Dewey County, Oklahoma Settlers Relied on Hunting

My daddy and his brother worked together improving their places in Dewey County, Oklahoma, and lived in a covered wagon while they built their house.

Turning the sod with a team of horses and a sod plow, cutting it to workable lengths, hauling it on a sled made from logs, and stacking it to the proper height for walls took many days and a lot of work.

They chopped down a large tree with an ax for the ridge pole. Small trees cut for rafters were covered first with brush, then with cut grass, and then with dirt thrown over the brush and straw.

At the windows they tacked hides or whatever they could get ahold of. They had to take time out to hunt for their food. They shot wild game, such as turkeys and pheasants, or if lucky, perhaps a buffalo.

By the time my daddy and uncle finished, they had three sod houses. Daddy, his brother, their mother and sister, all took up claims a mile apart down Cottonwood Creek.

Some time later a neighbor built a saw-mill, and the men cut down big cotton woods and dragged them to the mill. They cut enough lumber to cover the roofs and to build some outbuildings for stock. 

Mrs. Art Marler
Mutual, Oklahoma

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.