A severe drought spread during the 1930s, more and more states were seriously threatened.

Kansas, for example, had long been a plentiful grassland. With more demand for wheat, ranchers plowed up much of their grassland and started to raise wheat. When the drought occurred, the ground became so dry it could no longer hold the wheat’s roots. As a result, small whirlwinds slowly picked up more dust and more blades of wheat.

Thus, the Great Dust Bowl was formed. The storms escalated to other parts of our nation including Daviess County to a lesser extent.

Traveling during a dust storm was very dangerous. In April of 1935, a Daviess County, MO, farmer was hauling a load of calves to his farm when a dust storm arrived. He was blinded by the dust and ran his truck off the road where it overturned twice. He was taken to a hospital where he was reported as being in critical condition.

Many tourists also had many accidents because they didn’t know how to drive during the storms.

Beverly Ward of Jameson, MO, says when she was a girl she saw the dust blowing and looking like a red haze across Northwest Missouri. The fog or dust came at the break of day and continued all day, filling the air so full at times that visibility was reduced to about a half-mile.

The family had an old car the children played on. After a dust storm, their clothes would be a dirty red in color. One day her parents showed her a dust cloth that had so much dust on it from one of the storms, it had changed its color.

One lady who lived through the Kansas dust storms reported the storms left their aftermath. Pictures had to be removed from the walls and dusted, furniture cleaned, canned goods often had to be thrown away, etc.

Outside, power lines were down, and the dust resembled the aftermath of a large snowstorm. Where the storms were most severe, many cattle lay dead because so much dust had gotten in their nostrils. When the aftermath of the storm was cleaned and things back to normal, another dust storm would hit and the whole cycle was repeated.

— written and presented by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin, MO