Here's a short story about free mineral rights the government gave to original homesteaders - my grandparents, along with my uncles, aunts and my mother.

They emigrated through Canada from their native land, the Ukraine. They received homestead rights to a quarter in Bull-Butte Township of Williams County. They first had to build a house out of native sod and dig for water in a ravine by hand. They had to put acres of prairie into cropland and live on the land.

My - look at all these prairie rocks, large and small, we have to dig, pick and put into a pile so we can plant the spring wheat seed they brought all the way from the Ukraine. After proving up their claim and getting their patent or title to the land, the government says, "We now have to tax your land. You have done well."

When I was 4 years old, my parents bought a farm from the original homesteaders, next to these grandparents of mine, in 1930.

Now here is what I want to tell you about free mineral rights. There were 12 huge rock piles, all neatly built on this quarter of land in order to pay taxes, to farm and to have a place to live. If anyone who reads this still thinks that mineral rights come free with the land - you can still see some original rock monuments they made to get those free minerals.