Corn Coffee Helped Calm Group

Waiting for an Indian attack that never came, settlers boiled corn coffee to pass the time.

| Good Old Days

Indian scares plagued the early settlers in southern Kansas, as did shortages of staples such as coffee. Settlers kept a look out for raids and made do with substitutes such as coffee corn.

Some men paid Chief Chetopa five dollars a year, and he and his tribe never molested them. However, rumors of attack persisted. At one time the settlers in my own locality deemed it well to gather in a home built of logs like a fort.

Five families crowded into two small rooms, children crying, women half-hysterical, and the men with guns in their hands. Late in the night the hostess suggested that they make coffee for the men. "But," said she, "we'll have to shell and parch the corn because we have no real store coffee."

"Let's not bother to shell it," said a neighbor woman. "Just throw it in the b'iler, cob and all. We'll all be scalped before morning anyhow."

But the corn was shelled, parched and brewed. It tasted good, and morning dawned peacefully. The settlers returned to their homes and never saw a really hostile Indian then or thereafter.

Pruda B. Utley
Arkansas City, Kansas
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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