Coffee Grounds on the Floor of Kansas Homestead Claim

Throwing coffee grounds on the dirt floor of her Kansas homestead claim proved a hard habit to break, until it was too late.

| Good Old Days

  • Mrs. Whinery is working in her kitchen. While this homestead was located in New Mexico, it was quite common for homesteads throughout the region to have dirt floors.
    Photo by Russell Lee/Library of Congress

When Great Aunt Sophyia was left a widow with three small children, a sister persuaded her to come West and homestead a government Kansas homestead claim.

Neighbors came for miles with teams and plows and they broke the sod and built her a two-room shack. The house had a dirt floor.

Aunt Sophyia was neat and clean. She washed her hands a dozen times while preparing a meal, "for fear of getting dirt in the vituals," she would say. But she had one bad habit. Every morning she would empty the dregs from her coffee cup on the floor. "After all," she would say, "it is a dirt floor and I always dampen it with water before I sweep, so what difference does it make?"

Her family and friends in the city had begged her for years to come home for a visit. She was homesick, so she decided to go. What do you think happened the very first morning she was there? Horror of horrors! Without thinking, she flipped the dregs from her coffee cup on her friend's beautifully waxed kitchen floor! 

Mrs. R. D. Cole
Meade, 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 Schedule 2019


Next: February 16-17, 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds