In our first summer in McPherson County, Nebraska, we attended a Fourth of July celebration at a store and post office which was close to us. A dance platform with seats around the edge had been built there. It was roofed with new lumber, but was not watertight.
People came in wagons and buggies, and some on horseback. They parked the wagons in parallel rows, with space between the lines. The horses were tied on the outside of the wagons.
In the middle, between the wagons, blankets and quilts were spread on the grass, and tables were set up. Tarpaulins over the tables kept the hot sun off.
The food was plentiful and good-all kinds of bread and rolls, cakes and cookies, pies, salads; and for meat, beef roasts, meat loaf, prairie chicken, grouse, and tame chicken.
The cowboys brought their beer and buried it to keep it cool.
Some ladies didn't have hairpins to do up their hair, so they made pins from wire and arrived with their hair arranged in the latest style, looking very pretty. The people were so friendly, and could they shake hands!
After dinner we had a rodeo, with bucking horses, races, "rasseling," boxing, and tug of war. And in the middle of the afternoon, more people came and the dance started. Those who weren't dancing sat around the pavilion.
About dark the rain began, and the roof started to leak. The musicians played in a tent they had set up to keep their instruments dry. Some people put on raincoats, and couples danced holding umbrellas. The dance broke up about eleven. Many had miles to travel before they reached home.
Although I am old, I remember the day as the most interesting Independence Day we ever celebrated, so different and amusing for us newcomers.
Mrs. Carl E. Feikert
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.