Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dalhart, Texas

One of the things that made the Great Depression so bad is that right in the middle of one of the worst financial crisis in the US's history, there was a drought of epic proportion. The rains just stopped. The picture above was taken near Dalhart, Texas, and you can see the conditions were such that farming or ranching was impossible.


  1. I guess I stuck my foot into it yesterday. I apologies for my remarks.

    I did come from a family of 8 kids, and times wear tough. But we never wanted for anything. There was always food on the table clean clothes and shoes to wear. I had a sister that died very young, but I was only 4 or 5 at the time We had a small house on the farm and the 5 boys slept in the barn summer and winter. Growing up we never had electricity, so in the summer the deep well pump water into a big cement tank and our perishable were in large jars in the cold water.

    I guess what set me off is the present day. As a retired manager of a large mobile home park, I see this all the time. People that can't even afford to pay the rent having more kids. Not just one, but two or three more.
    They let their kids run around half naked all year around. Yes even in the winter. More than once the police have been out here arresting a drunk or drugged up parent that let their little child get out side with out a shirt or even pants or shoes on.
    They can afford to buy booze or drugs but can't pay the rent or but clothes for their kids.

    But I guess I owe an apology to all those families that did have children and made it work on little or no money.

  2. I don't know diddley about farming. Rain is certainly a necessity but what about irrigation? And would crop rotation have made a difference?


  3. Herm in Phoenix, AZJanuary 27, 2011 at 7:22 AM

    Here's a poem I wrote for this picture:

    A hard working, God-fearing, weathered pioneer
    Had a dream in his heart for many a year
    To homestead on the prairie with his family
    Rooted to Mother earth in perfect harmony

    The nest-egg they had saved was barely enough
    And they knew the road ahead would be rough
    But they followed their dream of a brand new start
    With the wind at their backs. A prayer in their heart

    Fulfilling life’s dream by the sweat of their brow
    The home they built still stands there now
    Soil was plowed and seeded. They worked long hard hours
    But the much needed crop failed . . . There were no showers

    Fate was unkind to these hard working souls
    They humbly left their dream and many unfilled goals
    Took their meager belongings and some of that dry prairie dirt
    A tribute to their effort. A memorial to the hurt.

  4. such a combination! dry season + finincial crisis!
    food was expensive and rare!
    i guess importation raised in that period too.
    the picture would be much more beutyful if it wasn't tragic.

  5. Tonia O'UvaldeJanuary 27, 2011 at 9:22 AM

    Those of you wanting to know more about the Great Depression should read the book "The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan. Bad farming practices encouraged by the U.S. Government were partly to blame for the wind erosion that contributed greatly to the drought.

  6. Soil Conservation practices were non existent...and it was a drought..and the wind exactly do you control Mother just survive if you can..and many could not.
    A sad photo for sure:(

  7. First, about the pictures this week...these make me think of my mother's family, who lived in Arkansas and Oklahoma during the depression. I have a great picture of my grandparents in front of what I always thought was an old, falling-down barn, but found out later it was their homestead. There is a small picture of it on one of my websites, Anyway, loving these photos and the memories it brings back of looking through my own familie's photos.

  8. Roger...I admit, yesterday, I started to respond to your comment and make the same argument others made. Many fine, fine people have been raised in very loving, albeit destitute homes.

    But after reading your post today...I think what you are talking about aren't so much those who can't "afford" children, financially, as it is those who seem to not care to "parent" their children. Those who have no intention of loving and caring for children, and putting their own wants and needs aside for their children, but who instead seem to think of their children as just extra welfare income, or as an inconvenience to be endured while they go right on doing what they did before children.

    And THAT, unfortunately, often happens today, not just among the poor, but with the middle-class and wealthy, too. So many keep having kids, but so few seem willing to grow up and become parents.

  9. Also, I do know how to spell "family's"...I had families' and went to change it but forgot about the "ie" part. :-)

  10. PJM, possibly you, but certainly your folks were involved in the drouth of the 50's that happened in central west Texas from about 1950 until 1957. I recall visiting with family in Eldorado and the ground was so dry it was like talcum powder.

    I was a high school student where we lived in Virginia which was almost tropical in 1957. It came as quite a shock to me to see a scraggley cotton crop kept alive with water pumped from a seemingly deep well.

    It turned out that the cost of drilling, purchase of the pump and the electricity spelled the end of the farm for that year.

    Excellent picture. It showes the scale of the blowing sand and soil.

  11. One difference between then and now that I gleem from what I have read and what my grandfolks tell me is that during the Depression there was a real feeling of "we are all in this together" which caused everyone to sympathize and help those less fortunate. Everyone helped each other and made the suffering more bearable.
    Now everyone is ponting their finger at everyone else and blaming each other, calling them lazy and passing judgements on lives they are'nt going through. United we stand; divided we fall-ism.

  12. I remember the drought in Texas in the fifties. The Medina river stopped running. All we had for entertainment was swimming in the river and the picher show. The ranchers were trying to keep their livestock alive by borrowing and begging for feed. Some did not live long enough to pay off their debts.
    I agree with Roger and boundfor glory I have seen some things that would make Dr.Phil go into deep depression.
    I was born poor in 1939 and I'm still trying to escape.

  13. Thanks, Roger, for your entry today. Guess I'm extra sensitive to what my grandparents and parents went through in the 20s, 30s and 40s. But now, lets talk today. I'm with you, brother! I'm in social services here in Iowa. I do not think I could really make you all believe the number of young men who do not work, cannot hold a job, who live off of their monthly alotment of food assistance or their "woman's" alotment and her earnings. I will not be able to convince you how many women will go out to work every day while their "significant other", their "finance" stays home and does nothing. Today is a different story. in my opinion!

  14. Roger, the lousy parents you're describing fit a person who married into our family. Her father is a millionaire, but her small children go hungry because she's too lazy to feed them - and she gets food stamps.

    Call C.P.S.? Twice.

    Sue for custody? That was done, also, but it's really hard to prove an unfit mother in court.

    You have a hard job having to deal with all that in your mobile home park. Report them as often as you need to. Do it for the children.

    Poverty isn't the culprit, I think it's selfishness.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.