Dry Beans and Pinto Beans on a Colorado Homestead

Family relied heavily upon dry beans and pinto beans in the early 1900s.

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Dry beans had a large place in our diet during our early days on the northeastern plains on our Colorado homestead. I recall saying to an old bachelor who stopped by in the summer of 1910, "In Iowa, we used this ladle to skim milk, but now we dip bean soup with it."

Pinto beans produced well until the soil became too badly eroded. The year of the most abundant harvest there was no market for beans and we had no dry storage place. Some boards were used to partition off a bin in the family living room.

When friends from Iowa came for a visit, my mother and brother relinquished their beds to the company and made beds for themselves on the beans.

Those beans were eventually sold for $15 a ton. 

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.