According to interview data, the mid droughts began very early. The first was in 1908 and 1909 followed by a low rainfall period of 1910 and 1911. These mild droughts were followed by another dry period in 1925 and 1926 and later by the dust bowl period of the mid-1930s. To experience even a mild drought was sufficient to weed out the land speculators who had little interest in farming the land. There were also a number of people who intended to farm, but arrived with insufficient funds to purchase the necessary equipment to produce enough surplus to ride through a period of harsh conditions. Bank loans for equipment would frequently place the farmer into a debt ceiling that would be impossible for him to recover from. These debts, compounded by crop failures and by bank failures in Des Moins (1912) and Clayton (1921) that instigated immediate repayment of outstanding loans, were sufficient to force the farmer off the land. The abandoned property would be foreclosed by the lending company in order to partially recover the debts.


Title Changes as a Result of Land Vacation; Climatic Conditions; The Drought of 1910; Rainfall Variations from 1915 to 1940; Flu Epidemic of 1918; The Dust Bowl; Dust Bowl Relief Efforts (includes maps, tables, charts, and references)

Document Type

Working Paper