My grandmother came to Kansas from Pennsylvania in the early 1860s. She insisted that her family bring her cherished organ with them to a farm near what was later known as Venango.
Grandmother became the church organist for the Sunday meetings, and during the week the neighbors gathered at her home to practice the Sunday hymns. One girl, whose father was "well-fixed," had an alto voice and loved to take a leading part, although she was terribly "falsetto," my mother said. Often she got away from the alto notes and her voice went off key into a squeaky soprano range. Grandmother often commented that the effect was mouse-like.
One evening when the choir had gone home, Grandmother said in an exasperated tone, "Carry sounded more like a mouse than ever!" She sat down at the organ to mimic Carry. She had no more than played the opening notes of the alto part when an awful squeaking began!
Yes! A mouse was caught in the reeds of the organ and the shrill effect had not been all Carry's fault. For years this was a source of mirth to these pioneer women.
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.