Our Oklahoma Homestead Resulted from Land Race of 1893 to Cherokee Strip

One family's resilient tale on their Oklahoma homestead.

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When the line was formed for the race to the Cherokee Strip, Dad was there on a pony. Mother was somewhere back of the line with her five children, the youngest a six-week-old baby, in a covered wagon. They had agreed that their meeting place after the race would be a certain lone tree on the prairie. As soon as the racers were out of sight, Mother drove to the tree, and there she waited out the long day. Soon after sunset, Dad rode up to the wagon and greeted his family with "Come on! Let's go home!" He'd found our Oklahoma homestead.

That first night they slept in the wagon, but the next day they put up a tent which was to be their home that summer. In the fall, neighbors, working together, cut timber and put up log cabins for their families. The cabin was my parents' home for eight years.

The first winter Dad wore gunny sacks tied on his feet; there was no money for shoes. He would cut a load of wood, haul it 20 miles to town, sell it, and bring home what groceries the money would buy.

In some way they came to own an old red cow with long horns and a mean disposition. One day Dad went to town with wood and left the cow lariated to a tree. When he was late coming home, Mother decided to milk her. The cow had a different idea; she lowered her horns and made for Mother. Round the tree Mother went, the cow right behind her; round and round they went until the rope was used up. When Bossy could go no further, she decided she was well tied and allowed Mother to take enough milk to feed the children at supper.

The cabin had only one door and one window. Mother, who cooked on a wood stove, often complained that the cabin was hot. Dad just as often promised her that as soon as the field work was done, he would put a door in the other end of the cabin. One day during dinner Mother again mentioned the heat. Dad said, "Why don't you cut a door in the other end?" Mother had no answer for him. But when he came from the field that night, the cabin had an unorthodox second door. Dad was forced to delay his field work to make a door to fit the hole Mother had cut.

Mrs. Paul Laubach
Quenemo, 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.