Our Stories

Immigrants arrive at Ellis Island as in Bessie's PillowWhere Are You From?

Did your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents immigrate to the United States from Eastern Europe?

Italy, Ireland or Germany, perhaps? Mexico? Somewhere else? Maybe you’re an immigrant yourself?

Please tell us your story so we can share it with the visitors to the Bessie’s Pillow Website.

To contribute your story, go to our Contact page and leave your story in the question and comment box. We’ll move it over to this Story page for you. Please limit your stories to 250 words or less.

Thank you. Can’t wait to read the stories!

Pioneer Woman Walks to Colorado

“Anna Raymond Wagner left Baden, Germany in 1848 with her husband Hermann. Political strife and poor crops made America seem grand indeed.  They first settled in Ohio where Hermann foolishly loaned the little bit of money he had to a ne’er do well. The money was gone and Anna and Hermann lost their home. But always optimistic, Hermann, a shoemaker by trade, heard that folks were striking it rich in Colorado in 1858. The gold rush was on and Hermann wasn’t to be left out. Shortly after he arrived, he sent for Anna who walked behind a covered wagon from Ohio to Colorado. Hermann never struck it rich and discovered before Anna arrived that he was better off making boots, shoes, and saddles for the gold miners. He also had the foresight to get 320 acres of homestead land. But he would never homestead. Before my grandfather was born, Hermann contracted pneumonia and died. Anna moved her six children from the town of Auraria (now Denver), with its saloons, brothels, and gambling houses, to the homestead. She and the older children built a rough cabin on their land. Anna grew cucumbers which she sold to a pickling company and raised cattle, branded W-6 (for the six Wagner children). The boys built the Wagner Lateral Ditch, an irrigation system still in use and later, one of the first brick houses in Denver. The house still stands today.” from MaryJo Wagner (Anna Wagner’s great granddaughter), Denver