Missouri Woman Was as Hardworking as They Come

Read the tale of a hardworking Missouri homesteading woman and think of how easy you might have it.

Content Tools

My mother worked hard all her life; she never had any luxuries or conveniences, never complained of hardships. I never heard her wish for anything better than what she had.  

She told us how her father called his children out of bed at 3 a.m. to go with him across the mountains in Arkansas to work in the cotton fields. They had a long ride by horseback and they wanted to be in the fields by daybreak. Often, she said, she would go to sleep as they rode along, but other children riding the same horse would catch her and keep her from falling. She was only 10 or 12 years old at the time, but some of her brothers and sisters were younger than that.

Mother hoed corn from the time she was 6 years old. And after she was married at 16, she still worked in the fields. She sat up many a night until midnight spinning and weaving by candlelight for she made the clothing for her family of 11 children. And she was up before daylight the next morning to take her place in the field, leaving her little ones in the care of one of the children, and taking the others to work by her side.

She carried her washings to the creek close by, gathering dead limbs and building a fire on the rocks under the tub to heat the water. She did her washing on a washboard and dried the clothes on bushes. While they dried, she went home to cook the dinner, maybe gathering a mess of greens along the way.

She worked hard until she was 80 and passed away when she was 90. 

H. M. Groves
Bethany, 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.