My great-grandfather, Anton Fangman, was born October 11, 1831, in Leone, Oldenberg, Germany. At 14, he started working in a cigar factory, where he learned the trade. Later he became a sailor, and for five years sailed to many different countries. At that time German sailors were not allowed to marry. Therefore, after his marriage to Caroline Boeckman on January 10, 1860, they sailed to America. Anton established a cigar factory in Baltimore, Maryland, where their first son was born. Four years later they moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where he again went into the manufacture of cigars. A daughter was born there.
In 1867, the family traveled by train to St. Charles, Missouri, where they boarded a steamboat bound for Omaha, Nebraska. Anton started the second wholesale and retail cigar manufacturing plant in Omaha. Three more children, including my grandmother, Mary, were born there. In 1873, they homesteaded 80 acres in Platte County, 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.