Indians Return Food After Family's Immigration West

Couple travel from Sweden, marry and settle in Kansas after immigration west.

Content Tools

I am 82 years old, and I was born after my parents’ immigration west. My parents came to this country from Sweden in 1864. My father came by steamboat, but my mother came by sailboat and it took her over three months to cross the ocean. Her first husband died at sea. My father's first wife died shortly after they arrived in this country, and he and Mother each had one child.

They met and were married in Illinois. In the spring of 1865, Father and several other men left for Kansas. They came by train to Atchison, by wagon to Irving and then Father walked 50 miles to take a homestead. To his dismay, he found that he had forgotten his citizenship papers, and he had to walk back after them!

He staked a claim near Cleburne, and in the fall he sent for Mother and the two children.

There were a lot of Indians along the river fishing and trapping. They were friendly, but would help themselves to anything.

Once when Mother was alone with the children, several Indians walked in and took everything Mother had to eat. As they were leaving, one of the men looked at Mother sitting in a corner crying with her small children on her lap. He turned to the others and said something. They marched back and put everything they had taken back on the table. Mother was very thankful because times were awfully hard then.

Mrs. John Johnson
Home, 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.