Three weeks after my parents arrived in Kansas in February of 1880, a terrible blizzard struck. My father had erected a building that he intended to be a barn, but the family was living in it, hoping to get a house built soon. But the blizzard came on suddenly, and they had to remain in the barn: my father, my mother (an invalid, seven months pregnant), and the children.
The night of February 12, 1880, was bitterly cold when Mother told Father he had better find a doctor as she knew something was going to take place. He saddled his big black stallion which was tied to the wagon beside the shack, the only windbreak the horses had, and rode three miles to Cedar Vale for the doctor. When he arrived at the doctor's house, his horse was covered with frozen snow and appeared to be a white horse.
In less than three hours after my father returned to the barn with the doctor, a little premature girl was born. The shock and cold were too much for Mother, and she lapsed into unconsciousness. The snow drifted into the building and turned to ice; the covers on her bed were frozen to the wall. My father, a newcomer to the Kansas prairie, had an invalid wife who was unconscious, a premature baby girl, and four other children to care for in a barn.
Three days later my mother recovered consciousness and found her daughter still alive. She began rubbing the child with oil and feeding it, and somehow both mother and baby managed to survive.
I was that blizzard baby.
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.