Grasshopper Swarms Defeat Attempt to Save Lilac Bushes

Author Photo
By Capper's Staff | Aug 24, 2011

I remember Mrs. H, a pioneer woman who weighed less than 100 pounds, but whose ambition and courage were unmatched. And I remember the grasshopper swarms.

Mrs. H brought two lilac bushes from her fine home in Virginia to the barren plains of Nebraska when she came in a covered wagon. She often went without a cool drink herself so her lilacs could have water, and the bushes thrived in spite of hot winds and cold winters.

Then came the terrible grasshopper hordes. They could be heard long before they arrived. Mrs. H tied up one bush in her beautiful bedspread, the only one she had. The other bush was covered with a huge buffalo robe. The grasshoppers were so thick they blackened the skies like a storm, and they ate their way through everything. Hours later, Mrs. H went out to find everything gone – buffalo robe, bedspread and bushes. Only bare stumps were left in the ravaged earth.

The next spring, however, the lilacs came up from the roots, more beautiful than ever.

Mrs. Fred Walter
Wallace, Nebraska

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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