South Dakota Homestead Lost Chimney During Winter Storm

Woman on South Dakota homestead walked a mile and a half in a blizzard after her chimney blew off the house.

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I had a claim on a Butte County, South Dakota homestead. What a life-hot summer, cold winter!

I had only a laundry stove with a draw on the pipe for cooking and baking. The chimney was a stove pipe put out the side of the house. For fuel, I went for miles, picking up chips in gunny sacks and dragging them home.

In the winter of 1911-12, my chimney blew away in a blizzard. I couldn't have a bit of fire; it was so cold! I got down on my knees and prayed.

I decided I must walk to a neighbor's house a mile-and-a-half away. I put on all the coats I owned, and wrapped my apron around my cat so it wouldn't freeze. I also had a white Spitz dog, and I said to him, "We are going to Mary's. Lead us to Mary." There was only a trail to follow and the snow was two feet deep and still falling.

When we reached a creek, I hollered to my neighbor for help. She brought a rope and threw it across the creek. When I had tied it around my waist, she pulled me over the creek where the snow was over my head. I was nearly frozen when I reached her place.

I stayed there three days before I could go for help to fix my chimney. 

Mrs. Bertha Hamblin Adams 
Mapleton, Iowa


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.