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
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.