Condit Lived Off the Land on Iowa Homestead

Condit family settled an Iowa homestead and used those provisions that were available; mostly what they could hunt and grow.

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Grandfather Silas W. Condit built his house of logs covered with bark from cottonwood trees. The door of split logs was held together by wooden pegs and the fireplace was laid of sod. There were no windows. The time was 1848; the place was the junction of the Missouri and the Little Sioux rivers on a little Iowa homestead.

The family's provisions were what they could raise, shoot, or catch in the streams. Clothing was made from skins which Grandfather tanned. When he was elected justice of the peace, he performed his first marriage ceremony in a new buckskin suit. He had killed the deer, tanned the hide, and sewed the suit with sinews from the deer's spine.

Grandfather had a corn mill operated by a crank turned by hand that held about a peck of shelled corn. It was known as "Condit's Mill" by the neighbors who came from miles around to grind their grist. 

J. E. Condit
Hagerman, Idaho


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.