Stanley County, South Dakota Homesteaders Were Robbed the First Night

Justice didn’t come swiftly in 1910 on a Stanley County, South Dakota homestead.

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A family from Iowa came to Stanley County, South Dakota, in the fall of 1910 to homestead on a tract adjoining our land. They stayed at our home the first night. Upon their arrival we pointed out to them a shack close by our house which they had purchased and planned to live in.

The next morning we noticed the man walking up a little hill and looking around. When he came to breakfast, he remarked that he could not see his shack from our door, but Mother assured him it was plainly visible. When we went outside to point it out again, there was no shack in sight.

After breakfast the new homesteader walked to the former site of the shack and found tracks to indicate it had been loaded and hauled away during the night. The tracks led to a neighbor's barnyard, and there on a flat rock sat the little shack.

The "new owner" declared it was his property, and no one would go to identify it as belonging to the newcomer. The thief was reputed to have killed a couple of men and everyone was afraid of him.

The new family had to buy another house to live in.

Mrs. Fred C. Nelson
Lucas, 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.