Alonzo Noble knew his sister and her family was coming to Nebraska, and as it happened, 160 acres across the road from his farm were available for homesteading. Alonzo was desirous of having his brother-in-law settle there.
On that land he threw up a shack, and if a covered wagon was seen coming over the hills, he would build a fire in the little hut.
As the wagon approached, smoke would come pouring from the chimney, and the driver, assuming someone lived there, would continue on his way.
And then the proper wagon appeared bringing the James Ostrander family from Wisconsin in 1865, and Alonzo’s brother-in-law took immediate steps to file a claim on the land. And this is how, I am told, my great-grandparents came to own the last quarter section to be homesteaded in Johnson County, Nebraska.
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.