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Old 04-26-2009, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Utopia
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The History Channel just had the most interesting show on the Oklahoma Dust Bowl of the 1930's, and really explained how it happened well. If you get a chance to watch it on cable/satellite, do so as it is worth your time.
However, one thing they didn't answer is: how did those who were farmers survive during those years? Many stayed where they were on the farm, but, if you can't farm, how do you eat?
Anyone have any first hand knowledge from old timers of this Dust Bowl, and want to share?
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:34 AM
Status: ", Bullwinkle J. Moose for president!" (set 4 days ago)
 
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TW is right. The History Channel showed it maybe a couple weeks ago. Was a great documentary.
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Fort Worth/Dallas
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My father lived through the dustbowl. They learned to be very, very fickle and moved to Eastern Oklahoma near the Eufala area where the impact was far less severe and they were able to grow enough to live on.

Many think that the dustbowl covered the entire state, but as you can see by the image below, only far western portions of Oklahoma were severely effected.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/dustbowl/maps/images/dustbowlmap.gif (broken link)
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synopsis View Post
My father lived through the dustbowl. They learned to be very, very fickle and moved to Eastern Oklahoma near the Eufala area where the impact was far less severe and they were able to grow enough to live on.

Many think that the dustbowl covered the entire state, but as you can see by the image below, only far western portions of Oklahoma were severely effected.
I do hope you meant frugal! I've seen quite a few documentaries over the years, and it always boggled me to see the huge piles of dust the women swept out the doors every morning. I think they were in the worst-hit areas, though. One thing for sure, farmers learned all about contour plowing and why not to plow miles and miles of straight rows.
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Fort Worth/Dallas
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Originally Posted by karibear View Post
I do hope you meant frugal! I've seen quite a few documentaries over the years, and it always boggled me to see the huge piles of dust the women swept out the doors every morning. I think they were in the worst-hit areas, though. One thing for sure, farmers learned all about contour plowing and why not to plow miles and miles of straight rows.
Yikes! Yes, I meant frugal. That was a senior moment for sure! Thanks for pointing that out.

And I'm a writer.
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Old 04-27-2009, 05:55 AM
 
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good books on the subject are Harpsong, Bed of Stone, and Grapes of Wrath, only Harpsong and Bed of Stone take place in Oklahoma while Grapes of Wrath is leaving Oklahoma. Some people became bank robbers in order to survive. I can't recall what the farmers did unless the government helped them out. There was a time when the government gave aid to those that had homes. If you had left and had not residence like the migrant farm workers, you did not get aid.
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Old 04-27-2009, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Utopia
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Much to my surprise the area affected on the map seems to hit the State of Kansas much harder than western Oklahoma. Can someone explain why western Oklahomans get all the attention over the dust bowl--instead of Kansas farmers? This was not explained in the documentary unless I was out of the room at the time.
If something like 116,000 families from Oklahoma relocated to California due to the Dust Bowl then, as I surmise from the map, there must have been one heck of alot of farming in that little panhandle area in western Oklahoma.
Can someone shed light on all this?
Where was the majority of farming then? That little panhandle in western Oklahoma? None of the huge dust bowl area of Kansas had farms? I don't get this.
Were there no farms in eastern Colorado and eastern New Mexico? They have never been mentioned regarding the Dust Bowl that I know of, but, in all honesty, I was in and out of the room when the documentary was on.
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Old 04-27-2009, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Fort Worth/Dallas
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Originally Posted by TootsieWootsie View Post
Much to my surprise the area affected on the map seems to hit the State of Kansas much harder than western Oklahoma. Can someone explain why western Oklahomans get all the attention over the dust bowl--instead of Kansas farmers? This was not explained in the documentary unless I was out of the room at the time.
If something like 116,000 families from Oklahoma relocated to California due to the Dust Bowl then, as I surmise from the map, there must have been one heck of alot of farming in that little panhandle area in western Oklahoma.
Can someone shed light on all this?
Where was the majority of farming then? That little panhandle in western Oklahoma? None of the huge dust bowl area of Kansas had farms? I don't get this.
Were there no farms in eastern Colorado and eastern New Mexico? They have never been mentioned regarding the Dust Bowl that I know of, but, in all honesty, I was in and out of the room when the documentary was on.

That always puzzled me as well. Texas, Kansas, and even Colorado had larger areas affected by the extreme drought. Maybe the economy in Oklahoma was based more on agriculture and people were more affected? I don't know. It is a good question.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:25 AM
 
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Default The Worst Hard Time

There is a very good book on the subject published in 2006 that answers many of your questions. It is "The Worst Hard Time" written by Timothy Egan.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:58 AM
 
498 posts, read 1,525,398 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TootsieWootsie View Post
Much to my surprise the area affected on the map seems to hit the State of Kansas much harder than western Oklahoma. Can someone explain why western Oklahomans get all the attention over the dust bowl--instead of Kansas farmers? This was not explained in the documentary unless I was out of the room at the time.
If something like 116,000 families from Oklahoma relocated to California due to the Dust Bowl then, as I surmise from the map, there must have been one heck of alot of farming in that little panhandle area in western Oklahoma.
Can someone shed light on all this?
Where was the majority of farming then? That little panhandle in western Oklahoma? None of the huge dust bowl area of Kansas had farms? I don't get this.
Were there no farms in eastern Colorado and eastern New Mexico? They have never been mentioned regarding the Dust Bowl that I know of, but, in all honesty, I was in and out of the room when the documentary was on.
I can sum it up for you. The national media grabbed on to the 'Grapes of Wrath' fever pretty quick. A handful of journalists encountered on more than one occasion Oklahoma plates crossing the California state line and said "yeah, sure enough", and then had a heyday with their columns.

But the 116,000 Oklahoma families is inaccurate from a census standpoint. In 1930, Oklahoma's population stood at 2,396,040. In 1940, Oklahoma lost less than 60,000 people throughout the 1930s.

The biggest population loss came in the 1940s when Oklahoma lost over 103,000 from 1940 to 1950. The dust bowl was long gone by then. Much of the population loss in the 1940s wasn't agrarian related, but it was people that moved to California for industrial jobs. And it wasn't a family-wide all-in-one migration. Oftentimes, the young moved to California to look for work, found work and then their parents and siblings would follow. Many DID have work in Oklahoma, they were just looking for better opportunities in California.

Population growth rebounded in the 1950s and it has been going up since then, with the brief exception of the mid-1980s.

http://www.census.gov/dmd/www/resapp...s/oklahoma.pdf

Last edited by okcpulse; 04-27-2009 at 10:39 AM..
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