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"The eastern half of York County started getting – they had been dried out for two or three years in the middle 50s. It was either put down wells or get off the land. And the older farmers, the middle-aged farmers like my dad and my uncle and stuff, they had enough equity in their land so they could get a loan to put down a well. If you didn't have any equity, you know, you were out. And so consequently, there was a mass exodus again of young farmers. The ones who had returned from World War II and gotten back on the farm, and then they had to go elsewhere… When it's dry and you can't raise food for your livestock, you don't stay in business too long…
     "They were putting wells down, probably one or two a week. They were punching a lot of holes… It was a risky, kind of a risky job. They set up this derrick that had your well column, I mean a drill column on it. And they added pieces as the bit drove down in the ground. And they would go down 100 feet to 200 feet – that's what the depths were at that time – until they hit past one water layer and got into the next water layer. That was where the good water was. And then they would – that would probably take two days of 24 hours a day, drilling. And then they would get the water, and they'd test the well. [They would ask,] 'Okay, is this going to be a sufficient well?' And then they would case it."

Beulah Gocke – Droughts in the 50s

   

Other Excerpts from Beulah Gocke’s Interview:

Baby Boomers
Cold War Close to Home
Why Not Leave Farming?
Rural Hicks on TV
Adopting New Technology
Truck Farming
Raising Sheep
Keeping Up with Chemistry
Omaha Stockyards