Death Was Common on Southeast Colorado Homesteads

Life was not a given, and not easy, for early settlers on southeast Colorado homesteads.

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We came to southeast Colorado, my mother and six children, to homestead eight miles northeast of the Two Buttes mountains.

We had lots of good neighbors. Our fun centered at the schoolhouse where we had spelling bees, ciphering matches, literary meetings, card games, ball games, and, of course, dances. My oldest brother played the violin, and my younger brother and I played the guitar and organ.

Funerals were held in the schoolhouse, too. Many children died. I remember a 12-year-old boy who died of a ruptured appendix, a 10-year-old girl who died of a rattlesnake bite, and a 2-year-old child who died of summer complaint.

The men would all come to dig the grave, and our minister would preach the funeral service.

My mother gave five acres of land for a cemetery where many of the old homesteaders are buried.

Mrs. Louella Canfield Perkins
Lamar, Colorado

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.