Blizzard Story: Family Kept Warm By Burning Corn

One family's blizzard story focuses on burning corn to keep warm in a cabin with no roof.

Content Tools

Here is my blizzard story as my mother told it to me:

"My parents were living in western Kansas in a large one-room cabin with walls made of rough plank and no ceiling overhead. One day my father got up before daylight and drove across the plains to buy a load of corn for his stock. He didn't get back until after dark, but the sky was clear and the stars were shining.

"About midnight the family was awakened by a howl of coyotes and the roaring of the wind. They had no wood to burn and the cold was so bitter they knew they might be facing death. They had a big canvas tent, and they stretched it across the room to hold out some cold, but still they suffered.

"The cold wind raged on and on, and they started burning the golden ears of Kansas corn. It was two days and nights before the snow stopped. By that time they had burned all of the corn, but they had saved their lives and those of their two babies.

"On the third day, a neighbor ventured out to search for his stock. He came to my mother's place nearly frozen. They took him in and fed him and warmed him up. When he started home, he asked my mother to let him borrow her old-fashioned bonnet to protect his head and face from the wind, and she let him have it gladly."

I think my mother mentioned this every time we had a cold winter for as long as she lived.

Mrs. Charles R. McKnight
Chamois, Missouri

 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.