THE first of this series of articles on dust storms was based primarily upon the record of weather in the tall grass or eastern third of Kansas of the 1850's. The second article drew upon the weather experience of the mixed grass region of middle Kansas, and the perspective was enlarged further at the end of the 1870's by the inauguration (1879) of reporting by the federal weather service of dust storms for the whole United States. The present article draws more explicitly upon the experience of the country west of the 100th meridian, the short-grass plains, the west third of Kansas, in relation to the whole Trans-Mississippi Western setting.
The traditional view of weather is that good and bad years follow each other in a fairly definite cyclic succession. The most favorable judgment on that kind of a generalization is that it is an oversimplification. The weather record of the 1850's presented in the first article, and of the 1860's and 1870's in the second article, revealed no particular rhythm or cycle, but there were a variety of fluctuations. The more complete record of weather phenomena after 1880 only tends to emphasize this variability and uncertainty as to what each year was to bring forth.
In the case of dust storms as in the case of crop production, the total annual precipitation of any particular year was not necessarily a determinant. The cumulative effect of a series of years of greater or less than average precipitation did exercise an important influence. So far as single years were concerned, the time factor, the seasonal distribution of the available moisture, as well as the kind of crop, winter wheat or corn and other row crops, were factors. For example, winter wheat prospects were determined particularly by depth of moisture in the soil at seeding time in the fall; the amount of precipitation in the form of rain or snow be
tween that time and harvest was secondary. Adequate soil moisture at seeding time generally assured a growth sufficient to provide vegetational cover throughout the Winter and spring as a protection against blowing. Even when the cover was inadequate, soil blowing might be minimized or prevented by timely snow cover or rains which provided topsoil moisture at the critical windy seasons. Over the Western grassland as a whole, because of local variability, there were few years when blowing conditions did not occur at some point even during the years when moisture conditions were most favorable. The native grass when subject to prairie fires or overgrazing or prolonged drought was reduced to much the same topsoil status as cultivated fields, and blowing occurred in much the same manner under conditions that produced dust storms from cultivated fields.
In September, 1880, dust was "flying again" at Salina and the general drought continued until the big January snow, Yates Center reporting the driest winter in memory. Wellington reported an exceptionally long severe winter, with 15.5 inches of snow and large amounts of moisture in the ground in March. Lawrence reported the greatest snow and rain on record in February with a high wind February 11, and a rainfall deficiency in March with very high winds March 31. Crop reports indicated damage to the winter wheat from the extremes of weather.  Although the cumulative deficiency in rainfall over several years provided an underlying condition favorable to dust storms; there seem to have been no serious instances until April when the wheat condition was reported critical because cold weather and moisture deficiency retarded growth sufficient for ground cover.  The Salina Herald reported April 9: "The dust took full possession, Wednesday [April 6], filling houses and mouths with impartiality (?)." On May 2, Great Bend reported "the finest rain since 1878." 
A contributor to the Chase County Leader, Cottonwood Falls, May 26, 1881, summed up the month of May in contrast with 1880:
What a wonderful change for the May of 1881 over the same month one year ago? Then dry, and the wind hurled the dust in drifts. The little, pale wheat, oats, rye and corn thirsted for water as an Arab would in the desert, and with hope deferred again and again the heart grew sick. Our clouds were clouds of dust, carried about by the tempest. How often came the husbandman from the field, righted things and made ready apparently for a heavy
rain. Although the clouds appeared dark and heavy, the wind and thunder all indicated rain; a light shower, the clouds broke, the wind ceased; still hope deferred. Our season, this month, all that man could wish: wet enough and not too much.
A country community correspondent, writing for the issue of June 16, was not so optimistic. "The poet says that the dew `is the tears of the sky for the loss of the sun.' The plants cry out in the language of Mark Antony `If you have tears prepare to shed them now.' Let them come in a copious shower." Violent storms were the characteristic of that summer, however, and the summer was the warmest since 1874 and 3° warmer than 1880.  On September 8 the Salina Journal reported:
The "sand storms" of Monday [September 5] and Tuesday were absolutely frightful. The "Arabs" sought refuge from the driving sands in their burnooses and then fortified themselves behind the carcasses of the stifled camels. This is speaking in hyperbole, of course.
On September 22 the same paper called attention to "Some exquisite `dust clouds' nowadays." Marion and Solomon reported high winds, the latter saying "The wind and dust last week were eminently disagreeable, and the man who refrained from profanity and growling was a rare exception and hard to find." 
The winter of 1881-1882 was the warmest on record at Lawrence and in February one report compared it with the winter of 1857-1858. Over the West as a whole March was a windy month, with widespread dust storms during the last 10 days and violent electrical disturbances interfering with the operation of the telegraph. A dust storm was reported from Fort Garland, Colo., on March 17; from Leavenworth, March 21; from Fort Cummins, N. M., March 24; from Umatilla, Ore., March 24-28, and on the latter date "trains were delayed on account of the track being covered with sand"; from Fort Custer, Mont., March 28, a "gale from the west, maximum velocity 64 miles at 4:15 p. m." The sky was completely obscured by clouds of dust and pebbles. Farther east, St. Louis, Mo., assembled reports for March 21, on "a marked dust storm" at Greenfield, Clinton, Harrisonville, Pleasant Hill, Lexington and Savannah, in the western part of the state. The April exhibit was the usual dust storms in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oregon, and a severe dust storm in Nebraska, April 3, reported from the Clear Creek station and from Lincoln, the latter saying that
it was the "severest sandstorm that has been known in this state in many years." Fort Garland, Colo., reported a sandstorm on April 6, and Stockton, Tex., in Pecos county, on April 21. Coleman City, west central Texas, reported sandstorms on June 19 and 20, and Las Animas, Colo., on April 29, "a violent storm from the northwest." 
In Kansas, at Marion, "the equinoxial storm came to time with great vigor, the first part of the week. Monday [March 20], especially, was a miserable day, with clouds of dust filling the air," and on Sunday, March 26, walking and riding was interrupted, when suddenly from the northwest "a violent wind storm, accompanied by dense clouds of dust, swept down upon us." At Salina, "the wind and dust, Monday [March 20], was the principle [sic] factor in Salina weather," and the next week likewise, "Dust clouds now and then." By April 6 the succession of hot winds and "dusty atmosphere" was terminated by "gentle showers."  At Junction City, "the past few weeks a large amount of real estate, in the shape of dust, has changed ownership." 8 Later from Salina the comment was that "Monday [April 17] was a regular, old-fashioned dusty day. . . . The loveliness of our climate is not uppermost on such a day-save that part of it which is elevated by the stormy south-wind," but there was some consolation in the misery of others because "On Monday when dust was flying here to all points of the compass, there was a terrific sand storm on the Colorado desert and a howling gale in California." 
The fall of 1882 presented much the same kind of a record as the spring. In August sandstorms were reported from Coleman and Stockton, Tex., and in October from West Las Animas and Fort Garland, Colo.  Brookville reported dust in August and September and Topeka a particularly hot, dusty day on September 12:
A terribly hot wind commenced about 12 o'clock yesterday, and prevailed during the remainder of the day. It came almost directly from the west, and blew clouds of fine particles of dust with such force as to sting the face and skin. The mercury rose rapidly, and soon registered 108 in the shade, where exposed to its effects.
was the worst ever experienced in Kansas. Toward evening the storm abated. . . ?1 In November Abilene reported wind and dust that made outdoor pursuits "unpleasant in the extreme." 
The year 1883 is usually thought of as marking the early stage of the favorable crop cycle and the boom of the 1880's in the Trans-Mississippi West, but the Monthly Weather Review offered the following discouraging listings by dates of sand or dust storms. In January Arizona and California had their usual quota-West Las Animas, Colo., 7, 12, 18, 29; Fort Union, N. M., 7, 29, 30, 31; El Paso, Tex., 16, 18, 19. In February the listing included California, Arizona, and New Mexico, and El Paso, Tex., 3, 6, 15, and Fort Garland, Colo., 1, 2. In March Kansas appeared in the list: Salina, 18, 20, 22; and Table Rock, Neb., 18. In April California, New Mexico and El Paso, Tex., had several listings, and Crete, Neb., had sandstorms, 8, 10, 13, 20, 21, and West Las Animas, Colo., 9, 20. In May Arizona, and New Mexico as usual, and Fort Garland, Colo., June 29. In June the states reporting included Arizona, New Mexico and Idaho.
The Dodge City Times, January 18, 1883, provided an introduction to that year which exhibited the kind of rationalization so often resorted to for keeping up appearances:
The winds and dust remind us forcibly of the season of 1879. It doesn't require any vivid imagination to draw the recollection to that memorable period. The winter was exceedingly dry and winds and dust were prevailing constantly. In the summer an abundance of rain fell, and altogether the season was favorable for grass and stock. The spring of 1880 was also dry, rain falling in sufficient quantities in May and the summer months following. Reference is made to these years, so that our readers may bring their minds to the approach of similar seasons, though we do not believe the future drouths will be as severe as those in the years past. Last year was not considered a drouthy year, yet vegetation did not thrive, though there was an abundance of grass, and the winter range is excellent. Feed crops can be raised in what are termed drouthy years. In this region the wheat prospects are not promising. But the settlers are devoting attention to stock raising, and this industry is to be the pursuit of the country. Whether dry or wet, there is always an abundance of grass, and no alarm is felt on account of the dry winds.
At Salina the storm of March 18 was the one that drew out most explicit comment:
The month of March thus far has not been the "regulation March" of Kansas. We have had few dust storms and very fine weather most of the month.
Last Sunday was a Kansas March day in every respect. The clouds of dust were stupendously suffocating all day 13 April and May had their dusty days and particularly May 8. "The dust was like the historic `pillar of cloud,' that guided the `Children of Israel,' and the wind was strong enough to blow a fife inside out." 
Farther west toward the 100th meridian the storm of April 13 received this comment from the Kinsley Graphic, April 19, 1883:
Kinsley was visited on Friday last by one of the most ungentle zephyrs that it has been our misfortune to experience since a resident here. A perfect cloud of dust and sand filled the air and dusted in every crack and crevice of the buildings, and the unlucky pedestrian who was compelled to be abroad absorbed the full peck of dirt that is allotted to each one's life, and what his or her stomach would not hold was stowed away in their ears, eyes and clothing. The flies laid low; the dogs crawled into the cellars, and the birds nestled closely wherever shelter could be found. Irrigators as well as anti-irrigators prayed loud and continuously for water,-it matter not how or by what means it was obtained,-and their prayers were answered as the day wound up by a heavy rain and hail storm. We suppose it is necessary that we should occasionally have these little visitations or we would not know how to appreciate the delightful climate with which we are blessed, as there is certainly no other good object attained.
Dodge City reported on the dust storm of May 8 and again in July commented on the recurrence of dust.  In September Dickinson county dust was said to have been terrible. 
The general dust storm record from the Monthly Weather Review for 1884 was not so extensive for the spring months as in 1883. Kansas had its storms, however, in about the same apparent proportion. The Larned Chronoscope, March 21, 1884, philosophized:
If "dust is the bloom of time," as some esthetic party has declared, Kansas must be a species of century plant that blooms a hundred years, and like the century plant "in blooming dies," for if the racket of the past two weeks was kept up for a century the country would be blown away and nothing left to bloom.
Larned had a storm of unusual severity on April 3, Abilene on March 10 and April 9, and Salina reported dust on April 18 and May 12. 
The Wichita Eagle turned out its "Kansas Spring-Wind Poetry" in the issue of April 10 and the following week explained its tech
nique in this way: "The Eagle thought it in order to more forcibly impress its readers of the truthfulness of its 'Spring-wind' poem to order a small sand and wind storm. Hence the last Wednesday evening's blow."
KANSAS SPRING-WIND POETRY.
Sign boards, shingles, boots and hats,
The year 1885 in Kansas was characterized as on the whole favorable, with rain well distributed, yet Dodge City propounded this proposition: "Dust is considered a good fertilizer; everything ought to grow well in this country for we have dust to spare in the spring and summer." is The Salina Journal, March 12, 1885, commented that "When the March winds commenced raising dust Monday [March 9], the average citizen calmly smiled and whispered `so natural!'" April sandstorms were reported from Fort Yates, Dak., 13; Yutan, Neb., 10; and Dodge City, 8; and in May from Fort Yates, 8, 13, 22. 
On October 17 the Junction City Union reported an exceedingly dry fall, pastures of "more or less complete barrenness," and stated that this meant "for the winter 1885-86, a feeding season fully six and a half months long." In October and December sandstorms were reported from Fort Yates, Fort Assinaboine, Fort Sill, Fort Union, and Cleburne, Tex. Lovewell's report for Kansas said that "The most remarkable wind of the season or year was on Decem-
ber 4th, when it blew for an entire day from the northwest with great violence, filling the air with dust. . . ." 
The year 1886 opened with severely cold weather and snowstorms even heavier than the winter of 1880-1881.  In the south sandstorms occurred in January: El Paso, 19; Abilene, Tex., 26; and Midland, Tex., "a heavy sandstorm occurred at 10 a. m., of the 26th, during which it was impossible to see objects one hundred yards distant." At Austin at 4 p. m. on the 26th, a shower of very fine dust began falling from a clear sky; there was no wind at the time; the shower increased towards evening and continued late into the night. The dust had a peculiar effect on the lungs and throat, causing irritation and hoarseness. A similar phenomena occurred at this place eight years ago .
Each issue of the Monthly Weather Review contained its quota of dust storms throughout the spring. The Salina Journal, April 15, commented: "For a few days we have had a little touch of the old-time Kansas wind. Some things grow sweeter and better with age, but never the regulation Kansas wind." A week later: "The balmy south wind is very acceptable-but just at present too heavily laden with dust to `convulse' anybody with joy."
The drought of July, 1886, was summed up by the Monthly Weather Review: During July a very disastrous drought prevailed over Iowa, Illinois, Dakota, and Minnesota, as well as over the greater part of Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas. The dry weather commenced in May, and during June and July had become a severe drought, inflicting large losses on the grain-growing interests in the Northwest and the cattlemen in Texas. During the first six days of the month very high temperatures occurred in the northern districts, especially in Dakota on the 6th, which added materially to the injurious effects of the dry weather. In New England also the effect of dry weather could be seen in the brown grass and short crops.
It was not only in Kansas that the quip of the Abilene Reflector, August 26, was applicable: "Dust, dustier, dustibus! Who says we have forgotten our latin? It might not be healthy to unearth too much dead language this hot weather." At North Platte, Neb., brisk to high southerly winds set in during the afternoon of the 18th; they increased steadily in force, attaining at 8:45 p. m. a velocity of sixty miles per hour. Owing to the prevailing drought heavy clouds of sand and dust were raised by the force of the wind, completely hiding the sky from view. 
On November 3 Fort Assinaboine, Mont.: "The gale was accompanied by clouds of sand which nearly obscured the sky"; and at Fort Buford, Dak., on November 4, "During the prevalence of the gale the air was filled with heavy clouds of dust and sand." 
The great boom of the 1880's which prevailed over the whole Trans-Mississippi West, including southern California, reached its most extreme excesses, and the collapse in various degrees was in evidence before the end of this year. In historical perspective, it is evident that the turn had occurred in 1886. The mute evidence of this was to be found in the cornerstones of so many stone buildings bearing the date 1887 in towns west of the 100th meridian in Kansas. Many buildings begun in 1887 stood for years unfinished, the stone finally being used for other purposes. Beginning in late 1886 the principal weather news was intense and prolonged drought.
Most of Texas was dry in 1886 and in January, 1887, in the vicinity of San Antonio "cattle men say that but for the abundant growth of cactus large numbers of cattle would have starved." The observer at Rio Grande City stated that "in some places the ground was entirely bare and very dusty, and during the high winds which occurred on the 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, and 27 very heavy clouds of dust and sand filled the atmosphere." Similar sandstorms occurred at Midland, Tex., the 7th, 12th, 16th, 20th, 22d, 25th, and 30th. At Abilene, Tex., during the 18th fresh southwesterly winds prevailed, increasing in force at night, and accompanied by heavy clouds of sand and dust. On the 19th a southwesterly gale set in, filling the atmosphere with sand to such an extent that the sun could not be seen until two hours after sunrise, and throughout the remainder of the day the sky was obscured to an altitude of 45 above the horizon. High winds, with heavy clouds of sand and dust, occurred on the 7th, 16th, 19th, 25th, and 29th.
Similar conditions continued through February, March and April, cattle dying in large numbers, mostly for want of water, and many owners in southwest Texas shipping their herds to the Indian territory to grass.  Two storms of particular severity were recorded in Kansas February 16-18 and March 26. The former was reported in detail from Cheyenne Wells, Colo., near the Kansas-Colorado line, and at Halstead "a high wind prevailed . . . and the dust was almost blinding, at times."
The front belt of this wind was filled with a peculiar, dark haze, which
proved to be dust, extending from the ground to an altitude of about 200 feet, with a nearly clear sky above. This dark haze lasted for five minutes, and in the southern half of the State was so dense as to temporarily change day to night, being described by eye-witnesses as a black cloud. It was followed by a reddish-brown haze, which gradually disappeared 
The dust storm of March 26 appeared to possess similar characteristics, "bringing with it . . . dense earth clouds, which proved to be dirt whipped up by the wind from the plowed fields and carried along and high up into the air. . . ."  At Belleville "the first seventeen days of the month were remarkable for dry weather and the frequency and force of dust storms. On the 3d and 9th, during windstorms, dust filled the air to such an extent that buildings one hundred feet distant were visible only at intervals." At Independence "on the 3d during a wind storm the sky was obscured by dust." 
In May, 1887, Fort Maginnis, Mont., reported
at 9 p. m. of the 7th the air was filled with dense clouds of sand, rendering it almost impossible to face the wind. At 4 p. m. of the 10th the wind was blowing a gale and the air became so densely filled with sand that the sun appeared like a large ball.
Saint Vincent, Minn., reported for April 2:
During the afternoon clouds of dust and sand were raised by the wind, rendering travel on foot and in vehicles difficult and uncomfortable, and causing a general suspension of work among farmers and laborers.
During the year 1888 sand and dust storms were less frequent and severe than in 1887. Kansas had snow in January and February and above normal precipitation in March. The most severe dust storms were reported from Fort Gibson on March 18th, 19th, and April 25th; on the last named date the description read:
Facing the storm, the fine sand would cut one's face like shot. Herder-boys sought shelter in buffalo wallows. Farm work was abandoned. What little moisture was in the ground seemed to be absorbed by the high winds. Rains on the 27th and 28th put the ground in good condition to again resume work. 
The weather reports for 1889 indicated that the year opened with above normal precipitation in Kansas, especially to the westward. Snow was reported in February and the absence of usual March winds was featured. At the end of the year the summary emphasized an absence of extremes of heat and cold, but an abundant and well distributed rainfall. 
This was more optimistic than some of the local press comment indicated, but at any rate the year was not conspicuous for dust storms. The Salina Journal, February 7, 1889, commented:
The howling winds of Monday [February 41 lifted the surface of the earth into the air, as one of those palaces of the Arabian tales was bodily moved. The earth did not go up in minute particles of dust, but bodily.
A dust storm was reported at Dodge City on January 11, 1888, and a very severe one on February 4. In April sandstorms were reported for Woonsocket, Dak., 1, 2, 3; Pekin, Ill., 3; Concordia, 2, 26; and for Arizona and California. Descriptive notes on the Wolsey, Beadle county, Dak., storm read:
. . . a severe sand storm occurred on the 2d; the wind was very high during the day and drifted the sand three inches in places. A great deal of grain, lately sown, was uncovered by the wind.
From Yankton, Dak., came this descriptive note for April 2:
. . . the wind backed from southeast to north, increasing in force until it attained a maximum velocity of forty-eight miles per hour from the north at 5 p. m. The dust and sand in the air, raised by the wind, became so dense at 2 p. m. as to obscure the sky; at times the sun was entirely hidden from view by sand and dust, and it became so dark as to require artificial light.
On May 5, at Salt Lake City, Utah, occurred the most severe sandstorm in years, so dense as to reduce visibility to the width of the street. The next day on May 6, Concordia reported a Sandstorm and Dodge City had one on August 3. 
At this point in the record the history of sand and dust storms was discontinued by the Monthly Weather Review, 1890-1894, inclusive, and just at a time when full reporting was important to a perspective on the whole Western area. Local Kansas records showed a dry March; the Manhattan station noted that "the effects were also disagreeably noticeable in the clouds of dust which filled the air during the heavy winds the latter part of the month," the two most severe days being March 24 and 27.  April had severe storms, especially April 8, when Gove reported "a dust
storm, doing some damage to late wheat. . . ." Electrical phenomena were more conspicuous at this time than in connection with most such storms. At Offerle "the sky was obscured by dust; the dust was so dense that buildings could not be seen more than one-half mile distant. . . ." 
Some of the Kansas newspapers did not report on dust storms during the early 1890's, and relatively few gave details. The Rooks County Record, Stockton, is a conspicuous example, giving scarcely a hint of what was going on, so far as weather was concerned, only the notices about relief to settlers in the form of coal and seed indicating the extent of the distress.  The Dodge City papers were reticent also, but the extent of dust storms there has been revealed by records of the federal weather service used by J. B. Kincer in an unpublished paper in 1936. These were printed by Call, and by Throckmorton and Compton in 1937:
April 8, 1890: At 10 a. m. the dust in the air was so dense that objects could not be distinguished 100 yards off. No one who could possibly remain indoors was on the street.
The Meade Republican did not mention the dust but the Meade County Globe, April 13, 1893, was more outspoken than some other papers, saying of the storm of April 11, "Tuesday was one of the worst days that we have ever seen in Kansas. The dust was thick in the air and drifted around in heaps like snow." Again: "During the last ten days real estate has probably been as high-in the air -in Kansas, as any time in the history of the state." The issue of April 20 closed the chapter by saying: "Tuesday [April 18] night and Wednesday [April 19] were times of wind and dust, but we wont say anything more about it."
The years 1894 and 1895 appear to have been the climax of the 1890's in the dust storm department and the frequency and severity of the dust storms led to scientific studies of their behavior. A good example is to be found in an analysis by J. A. Udden in Popular Science Monthly, New York, v. 49 (1896), pp. 655-664, of 38
dust storms of 1894 and 1895 based on reports from 14 states. Other studies appeared in the Monthly Weather Review. The dust storms of 1895 were so severe that the reticences of the previous years seem to have been relaxed in Kansas newspapers, and the Monthly Weather Review resumed reporting although in a somewhat different form.
East of the Mississippi river on the night of January 11-12, 1895, occurred a dustfall of sufficient density and extent to excite interest first in Indiana and Kentucky, and later in other states. The reports in the Monthly Weather Review, pp. 15, 18, 19, read:
there fell throughout a large part of Indiana and Kentucky a shower of dust in connection with snow. It does not appear that this dust was the nucleus of snowflakes, but that it was intermingled in the air with the snow or fell with the wind that preceded the second snowfall.
Other less conspicuous dustfalls were reported in Kentucky, January 19; Indiana, February 1, 8, and March 25. A phenomenon presented as "a silent electrical and dust storm in Oklahoma," January 20, 1895, was described by J. C. Neal, of the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College:
During the morning of January 20 the sky was filled with cirrus clouds, very feathery and white. In the afternoon it became hazy, then dark, and looked like rain. Wind in puffs from the southwest. At nightfall the sky cleared, but somewhat hazy. At 8 p. m., seventy-fifth meridian time, the wind changed to the west, and a gale began; by 9 p. m. it was frightful. The dust passed along in columns fully 1,000 feet high, the wind arose to a speed of 35, then 45 miles per hour, with gusts reaching 55 miles, the temperature fell rapidly, and we saw for the first time (about 9 p. m.) flashes of light that apparently started from no particular place, but pervaded the dust everywhere. As long as the wind blew, till about 2 a. m., January 21, this free lightning was everywhere but there was no noise whatever. It was a silent electrical storm. This morning the sky is clear and except that the dirt is piled up over books, windows, and in all the house, no one would know what a fierce raging of wind and sky we had. 
The next outstanding dust event was the dustfall of February 6-7, 1895, reported from Stattler, Ark., where the ground was covered with snow and was described by the Missouri weather service for that state:
During the prevalence of the high northwesterly winds on the 6th and 7th, a considerable quantity of dust or fine black sand was deposited over the southwestern portion of the State, and as the ground for many miles to the westward was covered with sleet and snow to a considerable depth, it is believed that this dust was brought by the wind from the prairies of Kansas and Nebraska. 
One of the most remarkable storms in history, as it was characterized, was reported from South Enid, Oklahoma territory, having occurred March 19-20:
From 4 p. m. until 2 a. m. the wind blew eighty miles an hour from a northwesterly direction, filling the air with sand and dust, causing complete suspension of travel and doing serious damage to property. Wheat and vegetables in the sandy low lands are now hidden from view under several inches of dust. 
The worst dust storms of the year were visited upon Kansas during April, one series centering on April 5-6 and the other April 14-15, but in some parts of the country dust storms were reported in an almost continuous succession. In the north, Minnesota reported that "exceeding[ly] disagreeable duststorms were frequent, those of the 12th, 14th, and 21st were especially severe." In North Dakota there were "furious and damaging duststorms at Ellendale, Gallatin, Lakota, and Steele on the 14th," and in South Dakota, "severe sand or dust storms . . . occurred on the 4th, 5th, 14th, 25th, and 27th over portions of the State; the most severe in general occurred on the 14th." From the Pacific Northwest, on April 1, the severest storm known occurred in eastern Washington. In Colorado on April 14 the "sky had a peculiar brazen color; the snow that fell was tinged with pink. Those who were out in this snow reported their clothing covered with a deposit resembling mud." The peak of this storm was reached April 15:
Egyptian darkness is said to have prevailed in western Oklahoma and the Panhandle. Showers of mud fell in Oklahoma, severe lightning occurred, and crops were badly damaged. The number of cattle killed is estimated at 5,000, and a score of these were smothered. Drifts of sand 6 feet deep were reported along the railroad tracks of western Kansas.
Oklahoma reported that "The month was characterized by high winds and sandstorms, the most severe of the latter occurred on
the 5th." An equally severe storm was reported April 14-15 from Healdton, Alva, Ponca City, and Pond Creek. 
The newspaper reports gave a somewhat different emphasis on some parts of the April record, but mostly they were a filling-in of details of local interest. The storm of April 5-6 on the central plains was a combination of snow and dust, and "trains were stalled on all the railway lines east of Denver and hundreds of men and several snow plows are engaged in clearing the tracks of drifting snow and sand." The Kansas Pacific, (Union Pacific) train was tied up at Cheyenne Wells near the Kansas-Colorado line; some Rock Island trains were stalled at Goodland, and officials did not hold out hope of clearing their lines before April 7, "as they will probably have to shovel the cuts on account of the drifts being filled with sand." The description of the course of the storm dated from Falcon, Colo., April 6 related that:
A general wind and snow and sand storm, extending 300 miles east of here, and the worst ever known between Limon Junction and the state line, prevailed all day yesterday, and until about two o'clock last night, when the wind suddenly increased threefold in velocity, soon clearing the prairie country of what snow had fallen at midday. The sun was frequently so obscured by sand as to necessitate the lighting of lamps. 
By April 8 trains were getting through to Denver on all roads; the Rock Island had been 60 hours late.
Reports from northern Colorado and Wyoming are to the effect that the wind and sand storm was so fierce that the men' at work cleaning the way were obliged to wear coverings for their faces, the sand cutting even through the cloth like a knife and lacerating the shovelers in a horrible fashion.
Between Wellington and Harper a traveler said that the storm was so violent that "The train could hardly go through it, and the darkness which it caused was like that of going through a tunnel." 
From El Reno, Okla., came this description:
Business has been practically stopped and travel greatly impeded. About 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon a cloud of sand came up from the southwest and totally obscured the sun. Buildings could not be seen fifty yards and the sand was scattered along as though sown broadcast from a great hand. The falling of the sand continued for more than an hour, and those out in it
had a hard time to breathe. The high wind prevailed all night, and this evening it is raining. 
The ground is baked and all crops suffering for want of rain. Here, as at points through Kansas, yesterday's heated spell was followed by a drop in the temperature of nearly 20 degrees.
At Guthrie, Okla., a terrible wind storm from the north struck the town this afternoon and the temperature fell rapidly. The air suddenly became dark with dust and sand and for a time the people sought their cyclone cellars in fear of twisters. 
What seems to have been the last general dust storm of the spring of 1895 commenced May 27:
Blighting hot winds blew in Kansas for thirty-six hours, commencing Monday morning. A strong wind from the south drove clouds of dust and sand across the Central and Western parts of the State. Travelers on the through lines of road say that they were compelled to keep car windows closed for 300 miles to prevent suffocation. . . 
In June a rural community correspondent wrote: "One of the seven wonders of the world. We haven't had a dust storm for a week." 
In Stanton county, in the extreme southwestern corner of the state, the local newspaper told the story of the spring of 1895 from the standpoint of a plains community.
The Johnson City Journal, April 13, 1895:
The worst storm ever witnessed by our oldest residents passed over the western part of this county and eastern Colorado, April 5th and 6th. It was a combination of snow, and sand, which was blown across the prairie at a terrific speed uninterrupted for 40 hours.
children that perished in the storm, while trying to save their stock, a full account of which will be found in another column of this paper.
The story of the three children:
The saddest event in the history of our county occurred in the southwest corner, in the death of three children, who lost their lives in the storm last week. Cora and Charlie Dick aged respectively 10 and 8 and Bertie Orth aged 13. Mrs. Dick and Mrs. Orth were each at home alone with their children, Mr. Dick having gone to Syracuse and Mr. Orth to the Cimarron river. Cora and Charlie left home between one and two o'clock on Friday afternoon (both riding one horse as was their custom) to get the cattle. Soon after leaving the storm came and that was the last seen of them alive. Sunday morning about 8 o'clock they were found by their father, three miles south of home, lying in the road dead. It is supposed they wandered over the prairie until exhausted and had lain down to rest only to awake in another world. They were lying with their faces together, and arms around each other with a peaceful look on their faces, that told no tale of the suffering they had undergone. By their side stood the faithful horse they were riding. She had never left them through the 40 hours of blinding snow and sand. Bertie Orth left home about noon the same day on the same mission and was found Sunday about 10 o'clock 1/2 mile east of his home by some neighbors who were searching for him. He was a cripple and always carried his crutches on his saddle. He was either thrown or fell from his horse and being unable to walk had crawled some distance as was shown by the knees of his pants. His face showed the terrible struggle he had made for life.
The Johnson City Journal, May 18, 1895:
Every day the covered wagons are seen headed westward, many of the faint hearted who left us last fall are returning with some new recruits from the east that have been longing for something better than rented farms, and have taken courage from those returning to the deserted claims to cast their lot with the rest of us, and secure a home that they can own and control to suit themselves.
The Johnson City Journal, June 1, 1895:
Southwestern Kansas has been refreshed by a rain. One of the old fashioned rains, that commenced with a pouring shower about 9 o'clock Wednesday night, and all through the night the water came down in sheats [sic], and up to the time of writing this (8 o'clock Thursday morning) is still raining. The ground is wet into the depths of the earth, and the grateful frogs have come forth from it and are singing their songs of praise. Such a joyful song from our merry croakers has not greeted our ears for a long time.
Stay with your homes. Reports from other places are not encouraging. Dry other places, and the outlook for crops not much better than here.
The Johnson City Journal, June 8, 1895:
Another good rain on Sunday.
In view of the accumulated moisture deficit, some years were required to effect a restoration of the essential soil water which would stop blowing. The fall of 1895 brought forth another installment in the continued story of plains dust storms:
During the 18th, 19th, and 20th of October sand and dust storms, with low temperature and the wind at 50 miles per hour, prevailed over Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Manitoba, and the inconveniences of such a blizzard were intensified by the alkaline character of the dust. 
The year 1896 brought some improvement, and 1897 and 1898 were more nearly average seasons. Something of the mood of western Kansas was reflected in the local comment of the conservative minded Rooks County Record, Stockton, April 10, 1896: "This year has been set apart by thermal necrologists as the ne plus ultra of crop periods, and by the great Jehosephat, these prophecies shall not fail." The next week hopes mounted temporarily:
It will not be necessary to hang the local weather prophets this year, we are thinking. For some days their lives hung in the balance, while the dry winds howled around our cabin doors, laden with dust and sand. But at the last, when the patience of our people was about exhausted, and the hempen gear was being woven for the necks of those professional seers who had foretold a wet season for 1896, the flood gates were opened up and the rain fell. Oh what a fall was there, my countrymen! 
The year 1899 brought back the all too familiar dust storms in great frequency and intensity. Each month, January to May inclusive, had its list of occurrences.  April 30 in Nebraska produced an unusual spectacle:
In the afternoon, following the rain, the air in Eastern Nebraska was filled with dust, generally accompanied by high south, changing to northwest, wind. The yellowish dust increased in density at Ravenna until about 2:30 p. m. One could not read without a light. At 3:50 p. m. there was a dead calm, accompanied by a heavy dustfall, and at 4:00 p. m. a gale came from the northwest: The darkness, the dead calm coming so suddenly, the weird sky, the rapidly rolling mass of yellowish clouds to the northeast, and the falling dust had brought us all out to watch, ready for a hail storm or a tornado and a dive for the cave 
During the prevalence of the southerly winds
the dust was carried in great quantities northward, but when the clouds coming from the west began to drop a little rain, preliminary to the heavy northwest winds that were to follow, then the dust became mud and the rain became a very dirty rain. This succession of dust followed by muddy rain moved eastward over the greater part of Nebraska, between 1 and 5 p. m., and during most of this time the sunlight was so obscured that lamps were lighted. The muddy rains occurred in Iowa as late as 9 p. m., but preceding that, viz, about 3:30 p. m., there were one or more tornadoes. A muddy rain began at Yankton, S. Dak., at 8 p. m. On the same day the severest northerly storm of the season occurred in Montana. 
In the three papers here concluded dealing with dust blowing between 1850 and 1900, the three sections of the state of Kansas and of the Western grassland have been reviewed; the tall grass, the mixed grass and the short grass regions. It is clear that the kinds of records available for such a study have not been all that could be desired, but in that connection one conclusion should stand out clearly. During the period under consideration, meteorology was just emerging as a science, attaining for the first time a new
level of competence. On the administrative side, a nation-wide system for collecting data and analyzing it Was first achieved. This provided a standardized methodology, instruments, and definitions for a more exact quantitative measurement of Weather data. Theoretical analysis of weather phenomena Was possible on a new level of probability, and this is illustrated conspicuously during the last years of the nineteenth century in the papers published on the dust storm and other problems. 
The snow-dust falls of January 11-12 and February 7, 1895, attracted such Widespread interest that samples were gathered by the Weather Bureau from many places, especially from Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, and from Arkansas, and Were analyzed by the Department of Agriculture. Samples were reported upon also by private individuals who carried out investigations. The fact of dustfalls in the East was not unusual, but the circumstances were. A snow cover had already fallen so that the snow-dust was conspicuous, and it Was easy to gather samples uncontaminated. The various analyses showed that the dust Was fine silt mixed with varying proportions of organic matter. Although the suggestion was made that the material might have come from a dried-up fresh-water lake, the more important observation identified the organic material as derived from plants common all over North America. It was pointed out that the texture of the silt material was almost identical With the loess formations of Illinois, Nebraska and adjacent states. By Weight the estimates of the volume of the dustfall ranged from 12.77 pounds to 150 pounds per acre.  This and other studies made during the late 1890's Were inadequate, but What is important is the fact that a large quantity of more or less systematically collected data Was being recorded and that a be ginning Was made in subjecting it to analysis. In time the outcome of such Work Would meet more exacting scientific standards. It was more than a coincidence that the period of agricultural discontent associated With the Granger movement occurred during the drought and soil blowing of the decade of the 1870's, and that the dust crisis of the 1890's Was also the period of the Populist movement. In either case, the grievances exploited by those movements fell far short of explaining adequately the condition of the farmer during those discouraging years. The Worst manifestations of soil blowing as related to agricultural operations occurred during the pioneering process. The country was new, the population was not settled-in on a firm and stabilized foundation in harmony with the new environment. The people were short of capital, of machinery, of motive power, as Well as experience. The older and better established communities usually kept their soil fairly well under control. In recent times, because of the technological revolution in agriculture and as the result of the initial exploitive stage of power farming, the period of the late 1920's was analogous in a sense to pioneering. In the light of that experience and well considered conservation measures, the worst features of those eras need not be repeated. There is no reason to assume that dust storms can be prevented altogether, because without question they were frequent and severe prior to White settlement and the plowing of the sod, but the damage incident to agricultural operations should and can be minimized by careful soil management.
DR. JAMES C. MALIN, associate editor of The Kansas Historical Quarterly, is professor of history at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. He is the author of John Brown And the Legend of Fifty-Six (Philadelphia, The American Philosophical Society, 1942), Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas (University of Kansas, 1944), and other books.1. Salina Journal, September 16, 1880; Monthly Weather Review, 1881, published by the Weather Bureau, Washington, D. C.; Kansas State Board of Agriculture, First Quarterly Report for 1881, pp, 14, 15, 17; Topeka Daily Capital, March 7, April 4, 1881.
2. Salina Journal, April 7, 1881.
3. Topeka Capital, May 5, 1881.
4. Kansas State Board of Agriculture, Third Quarterly Report for 1881, p. 35.
5. Marion County Record, Marion, September 30, 1881; Abilene Gazette, September 30. 1881.
6. Monthly Weather Review, March, April, May, June, 1882.
7. Marion County Record, Marion, March 24, 31, 1882; Salina Herald, March 2.5, 1882; Salina Journal, March 30, April 6, 1882.
8. Junction City Union, April 15, 1882.
9. Salina Journal, April 20, 1882.
10. Monthly Weather Review, August, October, 1882.
11. Brookville Transcript, August 17, 24, September 14, 1882; Topeka Daily Commonwealth, September 13, 1882.
12. Abilene Chronicle, November 17, 1882.
13. Salina Journal, March 22, 1883; Salina Herald, March 22, 1883.
14. The quotation is from the Salina Herald, May 10, 1883. Other references to dust: Ibid., April 26, 1883; Abilene Chronicle, May 11, 25, 1883.
15. Dodge City Times, May 10. July 5, 1883. 16. Abilene Chronicle, September 7, 1883.
17. Larned Chronoscope, April 4, 1884; Abilene Chronicle, March 14, April 11, 1884; Salina Journal, April 24, May 15, 1884.
18. J. T. Lovewell, "Meteorological Report," in Kansas State Board of Agriculture, Report for the Quarter Ending December 31, 1885, p. 182; The Globe-Livestock Journal, Dodge City, February 17, 1885.
19. Monthly Weather Review, April and May, 1885.
20. Ibid., October, November, December, 1885; J. T. Lovewell, loc. cit.
21. Lovewell, in Kansas State Board of Agriculture, Report for the Quarter Ending March 31, 1886, p. 16; Salina Journal, January 7, 14, 1886.
22. Monthly Weather Review, October, 1886.
23. Ibid., November, 1886.
24. Ibid., January, February, March, April, 1887.
25. Kansas State Board of Agriculture. Report for the Quarter Ending March 31, 1887, pp. 47-51; Halstead Independent, February 18, 1887; Monthly Weather Review, January-April, 1887.
26. Kansas State Board of Agriculture, Report for the Quarter Ending March 31, 1887, pp. 51, 52.
27. Monthly Weather Review, April, 1887, reported under drought heading rather than dust storm section.
28. Ibid., May, 1887.
29. Kansas State Board of Agriculture, Report for First Quarter, 1888, pp. 147, 153-159; ibid., April, p. 8; Monthly Weather Review, 1888.
30. Kansas State Board of Agriculture, Report for the First Quarter, 1889, pp, 123, 127, 134, 140; Report for the Fourth Quarter, 1889, pp. 139, 140.
31. Monthly Weather Review, 1889.
32. Kansas State Board of Agriculture, First Quarterly Report, 1890, pp. 56, 57.
33. Ibid., Monthly Report for May, 1890, pp. 31-34.
34. Rooks County Record, February 22, April 5, 1895.
35. L. E. Call, "Safeguards Against Drought: Storing Surface Feed," Kansas Agricultural Convention, 1937, in Report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture for the Quarter Ending March, 1937, pp. 53-61; R. I. Throckmorton and L. L. Compton, "Soil Blowing in Kansas and Methods of Control," in "Soil Erosion by Wind," Report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture, December, 1937, pp. 7-44 at 8.
36. Monthly Weather Review, v. 23 (January, 1895), pp. 13, 18.
37. Ibid. (January, February. 1895), pp. 16, 52, 53. 38. Topeka Daily Capital
39. This survey is summarized from the Monthly Weather Review, v. 23 (April, 1895), pp. 128, 130.
40. Topeka Daily Capital, April 7, 1895.
41. Ibid., April 9, 1895.
42. Eureka Herald, April 12, 1895, patent page.
43. Topeka Daily Capital, April 7, 1895
44. Ibid., April 16, 1895, with Wichita date line of April 15.
45. Ibid., April 18, May 2, 1895.
46. Under Topeka date line in Eureka Herald, May 17, 1895.
47. In ibid.
48. Patent pages in Chase County Leader, Cottonwood Falls, June 6, 1895.
49. Saline Herald, June 21, 1895.
50. Monthly Weather Review, v. 23 (October, 1895), p. 381.
51. Rooks County Record, April 17, 1896.
52. Kansas section of the Climate and Crop Service of the Weather Bureau, United States Department of Agriculture, January-May, 1899.
53. Nebraska section of ibid., April, 1899.
54. Monthly Weather Review, v. 27 (April, 1899), pp. 158, 159.
55. Cf., description of publications of the Weather Bureau. "Climate and Crop Service Publications." in ibid., p. 150. The first report on the new model appeared February, 1896, for the New England section. By the close of 1898 all but two states, Iowa and New York, were on a uniform basis, including instruments and definitions.
Oliver L. Fassig, "Statistics of State Weather Services." ibid., v. 23 (June, 1895), pp. 209-212. This gives a skeleton chronological history of state services.
See, also, A Chronological Outline of the History of Meteorology in the United States of North America, ibid., v. 37 (March, April, May. 1909), pp. 87-89, 146-149, 178-180.
"Nomenclature," ibid., v. 21 (1893), p. 225. C. Abbe, ed., "Historic Droughts in the United States," ibid., v. 26 (June, 1898) p. 262. C. R. Keyes, "The Eolian Origin of Loess," American Journal of Science, v. 156 (1898), pp. 299-304.
E. E. Free, "The Movement of Soil Material by the Wind," USDA, Bureau of Soils. Bulletin No. 68 (Washington, 1911), is the first thorough monograph on the wind erosion problem. More popular and brief is E. E. Free and J. M. Westgate, "The Control of Blowing Soils," USDA, Farmers' Bulletin 421 (1910). The most recent study of soil blowing is a Canadian work, W. S. Chepil, "Dynamics of Soil Erosion: 1. Nature of Movement of Soil by Wind. II. Initiation of Soil Movement," Soil Science, v. 60 (October, November, 1945), pp. 305-320, 397-411.
56. Monthly Weather Review, v. 23 (January. 1895), pp. 15-19. Another discussion appeared in ibid. (April. 1895), p. 130. See J. A. Udden, "Dust and Sand Storms in the West," Popular Science Monthly, v. 49 (1896). pp. 655-664, and W. M. Davis, in Science, v. 4 n. s. (October 9, 1896), p. 525.