Traveling West Takes Pioneer Family to Michigan

Traveling west, family leaves New York state to settle in wilds of Michigan.

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My great-grandfather left New York state in the early 1800s traveling west. His adventures have come down by word of mouth in our family. He married a wonderfully brave woman who went with him to the wilds of Michigan, where they operated a trading post. Great-Grandmother never saw a single white woman during this period. She bore several of her children without the comforting presence of another woman.

One day her husband went into the forest to hunt, and he never was seen again! No one ever knew whether he met with a hunting accident or died at the hands of Indians. It must have taken great courage for Great-Grandmother to pack her belongings and begin the long dangerous trek back to Wisconsin, alone except for the children. She was an old, old woman when she died, and my aunts can remember stories of how she clung to her worn Bible to the very end, perhaps because it gave her strength and courage through her terrifying adventures.

Mrs. Leonard Kristiansen
Nashua, lowa


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.