Circleville, Ohio – Displaced Farmers in 1938 had to live in shanty towns called Hoovervilles [vintage photographs]

As farms were foreclosed on during the Great Depression, many farmers around the town of Circleville found themselves having to live in the shanty town of  Hooverville as well.

The photographs taken by Ben Shahn in 1938 in this shanty town is of former farmers who were now working on WPA projects to feed their families.

ex-farmer now on WPA projects

Circleville reminisences: a description of Circleville, Ohio (1825-1840) ; also an account of the 115-year old sister of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry

ex-farmer now on WPA projects2


ex-farmer now on WPA projects3

ex-farmer now on WPA projects4


ex-farmer now on WPA projects5


ex-farmer now on WPA projects dau


ex-farmer now on WPA projects son

hooverville woman child boy

William A. Swift is the name of the man below.  He was once a farmer, now a resident of Circleville’s “Hooverville.” He said that when he returned from the war he went West. “Made awful good money jobbin’ around.”

Hooverville william a swift3


Hooverville - william a swift dog2

This resident of Hooverville was in severe pain. He began to talk while his photograph was taken.

“No man in the United States had the trouble I had since 1931. No man. Don’t talk to me. I’m deaf. I lost my farm in 1931. I went to work in an acid factory. I got acid spilt on me; burnt my nose and made me blind. Then I get those awful headaches. I’ve been to lots of doctors, but that doesn’t help me. They come on at sundown. No man in the United States had the trouble I had since 1931.” (This last repeated many times through his talking.) “No man. It must be getting on to 6 o’clock now. My head’s beginning to pain.”

hooverville man in pain



  1. History of Pickaway County, Ohio, and Representative Citizens
  2. Library of Congress

See More Pictures and Stories on Circleville, Ohio 

People in shanty towns had to rely on home remedies when they became ill like Vinegar of the Four Thieves which was centuries old recipe that was known for its antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic and antifungal properties for years. It was even used to cure the Bubonic Plague. See Thomas Jefferson’s recipe in VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past


See books by Donna R Causey

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She cohost the Podcast: Alabama Grist Mill and developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and

All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble.

She has authored numerous genealogy books.
RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE)
is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2)
is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series)
Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1)
is the continuation of the story. .

For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

One Response to Circleville, Ohio – Displaced Farmers in 1938 had to live in shanty towns called Hoovervilles [vintage photographs]

  1. Jeanie Russell says:

    So sad.

Leave a Reply to Jeanie Russell Cancel reply

Please use your real name instead of you company name or keyword spam.