When we came to our homestead in Barton County, Kansas, 76 years ago, there was a little one-room block house on our place with a roof of brush and hay. Father had to get a neighbor to make the long trip to town to get some lumber for a roof.
While our home wasn’t a sod house, Father built on a room made out of sod. Always that room was nice and warm in winter and cool and pleasant in summer. Every stick of furniture we had was made by my father. He made a bedstead, a table, a chair for Mother, and a bench for us children.
Later there was an extra little room where we kept corn for the hogs and chickens. My brothers had to sleep on top of the corn! We lived this way for 10 years before we could afford to build a stone house.
Father had a team of oxen, and Mother had to go along when he plowed to lead them. In winter, it took one person's full time to cut the cornstalks and sunflower stalks to feed the fire. My mother refused to use prairie coal (cow chips).
We children had to walk 2 1/2 miles to school, and our lunch usually was a piece of bread and some fat bacon. But we all grew up to be strong and work hard, and every single one of us reached our 70s.
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.