Ryan Among Early Nebraska Settlers

William F. Ryan was among the early Nebraska settlers who lived right alongside the Native Americans.

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I would like to tell you of my grandfather who came to Jackson, Nebraska, from St. Louis, on foot. He was among the early Nebraska settlers, and lived here with the Native Americans for many years.

After he had laid out where all his relatives could settle, he went back to St. Louis and told them what he had found. Some of his family took to their horses and came to see if he was right. Later their families came in covered wagons.

I am on the same place where my grandfather stopped. I have a horse barn that is made with pegs, no nails in the framework.

When I was small, Native Americans used to go west with horse drawn wagons to their powwows, and they would water their horses and camp here. Native Americans are good friends if they like you. 

William F. Ryan
Jackson, Nebraska


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.