Fun in Pioneer Days

Woman recalls fun gatherings, games and hospitality of pioneer days.

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I am 83 years old, and I believe people enjoyed themselves as much in pioneer days as they do today. In my early girlhood, my father would hitch a span of mules to a wagon box on "bob-sleds" and put hay thick in the wagon bed. He would drive to the home of neighbor after neighbor and gather up old and young alike. We all went to someone's home where we had prayer meeting, play parties and spelling matches.

I distinctly remember one prayer meeting. The host brought in sideboards from his wagon, placed one end on the bed and the other on the cedar churn. The other sideboard rested on the bed and a keg of kraut. I had to sit over the churn and I could smell that old buttermilk. My chum sat across the room from me and kept sniffing like she smelled something bad. It made us giggle, and when we compared notes later we discovered that she was sitting over the kraut. But how fervent and sincere were the prayers offered to the Lord. Our neighbors were all clean characters. We had wonderful parties, too. We played Skip to My Lou, Happy Is the Miller Boy and My Ship Has Arrived.

If a neighbor was sick or in distress he never was in need long if anyone could help. We had faith and confidence in each other.

Zetta Farmer
Pratt, Kansas


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.