Colorado Homestead Hit Hard by March Blizzard

Unable to leave the barn, one family on a Colorado homestead hunkered down and stuck it out.

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On a beautiful spring day in early March, 1910, my mother and her three children and my aunt with two children arrived by train at Sligo, Colorado, 50 miles southeast of Cheyenne, Wyoming, to be met by my father and uncle who took us to our homestead site 10 miles farther east on a Colorado homestead.

The men had preceded us in February, by emigrant boxcar, bringing all our possessions to this new land. They had erected a floorless barn to shelter us until our houses could be built.

Before the month was out, we were engulfed in a blizzard. The men, fearing the roof of the barn would be blown away, climbed the wall to fasten wires to the rafters and tie them to the anchor posts. For several days, it was unsafe to venture more than a few feet from the shelter of the barn.

It was impossible for my uncle to find his way thru the storm to the dugout where he had housed his small flock of Buff Orpington hens. On the third day, to his surprise, he found them very much alive, although the canvas roof, under the weight of the heavy snow, had caved in on them.

Our team of horses was safely sheltered in a lean-to hastily constructed by the men at the onset of the storm.

During the blizzard, two teen-age boys were frozen to death when they became lost trying to find their way to a neighbor who lived only a quarter of a mile away from their camp. 

Ruby Bigelow
Grandview, Washington

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.