The Dust Bowl Times

A publication of Advanced Language Arts

Kerosene Kills Pregnant mom, Injures daughter

 Panhandle-Oklahoma-July 1934The fateful morning of a July day is filled with horror right from the beginning on a farm. We learned that Bayard Kelby put a tin of kerosene, a very flammable liquid, near the kitchen stove. His wife, Polly Kelby, mistakenly thought the tin was filled with water and poured the tin of the K explosive in a pot to make coffee. In less than a second, the pot caught on fire. Without wasting a second, Polly went out to find Bayard. Billie Jo, was frightened and threw the tin out of the door not knowing her mom was there. The mom and daughter suffered extremely severe burns. Days later,  Polly died giving birth to her son. Soon after, the baby died too. The baby’s name was Franklin. Doc Rivers tried hard to save the mom to no avail.   


When local teacher Mrs. Freeland opened the classroom door in February 1935 she was surprised to see a frightened family settled in a corner. It was the Williams’,a family of six, a husband, wife, grandma, two kids, and a baby on the way. They had moved in during the night because the dust storm was so terrible. We interviewed Buddy Williams to get more information.

Dust Bowl Times- Why did you choose the school to take shelter in?

Buddy- Well, it was the closest type of shelter and it looked like a safe and solid place.

Dust Bowl Times- How long are you planning on staying here at the school?

Buddy- We will probably stay at least until the baby is born, maybe a little longer if the class don’t mind.

Dust Bowl Times- Is the class treating you and your family right?

Buddy- Yes, the class is very nice. They even shared their lunch with us once. We are real thankful that they were nice enough to let us stay here.

Is it a good idea or a bad idea to have them here? Are they helping the children learn what life is like or are they just distracting them in class?

Baby Girl Born In A School Building

Article by Maya Compton

Living in a school building temporarily, the Williams family added a new member to their crew. The family has toys and clothes for the kids, given to them by the children at the school. To repay the teacher, Mrs. Freeland, Mr. Williams helps to repair some of the school by fixing and cleaning things like windows, doors, bad parts on the stairs, cleaning the school yard, and more.

Sometimes the two kids would learn with the rest of the children in the classroom. Soon after they had a little baby girl added to their family. Wearing clothes that the children had also given to the family for the baby, the little girl was perfectly happy and healthy.

A couple weeks later after the birth, they went into their small truck and started their journey to head west, on to a better new, life to escape the horrible drought and the wicked dust storms.

Relief Plan Article by: Irene Jerish

Article by: Irene Jerish

In the next few months, the government plans to get farmers to plant more trees. Doing this can help keep the soil on the ground. As President Roosevelt says, “Trees have roots and they hold on to the land. Already, farmers around the country have started planting! So if you are a farmer out there, get some seeds and start planting if you want your wheat back!

The Dust Bowl and Illnesses

Article by: Victoria Petro

A large dust storm (the biggest one yet!) has hit the farm lands in northern Texas, Southeast Oklahoma and Southwest Colorado Families everywhere are devastated at the results of the largest series of storms yet. Houses, barns, sheds, and many other living places are destroyed. Children are getting a serious illness called ‘Dust Pneumonia’. This illness is when dust gets trapped in the lungs and suffocates the person. The dust gets into your lungs when the dust from the dust storm gets into the building you’re in or if you’re outside, when you inhale, the dust gets caught in a vacuum, or when the oxygen enters your lungs, the dust will travel with your air, and burn your flesh. Dust Pneumonia has taken many lives and is hard to prevent. Our President Roosevelt has tried as much as he can, but we see very little to no improvement.


Attack of the Grasshoppers!!

Grasshoppers have taken over farms in the Dustbowl. They have eaten all the crops that have managed to grow in such a harsh environment. Because of these pesky insects the farmers are losing more money than ever! Most people there have considered moving, and some already have. When farmers that have deep connections with the land are moving, you know that this is very important.

Grasshoppers Everywhere!

Opinion by Paulina Rey

Grasshoppers are eating everything! In my opinion we should flee the area before there is nothing left.

My husband is knee deep in jobs just trying to afford to lay a little sod! We might as well call it a grasshopper hurricane! I think

those little things are the cause of all this poverty.

Sometimes when I wake up in the morning I can already hear them—

eating away our land. Eating away our hope. Eating away our faith.

Some people say they can’t leave this land because they think there is hope, that things will get better. The grasshoppers will leave and the crops will grow again. Sometimes I have no hope and the dust doesn’t help raise my hopes. Right now I don’t know what to do.

Insects Indulge Increasingly

Opinion by Joshua Garrison

Grasshoppers are devouring all of our successful crop by the plenty. Soon enough, we won’t have enough to eat ourselves. Now, Uncle Sam is loaning us money. They request that we plant trees because they hold the dirt to the ground. If we all stick together like a family we could all get through this.


Polly Kelby -Polly Kelby of Panhandle, Oklahoma passed away because of serious burns over her body following a kerosene accident. She is survived by her husband and daughter.

Franklin Kelby-son of Polly Kelby; Lived for only one day; He was burned from inside his mother before birth. He is survived by his father and sister.

Haydon P. Nye-Died of natural causes in January of 1935. He was buried on his property. He is survived by his children and wife.

Pete Guymon-Died of dust pneumonia in March of 1935. He was survived by his wife, but she died soon after his death of dust pneumonia, as well.

Fonda Guymon- Wife of Pete Guymon; She died two Mondays after her husband. The suspected cause of her death was dust pneumonia.


Tractor For Sale!

Call: 876-404-7831 Only $15 Buy it before it’s gone!

Food!!! Come and buy a basket of milk, eggs, bread and sugar for $1. Location: 115 Hillbilly Road

Come and Work!

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) is now putting young men at work. If you are under the age of 25 come to work in our national forests—right now!!!!

Location: 156 Gilly Rd

Looking For Work?

Well stop searching, because the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is hiring people to come build dams, and electric power plants on the Tennessee River.

Let’s get working!!!

5th Grade Advanced Language Arts Students

This newsletter is a publication of the 5th Grade Advanced Language Arts students in Mrs. Landon's class.  It is a culminating activity based on our reading of Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse.