Homesteading in Indian Territory on the Plains

Recollections of Native American-settler interactions in "Indian Territory" on the Plains.

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When I was just a baby (I'm now an 83-year-old woman) my parents moved from Kansas to the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) near Vinita and Blue Jacket.

Indians were our neighbors and I remember my parents telling of this incident.

One day an Indian came to the door to ask for something to eat. Food was scarce but Mother fixed him two sandwiches, one with jelly and the other with plain butter. He ate the jelly sandwich but refused the one with butter, saying, "Me no eat cow grease."

As a small child I slept with my parents. One night Mother woke and found I was gone. The first thing they thought was that the Indians had taken me. During their search they heard a slight whimper from under the bed. That is where they found me. In those days it was customary to lay lots of straw under the homemade rugs to make the floors warmer. Our floor was so soft the fall from the bed had not awakened me. 

Mrs. Hazel Cline
Joplin, 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.