The Weeda and De Booy families lived in Alsace-Lorain near France, but they spoke Dutch. In 1852, several families from that area decided to come to America. They sailed to New Orleans, then up the Mississippi River to Keokuk, Iowa. After unloading their stock and furnishings, they stayed with other Holland people nearby. The men and older boys set out to scout the country for a place to settle and make their new home. They followed the Des Moines River in a northwestern direction. Some of the men found just the place they wanted and returned to Keokuk to get their families.
The Weeda and De Booy group continued on until they came to a location that they thought was paradise. The land-between the Skunk and Des Moines Rivers-was level and the soil very fertile. The town was called "Strawtown" because there were so many straw hut dwellings. The huts were made from prairie grass. They could purchase the virgin acres at a going price of $1.25 per acre. Upon their arrival they began to establish new homes. They hired-out to farmers and merchants and also rented ground for large gardens.
A 12-year-old boy named Cornelius De Booy, born in 1840, and a l0-year-old girl named Johanna Weeda, born in 1842, became close friends and later married. They lived in Pella, Iowa. To this union were born seven daughters and two sons. The younger son was my dad, Ira George De Booy, born in Pella, Iowa, in 1882.
Elizabeth Mae De Booy Malone
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.