Maintaining Truthfulness on a Cotton Farm in Southern Missouri

During the Civil War, one woman scolds a group of soldiers for stealing her comb on a southern Missouri cotton farm.

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In 1864 my grandmother lived on a cotton farm in southern Missouri. The men in her family were away, fighting in the Civil War, which was nearing its close. Renegades, bushwackers, and stray soldiers came by each day, alone or in groups, northerners and southerners.

Once a captain stopped with 12 footsore, ragged soldiers, asking for provisions. The men spread through the house to search for food and soon found there was none.

As was usual after such marauding, Grandmother looked over the house at once. She found her comb – an item hard to come by then – was missing. She called the captain and told him, and he assembled his 12 men and requested the man who had taken the comb to step forward and hand it over. The comb was recovered.

Grandma, a religious person, scolded. "What a sinful thing to do! Why would you have a thief in your ranks?"

The captain turned calmly to Grandmother and said, "Lady, even Christ did not pick 12 honest men."

Gus Lasswell
Kansas City, Missouri

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.