Dewey County, Oklahoma Settlers Lived in One-Room Shack

Dewey County, Oklahoma, settlers had a rough go of it early on.

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My family was one of three who took up adjoining homesteads in Dewey County, Oklahoma. We had a one-room shack on our place where the other families parked until they could build homes for themselves.

One family built a dugout with a dirt roof, but in that first winter the snows drifted high and the wind was so strong it blew in the front of the dugout. They came back to live with us.

By that time, all three families had increased by one baby each, and there were nine children and six grown-ups sleeping in that little shack, so we kept plenty warm. We had pallets all over the floor. Some of us older children were put in the loft; our fathers lifted us up thru a little hole in the ceiling.

Mrs. Ethel McAlary Lasater
Myrtle Creek, Oregon


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.