What It Was Like on a Kansas Homestead Claim

My brother and his bride, and I, a single woman, had adjoining Kansas homesteads near Stanton, Kansas. Our shacks on our Kansas homestead claim were part dugouts, with dirt floors and dirt walls to ground level. My shack had a floor covered with a layer of cane topped with a rag carpet. The furniture was a bunk bed, a homemade table, crates for cupboards, a small cook stove, and a couple of old chairs.

I taught school nearby and pulled broom corn and cut milo maize with a small knife to earn money which enabled me to pay out on the land after living there two years.

Sometimes church was held in the schoolhouse. Some of the sermons were in German, which we didn’t understand, but we enjoyed singing and meeting our neighbors. 

Mrs. Mary Heiland
Bucklin, 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.