Saturday, July 7, 2012
With temperatures as high as 119 degrees, North Dakotans were battling one of the worst droughts in American history on this date in 1936. Governor Walter Welford, pleaded with President Roosevelt for aid. A month earlier, Welford had proclaimed a statewide day of prayer to save the state from tragedy, but the rain did not come. “Fields were scorched brown and black” and grasshoppers cleared any remaining vegetation. Water and food shortages led to a federal migration plan that removed nearly 30% of North Dakota’s farm families through the Resettlement Administration. By August, cactuses were the only vegetation remaining in western North Dakota, and residents faced rodent infestations as starving mice and rats searched for food. Unfortunately, relief did not come to most farmers until the New Deal took effect two years later.
Dakota Datebook written by Jayme Job