Tale Told of Man Floating in Wooden Barrel to the Land of Opportunity

Lutheran Church members told girl that man used a wooden barrel to come to America, the land of opportunity.

| Good Old Days

When I was a child in the 1930s, many of the older men who attended our Lutheran Church in the country had emigrated from Europe to find work in this land of opportunity. This was back when men and women entered by separate doors and sat on separate sides of the church. One little old man with a long, white beard and heavy German accent always fascinated me. I was told that when he came here from Germany, he floated over in a barrel. I now realize this was probably a joke. Maybe he floated from the boat to shore, but there's no way he floated across the ocean in a barrel. During all my growing-up years, whenever I saw this man, I immediately pictured him standing upright in a wooden barrel, holding on with both hands, his long beard whipping in the wind while the barrel floated gently up and down with the waves.

Elaine Derendinger
Franklin, Missouri

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. 

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