Contributed By: Sandra H. Coggeshall



Gabriel Lupient and his family "homesteaded" 160 acres of land near Curtiss, CLARK COUNTY, Wisconsin. The land was given to him in accordance with the "Homestead Act of 1862." The Homestead Act has been called one of the most important pieces of Legislation in the history of the United States. Signed into law in 1862 by Abraham Lincoln after the secession of the southern states, this Act turned over vast amounts of the public domain to private citizens to promote farming. 270 million acres, or 10% of the area of the USA was claimed and settled under this act.

A homesteader only had to be the head of a household and at least 21 years of age to claim a 160-acre parcel of land. Settlers from all walks of life came to meet the challenge of "proving up" and keeping this "free land." Each homesteader had to live on the land, build a home, make improvements, and farm for 5 years before they were eligible to "prove up" and take title to the land. A filing fee of $18 was the only money required, but sacrifice and hard work exacted a difficult hardship for the hopeful settlers. This would have been an especially difficult challenge for Gabriel, missing his right arm at the shoulder. It must have helped Gabriel and Mary to have 4 able sons to help them with the farm work. Gabrielís original farmhouse and outbuildings were built in the "log cabin" style of construction.


Probably on the advice of his brother Moses, who had homesteaded land in South Dakota, the family briefly left Wisconsin and attempted to "homestead" a farm near Aberdeen, South Dakota. They remained there from around 1883 to1884. However, after the death of their daughter, Letitia Mary from Diphtheria, and also possibly due to poor crops, the family became discouraged and returned to their original farm near Curtiss.

Gabriel and Mary eventually relinquished their homesteaded farm near Curtiss to their eldest son, William Franklin "Frank" Lupient and lived their remaining years in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Gabriel died on Dec 31, 1902 and Mary died on May 14, 1921, both in Marshfield. Both Gabriel and Mary were buried at the Hillside Cemetery in Marshfield.

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