Persevering on Payne County, Oklahoma, Homestead

Rats eating corn and other hardships on Payne County, Oklahoma, homestead.

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My parents first settled in Stevens County, Kansas, where they built a dugout and then a second dugout when the first one fell in. Despite the drought in 1888, they tried to plant a corn crop. Dad plowed the ground, and on the third trip around Mother would follow, dropping seed into the furrow. Before Dad could come around again, the rats had eaten a lot of the corn.

One year later Dad was in Oklahoma to take a homestead in Payne County, Oklahoma. He built a one-room log house there and later a larger house where the first Sunday School in the Cimarron Valley community was held. Dad later helped build a church called Hopewell. It was no unusual sight to see men go to church barefooted.

My parents triumphed over many hardships. In 1890 and 1891 Dad drove his team to Andauer, Kansas, and found work at 50 cents a day. Mother earned a little money with eggs. She would buy a pair of stockings for one child, then a hair ribbon for another, but by the time she got around, the first one was needing something again. I remember one summer when she received only three cents a dozen for eggs.

Mrs. Beulah Wright
Montebello, 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.