Stove Breaks During River Crossing

Wagon tilts during river crossing, breaking stove and dumping baby into cold water.

| Good Old Days

A bad river crossing figured prominently in our move from the Oklahoma Territory to Arkansas.

I was born on a homestead in the Oklahoma Territory in a one-room shack with cloth tacked over the one window and a blanket over the door. The wolves were so thick my mother said she was afraid to go to sleep at night for fear they would carry off the children.

When I was 6 years old, we started out in two covered wagons to go to Arkansas for my mother's health. There were seven children living. We had two wagons and were driving several cattle. Father drove one wagon and Mother drove the other. We had a big wood-burning cookstove in Mother's wagon to keep us warm and to cook on. We pulled into a creek, and Mother's wagon slid up on a big rock and turned about halfway over. The cold water on that red-hot stove broke it. Mother, one little boy and the small baby were dumped into the icy water. But they all made it out and dried out in a house near the river. We lost quite a bit of our stuff, though.

Mary King
Adair, Oklahoma

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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