Man's Journey West for Gold Bonanza Ends in Tragedy

Gold bonanza draws man west to make his fortune, only to find tragedy at a Wyoming wagon stop.

Content Tools

When word of the great gold bonanza in California reached the South, my great-grandparents were living in Mississippi. It was decided in a family conference that the father would go West to make his fortune and a new home, and the mother and children would live with her parents until he could come for them.

He started out in a brand-new wagon loaded with supplies, including picks and shovels, and pulled by a fine team of matched black horses. He sent home letters as he pushed westward, but one letter from a settlement in Wyoming proved to be the last word ever heard from him.

After several months, his father and brother went over the same trail trying to find him. At a wagon stop and inn in Wyoming, a terrible scandal had been uncovered. Countless travelers had disappeared there, and bodies had been found in shallow graves near the inn. A mob had been robbing and murdering "guests" from wagon trains and several of the scoundrels had been hanged for the murders. His relatives lost hope when Great-Grandfather's team of matched blacks was found at the inn.

Mrs. Tom Tyre
Miami, Missouri

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.