Gray Wolf Encounter on Central Missouri Homestead

Six-year-old encounters a gray wolf while walking home alone in the dark from a central Missouri homestead.

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It happened in central Missouri homestead over a hundred years ago, and my grandfather told the story this way:

"I had heard the grown folks say that they were scared until their hair stood straight up on their head, but I never believed it!

"Late one afternoon, my pa sent me, a boy of about 6, to my uncle's house, a short walk through the woods, to borrow an iron wedge. He said I could play with my cousin until bedtime, which in those days, was very early. I stayed a good while and it was dark when I started home.

"I called my dogs, but they were playing, too, and were slow in coming. When I heard the leaves behind me rustle, I turned to wait for my pet hound. And my heart just sort of stopped. It seemed jammed into my body where it had no business being. The animal was not my hound, but a large gray wolf. The wolf stood motionless, I stood motionless. When the leaves rustled again, I thought I would be faced with a pack of wolves-and me with no weapon but a big iron wedge. But there stood my dogs! The wolf trotted away.

"The rest of the way home I carried the wedge in one hand and my cap in the other. The cap wouldn't stay on my head. My hair kept pushing it off!"

Marjorie Z. Dawson
Leavenworth, 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.