Stove Using Prairie Grass Heated Sod House

Woman remembers placement of everything in family’s Nebraska sod house.

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My first memories are of our little sod house in the sand hills of Nebraska. Two beds were set end to end along the north wall, and the four-lid stove occupied the southwest corner. Apple crates were tiered to make shelves. The black oak drop-leaf table had its place between the stove and cupboard. The house was set close to the side of a sand hill and faced the creek on the east. In the winter, our fuel was prairie hay. A base was fitted at the front of the stove over the ash pit, and a burner, oval-shaped like a wash boiler, about three feet high, was packed with hay and turned upside down and fitted in the rim of the base. A burner well packed with hay would burn two or more hours. Two burners made it possible to have another ready when one burned out.

Mother made our Christmas gifts. A match box covered with pretty paper and decorated with pictures from the seed catalog was one of my treasured gifts. Another was a cardboard star covered with the tinfoil from a tea package.

Father liked to make things for us, too. From the pieces from one of Mother's broken-down wash boards, he made very clever little wash boards for us girls. With an old cultivator he made my brother the nicest snow sled in the area.

Vesta Millemon
Pond Creek, Okla.


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.