Friday, October 15, 2010

Some Left Some Didn't

The 1930's was the time of the Dust Bowl for some of my folks in Oklahoma. (If you click on Dust Bowl it will take you to Wikipedia for the subject.)  They were marginal farmers.  Thus when the drought hit, followed by the dust storms, they left for California.  I have been through a dust storm in the panhandle of Texas in recent years.  It lasted just an hour, but it was enough for me to understand the panic and suffocating feeling of the heat, dirt in the air you breathe and no visibility. It makes me thankful that after the disastrous events of the 1930's better conservation farming and irrigation techniques were developed to reduce the possibility of a recurrence of that time..

Clinton Oklahoma 1930's
Charles Langley was a gas station owner in Clinton, Oklahoma.  An area that was overcome by the dust storms.  His brother-in-law Lowery Bowen and sister Bessie moved with their 6 children to California for work.  Charles is said to have gone to California with them.  I tend to believe that he stayed and operated his gas station as it was on the legendary Route 66.  There are lots of interactive sites about that.  If he did go, he came back because he died in the Clinton, Oklahoma area.

 Lowery and Bessie stayed in California, as well as their children.  Their granddaughter was the person who contacted me and and let me know where they and gone.
Charles's nephew John moved to Missouri and stayed there.  The rest of the family stayed in the Pawnee County area.    
My mom's mother, Matilda Roberts Whitson, was a widow of 8 years at that time. She had 6 of 13 children still at home and 2 grandchildren. Their home was in Fay, Oklahoma.  If you have been to Custer County or Dewey County, Oklahoma then you know how sandy it is and dry and hot in the summer time. My grandmother owned a creamery and ironed and washed clothes during that time to make ends meet. Leaving was not an option.  They did not have transportation. Things of necessity were bought at a local grocery or a cousin or uncle would pick things up for them in the "big cities".  She would look at the Sears catalog and make dresses for the girls out of flour cloth.  I was told by her, she even cooked the squeal of the pig.  Thrifty and amazing person, I am glad to have her genes.
Mattie Whitson  Fay, Oklahoma 1930

1 comment:

  1. My Humphreys were in Pawnee co.,OK too - Skedee twp., if my memory serves me correctly. Listening to the descriptions of my grandmother during the dustbowl years in South Dakota, I can understand why people would leave.