The Civil War: Superstitious Grandma Curses Bushwhackers

During the Civil War. gangs of bushwhackers terrorized families; grandma put a curse on man who stole her horse.

| Good Old Days

This is one of the Civil War stories my grandma told me. As did most families in those days, the men went to war, and the women did the best they could. My grandma was alone with the children, my mother was 10 years old and her brother 6. There were men who did not join the Army, called bushwhackers, who formed gangs and took what they wanted. They came to Grandma's home and found her meat salted down in the corner of her home, and they said she had probably poisoned it, so decided to do something mean.

They ripped her featherbed, poured it in the floor, then poured a large crock of honey into the feathers. Not satisfied with this, they tore her wall clock down with a bayonet. One rode away on the riding mare she had hidden in the smokehouse, and as Grandma held onto the bridle, this man, whom she had known a long while, kicked her down. Grandma was superstitious and believed she put a curse on him, that he should not live to ride her mare. He had always been cruel, and his own followers feared him. As he rode through a creek bed, he was shot. No one knew who did it.

After many weary months my grandma and family went north to Springfield, Illinois, to make their home.

Ida Bellinger
Kansas City, 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. 

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