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Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Co. Land Grant Records

AT&SF Railroad map advertising land sales, 1875When the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad built its route across Kansas, following the historic path of the Santa Fe Trail, Congress compensated the company with large land grants consisting of "every alternate section of land, designated by odd numbers, for ten sections in width one each side of said roads and each of its branches along the railroad." This amounted to 3 million acres; the sales brochure on the right shows this swath of land. The company built town sites, many of them named after AT&SF officials, and sold the lands to immigrants. For more about the early history of the AT&SF in Kansas, see "The Birth of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe," part 1, in the summer 1968 Kansas Historical Quarterly. See examples of AT&SF land promotion brochures on Kansas Memory.

Records of the Kansas land grants are part of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company manuscript collection no. 789. The Santa Fe Tract Books list each parcel that the company received from the government, arranged by the legal land description--range, township and section numbers. The entries include the land surveyor's brief description of the land parcel and an assessment of its quality. They also give the number of the Land Department Sales Book record for that parcel.

AT&SF Railroad Tract Book & Deed Record Volumes

AT&SF Tract Book Cover








Below is an entry for section 1 in township 22 south, range 10 west, in the tract books. The section is broken down into the northeast (NE), northwest (NW), southeast (SE), and southwest (SW) quarters. More information about legal land descriptions.

Entry from AT&SF land tract book












Below is the surveyor's description of the land in that section.

Surveyor's description of the land quality in the section











The red number on the far left of the entry below is the deed number which corresponds to the record numbers in the AT&SF Land Sales volumes.

Entry from AT&SF RR tract book showing deed numbers

Photo of the spine of the AT&SF RR tract volume and the land sales volume








Below is the entry in the AT&SF Land Sales book for deed no. 11285.