Our family, with six other families, made up a wagon train moving from Nebraska to Colorado. There were no roads across western Nebraska and eastern Colorado at that time, just trails across the prairies and no bridges.
Each family had a spring wagon tied to the back of the covered wagon, and each family had a few cattle. My eldest sister, 14, and two brothers, 12 and 10, drove our cattle.
One noon when we were camped getting dinner, a tornado hit us. When the men saw the dark clouds coming, they turned the wagons with their backs to the coming storm. Our wagon was the last one to be turned. Mother and all of us children were in the wagon. Before it could be turned, it was blown over. My youngest brother got a few scratches, but the rest of us just scrambled out unhurt.
Another time a hailstorm drove the cattle back into a river we had just crossed. Still another time the cattle herders were lost with the cattle and went a whole day without food before they found us.
But we had good times, too. After the evening meal was cleared away, we would sing songs and hymns and have evening devotions. On Sundays we camped all day. We studied the Sunday school lesson and had a worship service. The afternoon was spent visiting and doing little chores that had to be done.
Mrs. George Schlegel
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.