Rural Schoolhouse Heated With Alternative Fuel

Remembers rural schoolhouse being heated with cow chips.

| Good Old Days

In 1933 we were attending Watson School, a rural school in the Texas Panhandle. Before winter was over, the school ran out of coal. Because of the Depression, there was no money to buy any more coal.

The president of the school board had an old truck with high sideboards. One day he picked up the man teacher and several of the older boys. They went to a nearby ranch and picked up truckloads of cow chips which were unloaded into the school's coal shed. The chips made a hot fire but burned quickly. The teachers had the older boys take turns bringing in a scuttleful of cow chips to keep the school rooms warm. But "cow chip" was never mentioned. The teacher would say "fuel."

Hazel Gohr
Monte Vista, Colorado

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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