Monday, October 22, 2007

Contribution from Peggy Hubbell - Topeka

The story I have was told to me by a friend who is now deceased. Her name was Ruth Timken.
Ruth started teaching right out of high school. She was in a one room school between Ness City and Bazine. Her maiden name was Ruth Elaine Rigby.
She said they could see the big black cloud rolling in and knew what it was. Some of the parents would pick up their children, and if Ruth had her car she would take some to their homes. Everyone knew to drive on the wrong side of the road because you could see the ditch and that would guide you on the road.
One day she didn't have her car (actually her grandfather's car) and all the childrean had been picked up, but Ruth was left. She thought she was going to have to spend the night there, but some of the neighbors came on horseback and she rode double to go spend the night at their house - sleeping with the mother.
Ruth said that every morning she had to take the broom and sweep the dirt off the desks. (I wish I had asked if she had to shovel it off the floor.)
Ruth's daughter helped me pinpoint the school. She lives in Topeka.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Recollection by Mary Belle Grabenstein

The dirty thirties was something else. Mom would take a wet sheet and drape it over the old wood burning stove and cook our meals, and then we would eat in the southeast bedroom, as that was the place with the least dirt in it.

from Golden Gleanings by Cecile La Salle

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Dust Bowl and the Dirty Thirtys by Della Wray Blythe

I have been there! I didn't like it!

I well remember the Dirty 30's and the Dust Bowl. I lived on a farm two miles west of Elkhart, Kansas. Elkhart and Morton County, Kansas was known as the center of the Dust Bowl.

The 1930's were very dry years in southwest Kansas. The wind would blow for days. There was no rain so the crops could not grow to hold the soil. The blowing sand destroyed all vegetation until there was nothing left to try to stop the swirling of the sand. The sand would pile up around the farm buildings until it was as high as a man.

It was on May 21, 1937 the THE big dust storms rolled thru the Elkhart community.

The air felt different. There was no breeze. It was so quiet. Grandma and I went out in the yard to see what was going on. We looked off to the south. The sky looked so strange. As we stood in the yard the cloud continued to roll toward us becoming larger and larger and darker and darker. As it came closer we went into the house to close all the windows and doors and finally to light a lamp. Grandpa came in from the field. I don't remember how long it took for the storm to roll in and over but it was a terrible time.

Some one in Elkhart took a series of pictures as the storm approached on May 21, 1937. Even these pictures cannot describe the feeling of doom that we felt on that day.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

"The Drought of the thirties"

Memoirs of Arthur Newkirk, born 1893 in Geneseo, Kansas.

Arthur attended Kansas State Agricultural College from fall 1913 until the spring of 1917 when K-State offered to give him his diploma early if he would go home and plant a large corn crop to aid in the war effort. He worked with the AAA- Agricultural Adjustment Administration from it's beginning in 1934, which paid farmers to reduce crop area to increase the value of crops. He also was a soil conservationist in Wakeeney, Kansas and New Mexico in the 30's and 40's

Writing in 1987 regarding the dust bowl years-

"Now we are in the time of the great depression, and the drought of the thirties. It is hard for some of the young folks of today to realize what people went through at that time. I want to mention a few things...We sold wheat one year for 26 cents per bushel. I got 4 cents a pound for a bunch of fat hogs. Several times we put three or four nice big Buff Orpington hens in a peach basket and took them to Little River and sold them to buy groceries. We were milking several cows and selling cream, shipping it from Galt, a railroad station about three miles from our farm. In order to save a little money, the cream buyers typed their checks on the back of a postal card in order to save postage. They could be sent for one cent. We had two quarter sections of land. We sold one in order to save the other one and have a place to live on. But we farmers didn't go on a strike, and things worked out eventually.