Bears and Wolves Killed Livestock in Wild Wisconsin

Couple leaves Wisconsin where bears and wolves killed livestock; traveled to South Dakota and endured blizzards.

| Good Old Days

Bears and wolves killed livestock and rubbed and scratched around the log cabins in the heavily wooded area of Wisconsin where both my father and my mother came with their parents in covered wagons. Bobcats and panthers were numerous and would spring from the trees onto cattle

My parents grew up in this wild country and were married there. Later they lived a few years in Iowa. In 1878, they heard about some new land being opened to homesteaders in South Dakota. They started for this new frontier in two covered wagons loaded with their eight children and all their possessions, including a spinning wheel.

A prairie fire had gone through the country, and ashes, sand and high winds made travel difficult. They hurriedly broke sod and laid up a house and a shed for stock. Two days after the roof was on, there was a terrible blizzard. Drifts were 12 feet high, and many lives were lost. My oldest brother froze his feet, and it was thought for a time he would lose them. Many lives were lost from lack of medical care. The nearest doctor was 50 miles away.

Three of the things people feared most in the raw, new country were uncivilized Indians, horse thieves and wild animals!

Emma Michaelsen
Mesa, Colorado

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. 

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