Brothers on Kansas Homestead Relied on Ducks for Food and Light

Brothers on Kansas homestead built one house on border of their two plots and alternated time with the railroad.

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My pioneer father came to Kansas from France in 1874. Reaching Hutchinson he purchased two wild steers, hitched them to an old wagon and started for his brother's dugout. There were no roads and the grass was higher than the oxen's backs. Rags tied to the tips of the grass marked the trail.

My father and his brother built a house on the boundary line between their two claims and each stayed six months of the year there while the other worked on the Santa Fe Railroad.

They could kill ducks and geese from their kitchen door so they had plenty of fowl for food. Because they had no oil for lamps, they saved the duck tails and burned them at night for a little light. 

Mrs. T. R. Cantwell
Sterling, 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.