; Uncle Sam will bet you an estate of 160 acres against $16.00 that you can’t live on it five years.” Twas a bet many would take.
Dakota Datebook written by Jim Davis
The Hillsboro Banner February 9, 1906. Page 1