Kansas Homestead Settlers Nearly Left When Faced With First Tornado

Solomon Smith and his wife, Sophia, arriving in Kansas in 1872, stopped in Salina, a 14-year-old hamlet with about 1,200 persons. The Smiths rented a little board shanty there for $20 a month.

One day Solomon walked out to look at land, so different from that in his native Maryland. Returning home that evening, he saw rolling in from the southwest the biggest, blackest cloud he had ever seen. Never had he viewed a cloud like that one; he knew the end was at hand!

He raced home, demanding that the trunks be brought out and packed for immediate flight. He was leaving for Maryland.

Sophia remained calm. “No,” was her response.

And so Solomon Smith sat out his first Kansas tornado. He frequently gave credit to Sophia for having greater courage than he did.

Rewritten from an article in the Salina Advertiser-Sun, submitted by Solomon Smith’s great-granddaughter. 

Mrs. Herman L. Dingler
Enterprise, 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.