In our town of Broken Bow, Nebraska, there were many old Union soldiers, but so far as I remember, my grandfather was the only Rebel. He wore his white hair quite long, and had a mustache and a pointed white goatee.
I often walked with him down the old Humboldt brick sidewalks from his home on the North side, across the tracks to the town, which was on the South side. Located by the tracks was a huge wooden water tower, painted red. In summer this was an ideal meeting place for the old soldiers to gather and fight the War over by reminiscences. As my grandfather and I would approach the old water tower, the old Union soldiers would call out, "Here comes the old Reb! We licked you, didn't we?" Grandfather would lift his cane and point it at them, shaking it and let out the Rebel Yell and shout, "Ye never licked us, ye starved us out!"
He would introduce me to the other old soldiers, and they would settle down to a long hassle over the various battles, and why they were won or lost. While the arguments would be fierce, it seemed that any real enmity was forgotten.
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.