Missouri Woman Was as Hardworking as They Come
Read the tale of a hardworking Missouri homesteading woman and think of how easy you might have it.
My mother worked hard all her life;
she never had any luxuries or conveniences, never complained of hardships. I
never heard her wish for anything better than what she had.
She told us how her father called
his children out of bed at 3 a.m. to go with him across
the mountains in Arkansas
to work in the cotton fields. They had a long ride by horseback and they wanted
to be in the fields by daybreak. Often, she said, she would go to sleep as they
rode along, but other children riding the same horse would catch her and keep
her from falling. She was only 10 or 12 years old at the time, but some of her
brothers and sisters were younger than that.
Mother hoed corn from the time she
was 6 years old. And after she was married at 16, she still worked in the
fields. She sat up many a night until midnight spinning and weaving by
candlelight for she made the clothing for her family of 11 children. And she
was up before daylight the next morning to take her place in the field, leaving
her little ones in the care of one of the children, and taking the others to
work by her side.
She carried her washings to the
creek close by, gathering dead limbs and building a fire on the rocks under the
tub to heat the water. She did her washing on a washboard and dried the clothes
on bushes. While they dried, she went home to cook the dinner, maybe gathering
a mess of greens along the way.
She worked hard until she was 80
and passed away when she was 90.
H. M. Groves
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.