Sunday, August 3, 2014

Broomcorn Harvest, 1903

Snyder, Oklahoma Territory • Nov. 10, 1903

1903 Photo Shows Broomcorn Crop

     The area that includes Frederick, Snyder and Lawton was opened to settlement through land lottery in August 1901. Most of the wild prairie land was rich loam, wonderful for growing crops. Farmers settled the new land, living in dugouts and plowing the fertile land using horses or mules.

   One of the biggest crops in the new land was broomcorn, a type of sorghum that produced stalks that were ideal for making brooms. Harvesting of broomcorn was especially labor-intensive.

   The photo above was recently discovered among photographs belonging to the late Lois Kelly Schroeder of Frederick. People in the photo are unidentified, but print at the bottom of the photo identifies the date and location as Snyder, Oklahoma Territory, November 10, 1903.

   "25 Loads Boomcorn marketed at Snyder, O.T. $65.00 to $90.00 ton." An imprinted studio mark at top right of the picture reads "Deming Studio, Snyder, O.T."

   The city of Snyder, like Frederick, began in 1902 and sprang up based on proximity to the new railroad.

   On May 10, 1905, exactly 18 months after this photo was taken, the young town of Snyder would be almost wiped out by a massive tornado that claimed more than 100 lives.