Depression Era: Dairy Farm

Kansan recalls running a depression-era dairy farm in his youth.

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We lived in the northeast Kansas town of Robinson, with a population of 300. Since our house was next to a pasture, we secured an easement to build a milking barn and start a small dairy farm. We rented a pasture along Wolf River, which was four blocks from the barn. There were six cows which I took to the pasture every morning and brought home after school. An old black jersey would let me ride her so she was always the last one out the gate where I would "mount up."

We had a milk route at night delivering pints, quarts or gallons to the residents. Whole milk was 25~ a gallon. I rode on the running board of our '29 Chevrolet as my older sister, Ferne, drove the car. In the morning we delivered to one of the local grocery stores.

The milk was in glass bottles with waxed cardboard caps. In the winter, if the milk was left on the porch, as it froze it would push the cap up to as much as two inches of rich cream. Undelivered milk was put in stone crocks to be skimmed the next morning.

I recall having a date with my wife of 50 years. When I did not arrive at the barn on time, she came looking for me. I was in Wolf River swimming a cow across that had gotten on the other side. I tease her about being a farm gal and she calls me a "town farmer."

Walter R. Brant
Hiawatha, Kansas


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.