Colorado Homestead Placed a Premium on Water Availability

Water availability on a Colorado homestead made the difference between life and death.

| Good Old Days

Water! How precious it was! We never wasted it in those days on our claim in southern Colorado near Trinidad. Those who had it in springs or wells on their claims shared it with those who did not, and how desirable and valuable a claim was could often be determined by the availability of water for drinking, washing, and watering livestock.

When our neighbors found a spring running from the side of a hill on their claim, they dug a hole and made a concrete basin to catch the water. And they put in a pipe outlet.

We would load two barrels in our wagon and drive 10 miles to the spring. We ran the wagon under the pipe and let the water fall into the barrels. We kept the barrels in the shade at our homestead, and the supply would last about two weeks.

In winter we melted snow. At least we did not have to make the long trip in cold weather. 

Mrs. Elva Tyler
Costa Mesa, California

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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