Cappers Farmer

Homesteaders Harvested Wild Fruits

I am past 83 and nearing the end, but I well remember when we traveled from Kewanee, Illinois, to Aspen, Colorado, to homestead. We came over the Independence Range by stage coach part way, part way by covered wagon, and the rest of the way on a sled drawn by four spirited horses.

We upset once in a snowdrift. My youngest sister, Kate, was only 7 weeks old. Just imagine my mother’s plight carrying a 7-week-old baby over that route! I dare say few today are her equal. She passed away at age 78. God bless her!

My parents pre-empted 160 acres on Snowmass Creek. There were no roads, no bridges and no fences. Our log cabin was built of round logs, and the lumber for the door, table and benches was hewn with a broad ax. In season, we had wild fruits – Oregon grapes, chokeberries, wild strawberries and raspberries. There was plenty of native trout, and deer and elk were available to those who could hunt. We couldn’t, but we had good neighbors.

There were no schools near, so we moved to town for the winters. There were heavier snow slides in those days and many lost their lives.

James MacKenzie
Glenwood Springs, Colo.

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.

  • Published on Jun 15, 2012
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