Big buffalo hunts were an annual
affair in early pioneer days, and they provided not only meat but entertainment
for the men and boys.
On one such hunt the women were to
bake up big quantities of bread for the hunt. Mrs. Parkes, who was an
inveterate maker of rag carpets, baked a big sack of biscuits as her
contribution to the hunt. In the flurry of getting started, Mr. Parkes picked
up his wife's sack of carpet rags. The mistake was not noticed until the wagons
stopped to make camp the first night – miles from home. A rider on a swift horse
was sent back to exchange carpet balls for biscuits.
The men had driven several days
without sight of buffalo when suddenly one of those fierce prairie blizzards
swept down upon them about nightfall. There was no timber or shelter near, so
they tied down the canvas and prepared to weather out the storm.
One by one, the men became drowsy
and would have fallen asleep but for one George H. who foresaw the sleep of
death if they were not aroused. With the point of his gun he drove the men
around all night. Some of the men swore at him and others believed he had
become unbalanced in his mind. When they found a team frozen the next day, they
decided that George had saved their lives.
On another hunt, a big herd of
buffalo was sighted on a fine October day. Several were brought down. Two
reckless 19-year-old boys gave chase after the herd; the older men tried to
dissuade them. When the boys did not return, a search was made. The body of one
was found, scalped. I have seen this boy's grave. The other boy was never
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.