Dust Storms Were a Part of Plains Life During the Depression Era

Kansan recalls seeing her first dust storms while growing up during the depression era

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On the day of our first big dust storm, during the depression era, my Father was out in the field plowing. In the north we saw something turning black. It was like the whole world was black.

My Mother became frightened as she didn't know why the sky was turning black. I was a little girl. I became afraid and started to cry. My Mother and I wanted my Father.

The wall kept coming closer, rolling big rolls. Just as it was about to hit, we saw my Father just ahead of it. We didn't have a cellar at that time, so we went in the house and shut all the windows. We felt better with Father with us. He was afraid, too, he had never seen anything like this before either.

When it hit, it was black, you could barely see our kerosene lamp burning on the table. Dirt sifted in our home everywhere. We had to cover our mouths with handkerchiefs to keep the dust out of our throats. This one lasted only a few hours if I remember right.

Later we learned this was our first big dust storm on the plains of western Kansas. Our family has been in many more from that first one of the depression era of the 1930s.

Pauline Fecht
Syracuse, Kansas


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.