Storms Stress Travelers in Covered Wagon

Weather, overflowing MIssouri River were two variables in covered wagon journey.

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My father made the bows for the two covered wagons we used on our trip from Colorado to Iowa, and I sewed the covers out of eight-ounce duck. We fastened strips of white oilcloth along the tops of the covers so we would be sure to have dry beds in our wagons. Father made what was called an overjet for each wagon so our bedsprings would fit nicely. We packed dishes, clothing and other things in boxes and stored them under the beds.

If there was a cloud coming up at night when we camped, Father would not go to bed with the rest of us. He walked the road and watched, and if he thought there was danger of a tornado, he would wake us and hurry us to the next homestead in hopes of finding a storm cellar. We were thankful we never were in the heart of a storm, though we would drive through torn-up sections the next day and see what we had been lucky enough to escape.

When we got to the Missouri River we found it was the highest it had been in 40 years! We had to camp for two weeks at Portsmouth, Nebraska, waiting for the water to go down. Finally, it went down enough for us and our wagons to get across on the cable ferry.

Mrs. H.M. Groves
Cainsville, 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.