It is no exaggeration to say that the Great Depression impacted Daviess County, MO, more than any other single event or situation in our history.
During the 1920s, progress was evident in our country. Cars were coming on the scene. Mud roads were being improved, and rock crushers were opened in order to accommodate these new horseless carriages. Electricity was being installed in a few homes. Even a few gasoline tractors slowly emerged on the small farms.
At a turtle’s pace, the economic pendulum of change started to swing in the opposite direction. Farmers and small businesses were threatened by the financial upset. Many banks closed their doors and their failures filtered down to the working class. Red figures of unpaid debt appeared on financial statements.
It’s hard to say what year the Great Depression started. Some point to the Stock Market Crash of 1929; others point to the 1930 drought followed by the droughts of 1934 and 1936. Since all the bank failures that took place in the 1920s, you might argue how the seeds for the Great Depression were sown prior to the 1930s and got progressively worse.
The Great Depression was truly a time of desperation. People were depressed and there seemed to be little hope. Each day brought forth new drudgeries and new hardships. There was a surplus of banks, but a shortage of money. There was a surplus of workers, but a shortage of jobs. There was a surplus of livestock, but throngs of people standing in food lines. Crops were both low in quantity and quality. Farm auctions occurred almost daily.
The pressure was so great, a few people committed suicide. Probably, anyone who lived during these times remembers them as well as any war. It is no understatement to say that perhaps the Great Depression impacted Daviess County, MO, more than any other single event or situation in our history.
— researched and presented by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin, MO