Hard Work on a Missouri Homestead

Husband and wife worked extremely hard to make it on Missouri homestead.

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My grandparents came from White County, Tennessee, to Texas County, Missouri, in 1871. Grandfather built a log cabin with a fireplace where Grandmother cooked their meals for 14 years. Grandfather made the furniture: beds, table, chairs, cupboards, wardrobe for clothing, and a stand table which I still have.

They raised sheep, sheared them, picked burrs and trash from the wool, washed it, carded it, spun it, and wove it into cloth for clothing and blankets. They raised cotton and flax to make into cloth. Grandmother did lots of knitting for her family, making socks, mittens and sweaters.

The big peach and apple orchard yielded quantities of fruit, much of which Grandmother dried. Fruit sold at 10 cents a bushel, pick-it-yourself.

For light the family first used a saucer of grease with a twisted rag for a wick. Then came candles, homemade, and then a brass lamp that burned kerosene.

I still wonder how they did so much work. 

Mrs. Chester Jones
Houston, 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 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.