Transferred to the Arizona State Land Department in 1943.
The Soldier Settlement Act (Act) was enacted in 1919 to authorize acquisition of land suitable for reclamation and settlement in order to provide employment and rural homes for returning soldiers who had been honorably discharged. Those eligible for farms and farm laborer allotments included persons who “served with the armed forces of the United States in the European wars or other wars of the US, including former American citizens who served in allied armies against the Central Powers.” The measure provided for cooperative efforts between the state and federal government; established a “State Soldier Settlement Fund;” outlined a process to apply for land; and spelled out repayment obligations.
The Soldiers Settlement Board was created to: administer the program; acquire lands suitable for reclamation and settlement, including related infrastructure; exercise the power of eminent domain; furnish agricultural training to soldiers; share expenses with the federal government for supervision of programs provided by the federal government or the state agricultural college; and convey title to acquired land.
The Act indicated the State would provide the land for settlement and the federal government would provide funding to cover the costs of reclamation, improvements and equipment. The State’s expenditures were capped at 25 percent of the total purchase price of the land, the cost of reclamation, the cost of farm improvement, and the cost of implements, stock and other necessary equipment. Repayment of State expenses would be arranged by agreement with the federal agencies involved and monies would be deposited with the State Treasurer.
The process to acquire land required notice to the public and an evaluation of the suitability of the land for settlement purposes. The measure outlined provisions regarding subdivision of land, its preparation and settlement. The measure also addressed sale to qualified applicants, loans, payment of principal and interest, and transfer of title upon full payment.
The Board was required to submit an annual report each December to the Governor and the U.S. Secretary of Interior.
In 1921 the Act was revised and the Soldier Settlement Board was renamed the Arizona Land Settlement Commission. In 1943, powers and duties were transferred to the State Land Department and the State Land Commissioner assumed responsibility for the program.
Laws 1919, Chapter 141 established the Soldier Settlement Board, composed of the members and officers of the State Land Department and outlined Board duties. The Board was authorized to cooperate with federal agencies engaged in work of a similar character and administer the program. The law outlined specific requirements regarding acquisition, improvements and sale of land.
In 1921 the law was rewritten as the “Arizona Land Settlement Act.” The Board was renamed the “Arizona Land Settlement Commission.” The measure included an appropriation of $50,000 in fiscal year 1921-1922 and $50,000 in fiscal year 1922-1923. See Laws 1921, Chapter 58.
In 1943 the jurisdiction, authority and duties of the Arizona Land Settlement Commission were transferred to the State Land Department. The State Land Commissioner was designated as the Soldier Settlement Commissioner and all assistants, agents and employees of the State Land Department were required to perform duties as directed by the Commissioner. See Laws 1943, Chapter 28.
- Session Laws
- Laws 1919, Chapter 141
- Laws 1921, Chapter 58
- Laws 1943, Chapter 28
- 12th Annual Arizona State Land Department Annual Report, January 1, 1923 to June 30, 1924. Page 15-22. Print. (Note: Subsequent reports also mention the Settlement Commission.)