We unloaded on a piece of ground where nothing but tall grass was growing when we arrived at our Wallace County, Kansas homestead. My father, mother and oldest brother put up a tent which was to be a temporary home for the seven of us.
Lacking any other fuel, Father gathered cow chips for cooking our first meal.
In the night it stormed and snowed. Our tent fell down. Although Father fixed it, he knew we couldn't stay there. He walked several miles to a house, and the people there asked Mother and my baby brother and me (I was eight) to stay with them. They came for us in a wagon and we waited in their home two days for the storm to pass. My father and other brothers stayed with a man who lived by himself. When the weather was clear we went back to the tent.
A small house, a single room only 6 by 6 feet, was finished in April, and we lived there through the summer, until we had a larger sod house.
Another brother, who came when I was 10 years old, was born in the time of a storm. Father sent one of the older boys to a neighbor's house to ask for help, and the woman there walked two-and-a-half miles to come to us. She did the work of a nurse and a doctor, with my father's help. I was called to get up in the night to find clothes for the new baby.
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.