Child Born During Harper County Blizzard

I was born the second winter after my parents moved to their dugout in Harper County, Kansas. My father had gone to Oklahoma after a load of wood, and the next day it blew up a blizzard and got terribly cold. The only help Mother had when I was born was her 14-year-old niece. No doctor for miles. It was so cold I could not be bathed for three days.

Then an aunt came from Wellington and took over. She had to walk two miles through tall bluestem grass to get a neighbor to come over and chop some wood for us. She said she was afraid to go that distance because of the coyotes and wolves. She made it back, and we finally had fire in the house.

Viola Gates Smith
Anthony, 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.