Union Army, Confederate Army Skirmish at Wilson Creek

Aunt Nan loved to tell her version of the Battle of Wilson Creek between the Union Army and the Confederate Army. “I remember August 10, 1861,” she’d begin. “Early that morning as I did my chores, I heard a steady rumble like thunder coming from the south.”

“‘Hey, Sis!'” I yelled. “There’s a storm coming. There’s a dark cloud south of town and thunder like a thousand wagons. Help me get the chores done before it rains.”

The thunder continued to rumble and the clouds continued to hang low in the south. Right after noon, a neighbor brought news. “There’s a big battle raging south of Springfield, near the Old Wire Road on those wooded hills on Wilson Creek! Runners say them Rebels are cutting our Army like hailstones cut ripe wheat!”

Aunt Nan always paused in her story at this point before saying, “All day we listened to the horrible cannon thunder. We watched the horrible rolling cloud that hovered over the southern horizon with fear in our hearts. We prayed for our men, our neighbors and our Army.

“News came slowly in those days, but day-by-day and bit-by-bit we heard the bloody battle story; about friends and neighbors killed and wounded. We heard of the death of our General Lyon and the retreat of the Federal Army toward St. Louis.”

Grammy always finished this story the same way, “War is a horrible thing! One of the bloodiest battles of all times was that Battle of Wilson Creek.”

Mamie Fly
Wichita, 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.