The Okie Legacy: Vol 13, Iss 26 LIFE Magazine (April 10, 1950)
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Volume 13, Issue 26 -- 2011-06-27

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Hi Doris & Bill Guntrum: Congratulations on your 61st anniversary [more]...
 ~Tom McCarrick regarding Okie's story from Vol. 8 Iss. 8 titled UNTITLED

Found fuel prices in Bartlesville, Ok. to be $1.97 Saturday for unleaded regular.
 ~Larry J. Hunter regarding Okie's story from Vol. 7 Iss. 44 titled UNTITLED

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Duchess of Weaselskin

Bayfield, Colorado - Our Alva photographer took the following photo of the updated location of the house fire a few weeks ago at 7th & Church Street in Alva, Oklahoma, with the burning of the old two-story frame house of Brandt's home. The demolition and cleanup of the burned home has progressed quickly, leaving only a vacant lot with only trees, shrubs, driveway and freshly worked ground.

We heard there were some wildfires around the Dewey county area and Lincoln counties in Oklahoma. We found the following link over at concerning the wildfire over in Lincoln county, dated June 24, 2011.

According to the Enid News online, there was another wildfire near Medicine Park that destroyed 13 homes, was contained Saturday, allowing residents to return to their homes. Medicine Park is located at the entrance to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, 80 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. The fire started Thursday afternoon on the Fort Sill US Army post with high winds and tinder dry conditions fueling the blaze. It burned approximately 5,500 acres. 1,500 people had to be evacuated from their homes.

Where was the fire in Dewey county? How dry is it in Oklahoma? Is it as dry as it is in New Mexico and Arizona? What about those fires at Las Conchas and Las Alamos, New Mexico?

It sounds like it has been really heating up in northwest Oklahoma with temperatures near the 108F mark. WHEW! With the Oklahoma humidity, wind and heat . . . that is HOT!

Hope next week you all observe the fire danger conditions and have a safe 3rd and 4th of July fireworks celebrations! AND . . . for those attending the 1964-66 Alva High Goldbug Reunion, Friday, July 1 thru July 2, 2011, in Oklahoma City at Lansbrook Park, please get some photos to share with those who can not make it this year. NW Okie will be thinking of her Alva High Classmates of '66 as she celebrates her independence in the coolness of the Southwest Colorado Rockies! We would love to see some photos of the reunion goers, though!

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This Day In History (June 27 & 28)

America - On this day in history we browse important events in history over at the archival features of the New York Times website for June 27 and 28. On June 27, 1950, President Truman ordered the Air Force and Navy into the Korean War following a call from the United Nations Security Council for member nations to help South Korea repel an invasion from the North. Go to article.

On June 27, 1880, Helen Keller, the blind and deaf American woman who became an accomplished writer and humanitarian, was born. Following her death on June 1, 1968, her obituary appeared in The Times. Go to obituary.

  • 1844 Mormon leader Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were killed by a mob in Carthage, Ill.
  • 1893 - The New York stock market crashed.
  • 1944 - American forces completed their capture of the French port of Cherbourg from the Germans three weeks after D-Day.
  • 1957 - More than 500 people were killed when Hurricane Audrey slammed through coastal Louisiana and Texas.
  • 1969 - Patrons at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City's Greenwich Village, clashed with police in an incident considered to be the birth of the gay rights movement.
  • 1977 - Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, was named a cardinal by Pope Paul VI.
  • 1980 - President Jimmy Carter signed legislation reviving draft registration.
  • 1985 - Route 66, which originally stretched from Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif., passed into history as officials decertified the road.
On June 28
  • 1919 - Treaty of Versailles was signed in France, ending World War I. Go to article
  • 1836 - James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, died in Montpelier, Va., at age 85.
  • 1838 - Britain's Queen Victoria was crowned in Westminster Abbey.
  • 1894 - Labor Day was established as a holiday for federal employees.
  • 1902 - Broadway composer Richard Rodgers was born in New York City.
  • 1919 - The Treaty of Versailles was signed in France, ending World War I.
  • 1919 - Harry S. Truman married Elizabeth Virginia Wallace in Independence, Mo.
  • 1950 - North Korean forces captured Seoul, South Korea.
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NW Okie's Ancestry Corner

Bayfield, Colorado - We all know that the Dust Bowl was the darkest moment in the twentieth-century life of the southern plains. The Dust Bowl took only 50 years to accomplish. People blazed their way across a once richly endowed continent with a ruthless, devastating efficiency. The white man coming to the plains talked of "busting" and "breaking" the land. AND . . . that is what they did. The Dust Bowl was the inevitable outcome of a culture that deliberately self-consciously, set itself that task of dominating and exploiting the for all it was worth. The Dust Bowl came into being during the 1930's, as fulvous dirt began to blow all the way from the plains to the East coast and beyond. It was also the age of the Great Depression.

Was there a close link between the Dust Bowl and the Depression? did the same society produced them both for similar reasons? Did both events reveal fundamental weaknesses in the traditional culture of America? One in ecological terms and the other in economic? Was there a reason, opportunity for substantial reform of that culture back then?

As the book (Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains In the 1930, by Donald Worster) below states, "In the spring of 1930 over 3 million men and women were out of work. They had lost their jobs or had been laid off without pay in the aftermath of the stock market crash of the preceding fall. Another 12 million would suffer the same fate in the following two years. Many of the unemployed had no place to live, nor even the means to buy food. They slept in public toilets, under bridges, in shantytowns along the railroad tracks, or on doorsteps, and in the most wretched cases they scavenged from garbage cans."

See you all next Monday, July 4th, America's Independence Day! View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe

Dust Bowl & Okie Lore

Oklahoma - Lois Guffy sent us the following information and links concerning the "Dust Bowl Lore" and the "Okies" term that was coined by Ben Reddick. Reddick, a newsman, coined the "Okies" term and was credited with first using the term Okie in the mid-1930's, to identify migrant farm workers. He noticed the "OK" abbreviation (for Oklahoma) on many of the migrant's license plates and referred to them in his article as "OKies."

Californians began calling all migrants "Okies," regardless of whether or not they were actually from Oklahoma. The term was made famous nationwide by John Steinbeck's novel, Grapes of Wrath. Read the following LA Times article. Ben Reddick was a free-lance journalist and later publisher of the Paso Robles Daily Press.

Lois says, "Linda, I read a lady's comment who took offense to being called Okies. I am great friends with Richard Reddick whose father coined the Okie title. Richard told me one of his dad's jobs as a newsman was to log all of the migrant workers by cars. He shortened the name Oklahoma to Okies as well as other states, so not to have to write the full long name on his chart. No offense was made by him, but others used it for all migrant workers as derogatory later."

Dust Bowl Lore
According to the Oklahoma Historical Society website on the Dust Bowl Lore, Oklahoma had less acreage in the area designated by the Soil Conservation Service as the dust Bowl than did the states around Oklahoma. Such as Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.

It was a clear day, Sunday, 14 April 1935and the temperature was in the upper eighties. The citizens of Guymon, Oklahoma were in their 4th year of drought, and were packing the Methodist church for a "rain service." They were doing whatever they could do to seeking some sort of intervention for some much needed moisture. It was late afternoon that the skies were darkened, but not by rain much needed rain clouds. It was worst! The "Black Blizzards" hit Guymon, OKlahoma on the late afternoon of 14 April 1935.

The temperatures in the southern High Plains fell more than 50 degrees in a few hours as the 70 miles an hour wind blew black soil from Canada and northern plains states. The darkness lasted for 40 minutes and was followed by 3 hours of partial darkness. The relative humidity decreased to less than 10 percent.

An Associated Press staff writer, Robert Geiger, was writing a series of articles for the Washington, DC, Evening Star. geiger used the term "dust bowl" for the first time in print during that period of time. Geiger referred to the "western third of Kansas, southeastern Colorado, Oklahoma Panhandle, northern two-thirds of the Texas Panhandle and northeastern New Mexico. That area is the Dust Bowl boundary designated in 1939 by the Soil Conservation Service as the geographical extent of the severe wind damage by 1939.

Though the word "Oklahoma" quickly became synonymous with the term "DUst Bowl," the truth is that Texas and Cimarron counties suffered the worst damage, severe storms and most dramatic sand drifts. Journalists reporting the dust bowl and the "Black Easter" storm in April 1935 planted firmly the the "Oklahoma Dust Bowl" in the public's mind. Did you know that during the dust storms, singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie, lived in Pampa, Texas? Guthrie was an Okemah, Oklahoma native and occurred far from his Oklahoma home town. Guthrie's 1940 recordings released under the title of Dust Bowl Ballads made him known as "Oklahoma's Dust Bowl Balladeer." BUT . . . those songs actually drew upon his experiences in the Texas Panhandle in the early 1930's.

Woody's Guthrie's migrant heroes were the sharecroppers and tenant farmers forced off the land by improved mechanized farm equipment, extreme low prices for cotton and the Great Depression. The New Deal's crop reduction program paid the farms' owners to plow under their land. The sharecroppers and tenants who had actually worked the land were made homeless and became migrants.

Some of the critical statements and stories that came from Guthrie's songs and The Grapes of Wrath were, "Oklahoma has four seasons, often within the same week." Other stories circulated that even with all the doors and windows closed the dust was so thick . . . that a strong light bulb looked like a cigarette burring and you couldn't see your hand before your face.

One story claimed that a man's car was stalled by the sand. When he opened the door, he shot ground squirrels overhead tunneling for air. The wind velocity was so wicked that you could fasten a logchain to a fence post or tree, and if it isn't blowing straight out, it is a calm day.

Farmers were advised not to rotate their crops, because the wind would do it for them. Others referred to dust storms as "Oklahoma rain." You could hold your pans up to a keyhole and let the wind and sand clean them. Some characterized it as so dry for so long that frogs could not learn to swim and would drown when put in water. The wind blew the farm away. The wind blew away so much soil that postholes were left standing above the ground.

Have you ever heard the saying, "Dust sometimes gets so thick you can run your tractor and plows upside down. So dark you can't see a dime in your pocket, a shirt on your back, a meal on your table, or a dadgum thing. Only thing that is higher than that dust is your debts. Dust settles, but debts don't." View/Write Comments (count 1)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe

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Woody Guthrie's Dust Bowl Ballads

Oklahoma - You can buy and do a partial listening to discoverthe music at of Woody Guthrie's Dust Bowl Ballads. You can buy these MP3 at Amazon ($9.99).

You can also check out The Woody Guthrie Store: Dust Bowl Ballads for more recordings by Woody Guthrie. Check ou the books, family, songbooks, DVD & Video, photographs, concerning Guthrie's April 1940, RCA Victor Record Company contracted Woody to record an album (78 rpm) containing his "Dust Bowl Ballads." This was Woody's first commercial recording. It was re-released July 14, 2000 with a digitally remastered recording including Woody's original liner notes with additional notes by Dave Marsh. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe

An Oklahoma History

Oklahoma - This week's lesson in an Oklahoma History takes us back to a particular Saturday, September 16th, 1893, in the Great Race for Homes. We found this sketch, which was drawn by Geo. V. Cummins, of Winchester, Oklahoma (17 miles northwest of Alva), in the Alva Pioneer, dated January 1, 1904. The Alva Pioneer wrote that Cummins made the race and still lived in that vicinity.

The Great Race For Homes (Saturday, 16 Sept. 1893)
The "Alva Pioneer" reported on January 1, 1904 that the first thing that happened was the Great Race for homes, saturday, September 16th, 1893. The Pioneer goes on to state, "The line-up was 168 miles long on the north line of the Cherokee strip, (and south line of Kansas) extending from the Arkansas river near Arkansas City, Kansas, west to the west line of what is now Woodward County, Okla., and 159 miles along the south line of the strip, from the east line of Logan county, Okla., west to the Texas line. It has been variously estimated that 300,000 to 500,000 people made the race on that day; and the thrilling incidents and accidents of the day and for a few weeks thereafter, would make a larger book than has ever yet been published. The progress of the people in developing the country and building of towns and cities since the opening is more strange than even Aladin would have been capable of dreaming."

The Souvenir Edition of "The Alva Pioneer" dated Friday, January 1, 1904 was published by W. F. Hatfield, Alva, Woods County, Oklahoma. It gives historical facts leading up to the opening to settlement and a brief sketch of the agitation during the years 1879 to 1889, mentioning the chief and pioneer agitator -- Captain David L. Payne.

Over at our website, - Alva Pioneer 1904, it shows information of the pioneers that settled in Northwest Oklahoma with some pictures depicting the birth of this fast growing community in northwest Oklahoma Territory and the people who pushed and pulled it along back in 1904. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (1 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe

Dust Bowl: Southern Plains In the 1930's

Southern Plains - We found another book online at Google books entitled, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains In the 1930's, by Donald Worster. It gives a history of the lives finding life sometimes easy and sometimes nasty under harsh, severe weather . . . just when things are getting to feel comfortable.

You have to be able to adapt to the extreme climate from day to day and season to season. The plains have become our cultural boneyard where the evidences of bad judgment and misplaced schemes lie strewn about like bleached skulls. Some have chosen not to live in the region because of too much wind, dirt, flatness, space, barbed wire, drought, uncertainty and hard work. BUT . . . there are some who have adapted and stuck out the fierce hardtimes of the Depression and Dust Bowl era.

The southern plains were/are a vast, sprawling area covering over more than 100 million acres, which include parts of five states: Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

We all know that the plains have had their place in the American dream when the West was new and the grasslands offered unexplored possibilities. The plains, in fact were at the front edge of our collective imagination. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe

LIFE Magazine (April 10, 1950)

America - In the LIFE magazine, dated April 10, 1950, on page 40, there was a feature entitled "A Dust Bowl Look In Texas" where the worst wind since 1936 blew away southwest fields.

The article went on to say, " For double the biblical seven fat years farmers in the southwest have been keeping their fingers crossed against a recurrence of the winds which finished carving out the dust bowl in 1936."

The fierce winds were blowing everywhere from Texas to Kansas, stirring up choking clouds of dust.

It has been about 75 or so years since the Dust Bowl and Depression years. Have we learned our lessons from those years so the same thing will not happen all over again? View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


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