Most of my life has been spent living on a farm between Matson and Defiance, Mo., which are two small towns about two miles apart. The Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad, also known as the Katy Railroad, ran through our farm. The lower part was our farmland and the upper part was hills and woods, with the house sitting on a hill.
Our bottom land was along the Missouri river, and we had many floods over the years, which destroyed a lot of crops. The big flood of 1986 washed the tracks out, and it was too expensive to repair them, so the government took them over.
Now the old tracks have become the Katy Trail, which has become very popular with bicycle riders and hikers. Our little towns are now a tourist attraction, especially in the fall, when the leaves are bright and colorful, overlooking the bluffs.
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.