Civil War Stories: Family Knew John Brown

Great-grandparents avoided Quantrill's Raiders, had horses stolen, and knew John Brown as a neighbor during the Civil War.

| Good Old Days

My great-grandparents lived near Baldwin, Kansas, and were involved in some of the skirmishes of the Civil War. Great-grandmother was alone with her children as her husband was away with the Army. The news was brought that Quantrill's Raiders were to come through there. She loaded her belongings and children on the wagon and drove deep into the thick timber, where they spent the night. What a night full of fear that must have been! The Raiders went north of them, and history tells what they did.

Her means of transportation was a beautiful team of horses, which she badly needed, especially with her husband away. A General and his men came by and wanted to buy them, but she would not sell. That night they returned and stole them.

They also knew the John Brown family. They knew John Brown as a mild-mannered fellow, and not the raging maniac that is pictured today. He brought his son-in-law to their house for treatment of a wound. She pounded slippery elm bark with her "sad-iron" for medicine. We still have this iron which bears the nicks caused by the pounding of the bark. Sometime or other the regular handle was lost and was replaced by a handle that looks like it might have been taken from a hay hook.

I did not know my great-grandmother, but my grandmother told these things that she remembered as a girl. If only we had recorded the other things she remembered.

Darlene Bruner
Moline, Kansas

 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. 

mother earth news fair


Feb. 17-18, 2018
Belton, Texas

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!