Rattlesnake Skin a Sign of a Real Pioneer

Soon after the turn of the century,
my sister and I were teaching in a rural school on the prairie. Our home was a
dugout shanty where the pack rats would move small articles from one place to
another. Rattlesnakes were plentiful, and we often found rattlesnake skins that
had been shed.

Our parents had given us a buggy,
and my sister had bought a horse. On Saturdays, we would drive to the nearest
settlement for our mail. One Saturday, the horse suddenly stopped and shied.
There was a rattler in the middle of the road, coiled and hissing. My sister
held the fractious horse and I jumped out and found a rock and a stick. I
killed the snake, and when I saw its imposing array of rattles, I decided to
keep it.

Later that afternoon, two friendly
cowboys dropped in. I displayed the snake to them. One of the cowboys offered
to help me save the snake’s skin. Together we removed the rattles and skinned
the snake. Then he stretched it and tacked it on a board and placed it on the
soddy roof to cure. That night as I lay listening to the coyotes howl, I felt I
was a real pioneer.

Mrs. Albert Summers

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
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.