Pioneer Wives Tales From the Plains
Stories from pioneer wives of the Plains depicts a life of arduous toil.
When I came to this community in Kansas as a bride in
1913, I soon had friends among the women who were pioneer wives and homesteading mothers. I
liked to listen to their stories.
As young wives, they often prepared
a bundle of baby clothes to be given to an expectant mother. Money was scarce,
so little garments were made from men's faded blue shirttails or the best parts
of worn-out dresses. Diapers were mostly flour sacks. Each woman added what she
could, washing and mending any baby clothes she had, and passed the layette on
to her neighbor. The babies looked as sweet and dear in the hand-me-downs as
they would have looked in fine linen and lace.
One friend told me of the birth of
her son in their dugout home. A blizzard came up and left a blanket of snow on
her bed, but she and the babe were snug and warm under the covers.
Another told how frightened she and
her children were in their sod shanty when a herd of buffaloes came rushing
across the prairie on their way to the river. At the soddy the herd split and
passed on each side of the house without harming it.
She also told me how her family
hungered for garden stuff after the grasshoppers ate everything. All was gone;
where the onions had been there were only holes in the ground. Her family
wanted trees so they planted precious seedlings and watered them by putting
water in a washtub, tying a rope to the handle and pulling it to the little
When Indians were in the country,
the settlers would go to Fort
Kanopolis and stay until
they left. One friend told how the Indians came to their home wanting feed for
horses and how her anxious father held her, a little golden-haired girl, while
the chief fingered her curls. "Little princess," he said, and left
the family unharmed.
Mrs. Irma M. Folck
Little River, 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.