In March 1882, when I was 8 years old, our family traveled by covered wagon from Lincoln, Nebraska, to near Mitchell in the Dakota Territory.
We – a girl cousin, my two sisters and I – reveled in the delights of the journey. We searched the roadside for treasures; we eagerly blocked the wagons, three of them, with rocks as the horses rested up the long hills. We ran ahead as we neared the top for a view of the road ahead, the next hilltop, smoke from a town or the Missouri River bluffs.
At night, we brought the tent pins and watched the tent go up. We gathered sticks and cobs for fuel for the stove. Then how good the re-heated meat, hot biscuits and jam tasted!
From a nearby straw stack, we got straw on which to make our beds and slept well, sometimes with coats and hoods on. Not even a cold troubled any of us.
At Niobrara, the ferry trip across the Missouri River was exciting. Pet and Prince trembled at the first chug of the engine but Father, with his hand on each nose, said, “It’s all right” and neither one moved a foot.
The journey brought were daily thrills for three weeks with health and hope, which ever since have been a joyful memory.
Canon City, 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.