From: Illinois Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois; pub. 1915; p. 236

            In general such laws have been defined to be “legislation enacted to secure, to some extent, the enjoyment of a home and shelter for a family or individual by exempting, under certain conditions, the residence occupied by the family or individual, from liability to be sold for the payment of the debts of its owner, and by restricting his rights of free alienation.”  In Illinois, this exemption extends to the farm and dwelling thereon of every householder having a family, and occupied as a residence, whether owned or possessed under a lease, to the value of $1,000.  The exemption continues after death, for the benefit of decedent’s wife or husband occupying the homestead, and also of the children, if any, until the youngest attain the age of 21 years.  Husband and wife must join in releasing the exemption, but the property is always liable for improvements there.—In 1862 Congress passed an act known as the “Homestead Law” for the protection of the rights of settlers on public lands under certain restrictions as to active occupancy, under which most of that class of lands since taken for settlement have been purchased.

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