A Masonic Sign Saves Covered Wagon Train

Family traveling along Oregon Trail meets with a band of Indians, and a Masonic sign wards off attack.

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All it took was a single Masonic sign.

My husband's parents were members of a train of 26 covered wagons bound for Oregon in the spring of 1874. All of the wagons had ox teams, but several families had horses and cows as well.

It took several weeks to reach Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and there several families decided to go south into California. Ten wagons started south. They never were heard from again!

As long as two years later my mother-in-law received letters from relatives of the members of the California train saying they seemed to have disappeared from the earth.

One day a large band of Indians followed all day along the Oregon Trail. Everyone was frightened. My father-in-law belonged to the Masonic Order, and he had heard that there were Masons among the tribes. He mounted a swift pony and rode back to meet the Indians. When only a few yards from them, he stopped and gave a Masonic sign. The Indians stopped at once, and Father gave the sign again. The chief turned and spoke a few words to the others. Then they all whirled and loped off in another direction. The wagon was not bothered again.

Lillie B. Reid
Mountain Grove, Missouri


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 theirchildren, 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.