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The speaker is a 70-year-old White man with a high school education from Boone, Iowa; he was recorded in 1967.

County: Boone
State: IA

Boone, in central Iowa very close to Ames, is the birthplace of First Lady Mamie Doud Eisenhower (1896). Rival town Boonesboro was annexed in 1887, not without acrimonious feelings, it is said, with the dividing line being Division Street. It was a town built by mining, railroading, and industrial interests, on and above the valley of the Des Moines River. The speaker worked in many occupations, some of which were a coal miner, a cowboy, a mule driver, and a soldier, during his colorful life. In this excerpt he talks of going from Iowa to Nebraska in a covered wagon when he was six years old. On the prairie, where there were not many trees, many early settlers lived in sod houses.
Inf: We got uh, out into western Nebraska the first year. And they didn't want to go any farther so we, mother had a cousin that lived out there, was a rancher. And uh, he had an old soddy. And that's where we lived was in this old soddy. And uh, that fall Dad broke up prairie out there in Nebraska, virgin prairie. They were raising quite a bit of wheat in that country at that time and they were breaking up an awful lot of land and so that's what he done. And uh, I s'pose he laid up a little money. To go on, the next year then, we went on through the mountains. And I know we went over the divide, the, the fourth of July. I remember, I don't particularly remember that date, but then that's when the folks said it was. I remember quite a bit about the trip, and different things that happened on the trip.

FW: Well, what was it like, traveling covered wagon?

Inf: Well, I suppose to a kid that was really an outing.

FW: Yeah.

Inf: But uh, it could be awful disagreeable at times. Stormy an' rainy an' then you get out there in Nebraska in the middle of the summer, pretty hot an' windy. And you just set up a tent of a night, you just camp out, set up a tent of a night an' I can remember him uh out on the plains out there, that he'd take a scoop shovel and clear off a place for the tent, the shovel off the, the cactus you know, there's so much of the pin cushion cactus, for a place to set up the tent. Scout around, see if there's any rattlesnakes. Usually was, some. Fact of the matter is, in that collection there, I've got a bunch of rattlers there that he pulled off the rattlesnakes that he killed.

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