My maternal grandparents joined the trek from the borderline of civilization in Wisconsin soon after the G.A.R.s were mustered out following the Civil War. They loaded their three boys and four girls into covered wagons drawn by ox teams Tom and Jerry, Dave and Darby, Duke and Dandy, and Buck and Bright. It took 38 days of travel to reach Gibbon, Nebraska, where they spent the winter.
Their home on Cedar Creek boasted the first cookstove in the community and was the location of the first day school and first Sunday school. The first funeral of the new community was held there. It was for a young wife who had perished in the Easter blizzard of 1873 in their yard, so close to shelter. The roof of her dugout had caved in, and she had gone seeking shelter. The first post office also was in my grandparents' home, and so it was the center of the community, and news grapevined in and out.
Clothes were spread on the grass or hung on the plum bushes to dry. The children were given the task of watching them to see that they did not blow away, get chewed by cattle or that the grasshoppers did not eat them.
Mrs. N.D. Ickes
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.