Oklahoma Settlers Used Top of Covered Wagon for a Home

Oklahoma settlers had to move from Missouri to escape drought conditions.

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Because of the bad drought in 1901, my parents sold out in Missouri and went to Woodward, Oklahoma. Father, Mother, and four children had to live in a covered wagon about two months because there was no house to rent and no money to pay the rent if a house had been there.

Father had to have the wagon to haul brick, so he set the over jet and cover off on the ground and that was our only home, rain or shine, cold or hot. And it was mostly very cold! Covered wagons were heated by a small two-lid topsy stove in the front. A heavy canvas or quilt hung across the front of the wagon as a door.

My father and I hauled all the brick to build a store building in Woodward. We finished in 1902. Father earned 50 cents a day for himself and team, and I, age 9, received five cents a day. And a day's work was from daylight to dark. We furnished our own horse feed and our own eats. 

Bennie Cashes Dockum
Pasadena, California


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.