Family Travels 300 Miles by Covered Wagon

Homestead in Nebraska draws family to travel in covered wagon.

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In 1887, my parents were living on a rented farm in Iowa and decided to go to Nebraska to homestead. Late in the summer, they sold most of their stock and farming implements, kept a young team, a few cows and two colts, and with a new covered wagon and set of harness got ready for the trip.

There were nine children from 20 years old down to the baby, 7 months old. Father built an overjet to fit over the top of the wagon box. It extended over the wagon box a little more than four feet. Slats were put across so they could put the bed tick and quilts on it. This made a good comfortable place for the girls and small boys to ride. Father and Mother rode on the spring seat.

Will and Henry, the two older boys, drove the cows. They could ride the 3-year-old horse and would take turns riding and walking the 300 miles.

My parents took just what they thought the most necessary with them – a cook stove, Father's tool chest, cooking utensils, vegetables, grain for the horses, and a wall tent.

I was only 5 years old when we made this trip, and now I am 82.

J.B. Brubaker
Springfield, Mo.

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.