Land of Opportunity: Journey from Denmark Includes Many Hardships

Couple settles near Tonganoxie, Kansas, only to endure more hardships.

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My grandparents both came to America’s land of opportunity from Denmark when they were 12 years old. They crossed the ocean by ship and endured terrible hardships. They did not know each other at that time. Later they were married and lived on a farm near Tonganoxie, Kansas. They were very poor but had a cow and chickens, etc.

They had five children; my father was the youngest. When he was 2 years old, his father died of an infection caused by a hedge thorn wound. Grandmother was left alone with her children. She worked hard and raised them well. Father remembers they milked several cows, but the children were not allowed to drink more than one small cupful a day because the milk had to be sold.

Father's sisters did very well in school, getting top grades. Father did very well in sports and finally became a schoolteacher in many one-room schoolhouses.

My father, Clarence Hummelgaavd, married my mother, Audrie North, just after the Great Depression. My father, now 82, and my mother, 85, still farm near Linwood, Kansas.

Barb Moyer
Chapman, 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.