At the beginning of the Civil War, my maternal grandfather lived near Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, and had been married only a short time. He enlisted on October 16, 1862, in the 177th Pennsylvania regiment and left to serve his country.
My grandmother took her baby daughter, who was my mother, and went to live with her parents. My grandfather served his time and came home, but there was a man who didn't want to go to war. At that time, if a man didn't want to go, he could hire another to go in his place. Because Grandfather badly needed the money, he accepted the offer of $200 and went again, joining the 198th Pennsylvania volunteers on September 6, 1864, and served until he was discharged at the close of the war. He was never paid the money that was promised.
Two of the battles he was in were the Battle of Gettysburg and the Battle of the Wilderness, but he never liked to talk about the war.
He was very sick at one time while in the Army, and couldn't eat. My mother told me that she could remember the day he came home. She was 5 years old and at school. He came through the schoolyard, picked her up and carried her home on his shoulder.
Because of his sickness, he had brought some of his beans, rice and coffee home with him. He lived to be an old man, but he never ate beans or rice, nor drank another cup of coffee.
St. John, 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.