Used Farm Implements Lost in River Crossing

Panicked ferryman shoves team and wagon filled with used farm implements and household goods into river.

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A widow with seven children, ranging in age from 21 years to three years, left Texas by ox team on May 14, 1867, headed for Kansas and her relatives. They loaded the used farm implements and household goods in one wagon and the bedding and clothing in another. The oldest boy to help with the driving was 14.

The Red River was up, and they had to camp three weeks and wait for the ferry to run. When they got to the middle of the river, the ferryman got panicky, said they were loaded too heavily, and pushed one wagon and team into the river! The oxen were yoked and they drowned. The widow lost all her farm implements and household goods.

They ran out of money and had to stop and work to make enough to come on to Kansas. The two oldest girls worked for a dollar a week and the boy got work with the team. It took from May until August for them to reach their relatives. The widow was my great-grandmother.

Mrs. P.E. Dieffenbaugh
Center, 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.