North Platte, Nebraska Homesteaders Dealt With Sand and Bugs

Homesteading family near North Platte, Nebraska, persevered through plenty of hardships.

| Good Old Days

When we were advised to take our ailing little daughter west and to live outside as much as possible, my husband went to North Platte, Nebraska, by train and filed on the last piece of land left for homesteading in McPherson County under the Kinkaid Act. He didn't even look at the land.

At home again he made an overshot box to set on the double box of the wagon, and he added bows and covered them with canvas. Our bed slats and spring were laid on the overshot box and topped with a tick of shucks and a featherbed. Trunks and boxes went under the bed, with a folding table, some chairs, a kerosene stove, pots and pans, a lantern, soap and towels and a washbasin.

Southeast of North Platte, we drove into a sandstorm. Taking the canvas cover off the bows, we lashed it tightly over our bed and cooking equipment. We tied towels across our faces because the sand cut and stung. Blown full of sand – our clothes were packed – we were so heavy we could hardly get down from the wagon. .

Right then I didn't think much of the West.

In McPherson County, our new horne, we didn't care for the wide open spaces all covered with bunch grass, soapweeds and rattlesnakes. And we didn't like the fleas, the little black bugs that could jump and bite. They were everywhere.

We stayed on that claim, built a house, and raised crops of potatoes, beans, and corn, and one day we were able to make a trip to North Platte to prove up on our homestead. 

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