Sure, they'd offer to buy each parcel fair-and-square at first, but what you have to remember is that this area was so isolated for so long that each little subsistence farm had been owned by the same families for hundreds of years. In fact, one's kinfolk was usually buried out back on the hillside! So, some owners had no interest in selling. It was after they turned down the offer that the railroad's paid thugs, Pinkerton men as often as not (the original Blackwater-esque private contractors), would start their campaign to run the owners off. They regularly burned homes and barns, killed livestock and generally made life hell for the owners until they gave in, and there are many stories of widows being paid only a fraction of what their husbands had originally been offered before being murdered. And, as if that weren't bad enough, fast forward a few decades further and the miner's working that same land, in a fight for their rights, actually had bombs dropped on them by their own government.
Perhaps the Engelkings should count their blessings that we now live in an era with a 24-hour news cycle that makes it harder for them to get away with the kinds of things they did in the past. All the article linked below does is prove to me definitively that our rights as citizens only go so far as it is convenient and doesn't interfere with the plans of the corporatocracy.
Man Arrested for Trespassing on His Own Land | Duluth, Minnesota: "Jeremy Engelking will appear in Douglas County court this afternoon to face a trespassing charge. But here’s the kicker: The Superior man allegedly trespassed on his own property.
Engelking, 27, aimed to hunt deer Wednesday morning when he noticed a pipeline crew on his land. He hopped on his ATV and told workers they had no right to be on his property because he had received no compensation from Enbridge Energy Partners L.P. for an easement.
Engelking said workers told him he was in an unsafe place and asked him to come to an equipment staging area, where he continued to argue his case.
But just as he was turning to leave, Engelking said an officer from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department arrived on the scene and approached with a Taser drawn.
'He ordered me to 'get down on the ground now!' And he said that I was being arrested for trespassing,' Engelking said.
When Engelking protested, pointing out that he was on his own property, he said Sgt. Robert Smith told him: 'It doesn’t matter. You’re going to jail. You can tell it to a judge tomorrow'..."