What was the CCC? Why and How did it get started?
The Roaring Twenties!
World War 1 (1914-1918) was over. Americans had answered President Wilson’s call “to make the world safe for democracy.” It was now time to enjoy life with new cars, illegal liquor, short skirts, Jazz, the Charleston, and radio. Industrial production, personal wealth, and stock prices rose rapidly. IT WAS THE “ROARING TWENTIES.” By the late twenties, farm prices and farm profits fell (remember a much, much, much larger percent of the population made their living from agriculture in the 1920’s). Farmers could not pay back money they had borrowed from banks, and many banks went out of business. People that had bought stock on CREDIT began to sell, and a panic ensued on Oct 24, 1929. That day is known as “Black Thursday”, and the “ROARING TWENTIES” came to a sudden halt!
NY State Forester, Gregory Owens explains that “On October 29, 1929, the New York Stock Exchange crashed and soon millions of Americans were out of work. New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt responded by creating the Emergency Temporary Relief Administration that put 10,000 men to work in state forestry projects. Roosevelt believed that conservation was an essential component of any state or national recovery effort. While governor, he successfully campaigned for the State Reforestation Act (of 1929) and the Hewitt Amendment (1933) that established New York as a leader in forest policy and natural resource conservation. Shortly after his inauguration in 1933, President Roosevelt signed legislation creating the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC, also known as Roosevelt’s Tree Army, would ultimately give work, hope and self-respect to three million American men.”
|Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president in November of 1932 by an electoral vote of 472 to 59 over incumbent Herbert Hoover. Just days after Roosevelt was inaugurated on March 4, 1933, he met with congress and proposed programs to reduce unemployment, stabilize banks, and provide aid to agriculture. Senate Bill 598 (the Emergency Work Act) was introduced March 27th, passed both houses in 4 days with President Roosevelt signing it into law on March 31, 1933. The strongest opposition came from organized labor. Their leaders feared that the very low wage of the CCC boy would take jobs away from union members. A portion of the work done under this act and the people accomplishing it would become known as the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC). Camps were set up that would provide labor to improve the forests, control erosion on farm and range lands, control flooding, and do similar projects nearby the camp. The Department of Labor would select enrollees from the most needy families that were on state relief rolls, the War Department (the Army) would administer the camps, and the Agriculture and Interior Departments would plan and organize work projects.|
|The first camp to open was Camp Roosevelt near Edinburg, VA (see CCC in VA). On April 17, 1933, the first group of enrollees arrived at Camp Roosevelt. After pushing their Grey Hound busses to the top of the mountain, they found an open empty 10 acre clearing in which to pitch their tents. But whoops, no tents, the supply trucks got lost, and soon one of those April showers (thunderstorms) that bring May flowers started. And double whoops, there was no food either. The Army officers went back to Edinburg, and bought much of the food available (Edinburg was a small town!). The “CCC boys” motto soon became We Can Take It. The next day the trucks arrived and camp was set up. Nine years later World War II was beginning, Congress did not fund the CCC, and the camps were all closed by July of 1942.|
|ADMINISTRATION: The camps were administered by the Army (but they did borrow officers from the other branches). That meant providing food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. The picture to the right is from Henry Rich’s (the very first enrollee) photo album and shows the officers at Camp Roosevelt. They were from left to right W. D. Tenney (Educational Advisor), Liet. Eli Contract (Dr), Liet. Robert B. DuVal (2nd in Command), and Capt. William J. Bemis, JR. (Commander).|
|They would be assisted by “boys” selected and promoted to overhead positions. At Camp Roosevelt they were (L-R) Joe Brough (truck driver), Joseph Webb (supply sergeant), Ronald Davies (company clerk), Adrian Arnold (officers’ orderly), Robert Austin (second cook), HENRY J. RICH (mess sergeant), Aubrey Carter (first cook), Lewis Fisher (third cook), and Julias St. Clair (hospital attendant).|
|About 3.5 million men served in the CCC. Employment was divided into 6 month enrollment periods. An enrollee could stay for a maximum of 2 years. Boys that were promoted to administrative jobs (cooks, clerks, radio operators, truck drivers, etc.) could stay longer. click for Company pictures Except for the Native Americans, the boys lived in camps. A typical camp would have about 200 enrollees living in five 40 person barracks. In addition to the barracks, a camp would have officers’ quarters, a mess hall, an infirmary, a recreation hall, an education hall, and garages for vehicle and equipment storage and maintenance. Their wages were $30 per month with $22 to $25 of that automatically sent home to their families. There were also ways of earning extra money. For instance, in one barracks all of the guys chipped in and paid one boy $2 per month to get up early and make the fire during the winter months. Once camps were set up and projects planned, it became clear that one part was missing. If the project was to build a log cabin, the boys did not know how to saw a tree down, cut it into lumber, do electrical wiring, cut and lay stone for the fireplace, etc., etc., etc. To solve the problem, the Army hired Locally Experienced Men (LEMs) with those skills to train and guide the boys.|
|ENROLLEES: At the start, there were 250,000 jobs available with about 4 applicants for each job. There was a camp in Michigan named Camp Kentucky because all the camps in Kentucky and Indiana were full and Kentucky boys went up to Michigan to join. On April 14th Congress authorized the enrollment of 14,000 Native Americans. They generally stayed in their villages. On May 11th Congress authorized the enrollment of 24,000 Veterans. They lived in separate camps. In 1934, there was a severe drought in the Midwest and an additional 50,000 jobs were made available in those states. Owen Lee remembers his folks telling that they had just built their silo and the corn in Northern Illinois just got a couple of feet tall. The entire crop only filled the silo half full. By 1935, the number of CCC jobs available increased to over 500,000. By 1937/38, the economy was getting better and recruiters were having some difficulty getting enough applicants. With our entry into World War II in December 1941, unemployment was no longer a problem and the economy started to boom. CCC enrollees were unmarried, unemployed men from 18 to 25 years of age. There was no age limit for Veterans or Native Americans and they could also be married. When Congress extended the program in 1937, the age restriction changed to 17 to 23.||Recruiting Poster|
About 3.5 million men served in the CCC. Employment was divided into 6 month enrollment periods. An enrollee could stay for a maximum of 2 years. Boys that were promoted to administrative jobs (cooks, clerks, radio operators, truck drivers, etc.) could stay longer.
Except for the Native Americans, the boys lived in camps. A typical camp would have about 200 enrollees living in five 40 person barracks. In addition to the barracks, a camp would have officers’ quarters, a mess hall, an infirmary, a recreation hall, an education hall, and garages for vehicle and equipment storage and maintenance.
Their wages were $30 per month with $22 to $25 of that automatically sent home to their families. There were also ways of earning extra money. For instance, in one barracks all of the guys chipped in and paid one boy $2 per month to get up early and make the fire during the winter months.
Once camps were set up and projects planned, it became clear that one part was missing. If the project was to build a log cabin, the boys did not know how to saw a tree down, cut it into lumber, do electrical wiring, cut and lay stone for the fireplace, etc, etc, etc. To solve the problem, the Army hired Locally Experienced Men (LEMs) with those skills to train and guide the boys.
CAMPS: There were around 4500 camps during the 9 CCC years. At the peak, there were over 2600 camps open at once.
In the first year or two, the CCC Program Managers were not sure how successful the program would be, so the boys mostly lived in tents. By 1935, there was good public support for the program and much more comfortable wooden structures were built. Camps were set up, performed their function, and were either eliminated or moved to work on their next project. Some camps were seasonal. For instance, Yosemite National Park had 10 camps with 7 of them in operation only during the warm summer months. Every state had at least one camp. There were camps in Alaska, Hawaii, (AK and HI were not yet states) Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands too. California had the most camps with about 345. Pennsylvania was second with 113. The PA Governor at the time was Gifford Pinchot.
The first camp in the entire nation was Camp Roosevelt, NF-1-VA, near Edinburg, Virginia (see CCC in VA). The first two camps overseen by the National Park Service were NP-1-VA and NP-2-VA at Skyland and Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park, VA. They both opened on May 15th 1933.
No wonder the boys were called “Roosevelt’s Tree Army” planting over 3 billion trees. There were over 2000 camps supervised by either National, State, or private forestry agencies!
|Agency||Number of Camps|
|National, State, Private Forestry||2,108|
|State and National Parks||700|
|Tennessee Valley Authority||63|
|Navel Military Reservations||7|
|a variety of others||??|
The camp shown here was at Wind Cave, SD (picture from National Park Service).
|IDENTIFICATION: A camp had up to 3 identifiers. They had a common name like Camp Roosevelt. Each camp was assigned to an existing government agency within either the Department of Interior or Agriculture or to a State agency to plan, design, and oversee the installation of project measures. Therefore, each camp was given an ID like SCS-23, NF-1, NP-3. The letters identified the responsible agency like the USDA – Soil Conservation Service, the National Forest Service, or the National Park Service. The number was the sequence in which that camp was formed within a state. Once the Department of Labor with help from state unemployment offices recruited the ‘boys’, they turned them over to the Army for physicals, outfitting, conditioning, and assignment to a company. The company would then populate a camp. Some companies would stay for the entire camps existence and the camp would get to be known as that companies camp, but then other company’s were moved to several camps.|
|THEIR DAY: Every workday (Monday- Friday) the boys arose to reveille at 6 am, cleaned up and dressed, policed the grounds, formed for the flag raising ceremony and roll call, ate a breakfast of things like fruit, cereal, pancakes, eggs, ham, coffee, (see menu to the left) and then made their beds and cleaned their barracks before heading off to their worksites at 8 am. Remember, camps were run by Army Officers! The boys planted trees (the CCC was also known as Roosevelt’s Tree Army), built roads, bridges, fire lookout towers, telephone lines, cabins, picnic shelters, etc. They fought forest fires, performed archeological digs, installed conservation measures, etc. The work day ended at 4 PM. click for work pictures. They were given time to clean up and get in dress uniform for supper. The supper hour was around 5 PM with plenty of plain but filling food. The average enrollee gained about 20 pounds (mostly muscle). The menu for Camp 2399 (Fort Belvoir, VA) from February 28th to March 2nd, 1938 is shown to the left. The cost was the total cost to serve the 193 men stationed there. After dinner and weekends were free time. Popular sporting activities included playing baseball, basketball, volleyball, swimming, and boxing. Many camps had a recreation hall equipped with ping pong tables, pool tables, chess sets, cards, board games, and magazines. A real popular activity was dancing. The boys would either go to a nearby town or invite the girls to camp. Some camps even had talented orchestras that would play the music! click for recreation pictures|
|The boys were encouraged to improve their literacy and vocational skills in their free time. Educational classes were optional but encouraged. Many of the boys had never been to a day of school, were eager to learn, saw this as their chance to improve their lives, and took full advantage. It is estimated that 400,000 boys were taught to read and write. Camps had an educational coordinator. He, the LEMs, or whoever was available such as local school teachers were the instructors so classes varied by the expertise of these individuals. To the right is the schedule of classes for Company 2386 near Beach, VA for a week in December 1936. Nearby colleges and technical schools were also available. For instance, William Fudge attended Williamsport Technical institute getting 168 hours in aviation Engine Assembly while stationed at a camp near Williamsport, PA. On the job training was also very valuable to the boys. click for OJT pictures Vehicle repair, carpentry, soil conservation, drafting, electrical wiring, and accounting are examples of common opportunities, since most camps used these skills on a daily basis. Pocahontas State Park was going to be the model design for all of the parks in the nation, and the boy that drafted the plans for that park used his skills in WWII and then became a draftsman for his entire working career. In Pocahontas State Park, VA, a kiln was built so the boys could learn how to make pottery. The above picture is of a math class in MD Camp 325 that worked to restore the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.|
|Lights out was usually around 10 o’clock.||The National Park Service picture (provided by Jim Pisarowicz) to the left is from a class at the South Dakota camp that worked on Wind Cave. Certificates were awarded for successfully completing classes.|
Well, some of the boys could NOT take it – whether it was the regimen, homesickness, or whatever. The desertion rate was about 8%. The only penalty for desertion was a blemish on the individual’s employment record. However, sometimes the local police would chase them down and return them to camp (Gettysburg, PA). Individuals were occasionally discharged for not following camp rules or for various other reasons. Five radical men were dishonorably discharged from Gettysburg Camp #2 for their “Communistic Effort.” They were escorted out of camp and out of town.
Life in the CCC was dangerous. Take another look at the projects they tackled. They did a lot of climbing, handling dynamite, fighting forest fires, riding to work on the back of an open flatbed truck, living close quarters, etc.
Eight young men lost their lives on Oct 19, 1938, fighting the Pepper Hill, PA forest fire.
A man from one of the Gettysburg, PA camps fell off a flatbed truck during Feb. 1938 and died.
Two men were struck by lightning and died at the Pine Grove, PA camp as they were closing up the hospital tent.
There were occasional disputes between the boys. At Gettysburg, a big burly boy began to pick on a very small boy, and it escalated into a fight. The smaller boy picked up a brick and threw it, hitting the other boy in the head. It fractured his skull, killing him.
On Sept. 2, 1935, a very destructive hurricane struck the upper Florida Keys where 3 CCC camps were located. The storm killed 228 enrollees, mostly WWI Veterans.
There were plenty of other hazards:
In the PA camps that were in the woods during deer hunting season, the boys stretched a strand of wire around the camp 150 yards outside of outlying buildings. At frequent intervals, cardboard signs were hung warning that a CCC camp was nearby.
2) At Gettysburg the boys found 2 grapefruit sized shells left over from the Civil War, presented them to their commander as a gift (he collected antiques). When he saw them, he went balistic – had the boys take them to an open field far away from camp. He put a stick of dynamite beside them, lit the fuse, and ran to safety. There was quite an explosion.
A few asides:
After WWI, the federal government had set aside funds that were to be used to provide “Bonuses” for wartime service. The Bonuses were to be paid in 1945. Economic conditions were so desperate during the great depression that veterans marched on Washington in 1932, in 1933, and again in 1934 to demand early payment of these bonuses.
In 1932 (during Hoover’s Administration), veterans started marching in Oregon, and by the time they reached Washington DC, they were 20,000 strong. The Senate defeated a bill to pay early. The Army evicted the marchers.
In 1933, 3,000 veterans attended a “Bonus Convention” from May 7-12. Early bonuses were not paid, but FDR offered the marchers jobs in the newly created CCC, and almost 90% accepted. Pictured to the right is the camp where they stayed at Fort Hunt.
In 1934, only about 1500 veterans attended the “convention.” Fort Hunt was now a CCC camp. The CCC boys moved out, and the conventioneers stayed there which interrupted CCC work. There was little support for paying early, about half of the attendees joined the CCC; the rest went home.
Mrs. Roosevelt was strongly in favor of extending the enrollment in the CCC to women. She was not successful, but under different legislation a similar program became available to women. Mrs. Roosevelt is shown here visiting one of those “SheSheShe” camps. This one was located in Bear Mountain State Park in New York.
Alysia Vivona (archivist at FDR’s Presidential Library in Hyde Park, NY) found that “Mrs. Roosevelt’s efforts (along with those of Labor Secretary Frances Perkins) first resulted in Camp TERA, sponsored by New York State’s Temporary Relief Administration in June 1933. By 1936, ninety educational camps for women had been established under the Federal Emergency Relief Administration’s Emergency Education Program (EEP).”
|Some women found work with the WPA. These women are making dolls, quilts, and uniforms. The dolls are in the parks archives. Picture provided by Jane Sundberg from Colonial National Historical Park, VA.|
The Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution ratified on January 23rd, 1933 set the term for the president and vice-president to start at noon on the 20th day of January. It was too late for Roosevelt’s first term which started on March 4, 1933, but his second term started at noon on January 20th, 1937. His first term was actually only 3 years, 10 months, and 16 days long!
The first night baseball game was held in Crosley Field in Cincinnati, OH on May 24, 1935 with President Roosevelt flipping the switch remotely. The inaugural class to the Baseball Hall of Fame was elected in 1936. That class included Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, and Walter Johnson. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY opened June 12, 1939. The WPA helped build DoubleDay Field in Cooperstown.
|This unfinished portrait of FDR by Elizabeth Shoumatoff was in progress on April 12, 1945 when FDR experienced the Cerebral Hemorrhage that killed him later that day. It hangs at the historic site at Warm Springs, Georgia.|
Excerpts from History of SCS by Robert L. Geiger, Jr.
In 1929, the Buchanan Amendment to the Ag Appropriation Bill for FY 1930 recognized soil erosion as a menace to agriculture. The amendment provided $160,000 to USDA for soil erosion investigations. Soil erosion experiment stations were set up under the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils. Some of the funds were used by the Forest Service to continue work that had been underway for several years, to study the effect of forest cover on runoff.
On August 25, 1933, the Soil Erosion Service (SES) was established as a temporary organization in USDI without formal order. The Federal Emergency Administrator of Public Works by memo of August 25, 1933, advised the Secretary of Interior that in accordance with the provisions of the National Industrial Recovery Act of June 16, 1933 an allotment of $5,000,000 had been made to USDI for soil erosion prevention on public and private lands.
On Sept. 19, 1933, Hugh H. Bennett transferred from USDA to USDI to direct the Soil Erosion Service. The next day Lillian Wieland became the second SES employee as Mr. Bennett’s secretary. On Oct. 10, 1933, the first soil erosion project was established at Coon valley, WI. R. H. Davis was project director, and Ben Einer and Albert Chapiewsky were the first farmers to sign cooperative agreements for applications of erosion control measures and correct land use on their farms. SES grew rapidly. By June 30, 1934, there were 2,200 employees.
On March 23, 1935, the Federal Emergency Administrator of Public Works proposed an order to move SES to USDA. On March 25, 1935, the president signed the transfer order. The name was changed to Soil Conservation Service (SCS) thus putting the agency in a more positive light! The transfer included all personnel, funds, equipment, property, and the following 39 work projects.
Here are a few of the employees of the Soil Conservation Service that started in the CCC. Let this be a tribute to all of those that accomplished so much in the nine-year life of the CCC program.
Helmer “Andy” Anderson (99) began his career with the Forest Service as a supervisor in a CCC camp. He started with SCS in 1950 as a Soil Conservationist in Chippewa County, WI. He passed away June 22, 2006.
Glenn H. Baker worked at Camp Rowan in Union, WV, right out of West Virginia University as an engineer. He was responsible for laying out diversion terraces and check dams for gully control, and was well known for huge dynamite blasts to ‘get out’ the limestone.
Amos Barnard (95) worked for CCC Company 867 in Gunnison National Forest at Waunita Hot Springs in 1933. He worked for SCS from 1947 to 1984 in Beaver and Stillwater, OK. Amos passed away November 24, 2009 in Stillwater.
Kenneth B. “P.T.” Barnum was a foreman in Camp Rowan at Union, WV. Later he moved to Camp Fairfax in Berkeley County. One of the main activities in Monroe County was grinding and burning limestone for use in treating farm land.
Frank Beeba worked for the Cs in Camp SCS14 at Henry, IL. He spent much of his SCS career as District Conservationist in Stark County, IL.
Norm Berg’s brother John was in the Cs in the state of Washington.
Harold W. “Hal” Biggerstaff (89) served with the Civilian Conservation Corps in Alaska in 1938 and 39. He served in the Air Force in World War II, and his career with SCS was as a soil scientist. Hal passed away March 1, 2008.
Raymond S. Brown (95) started his career as an engineer in the CCC camps in Illinois. Ray retired as Ohio’s State Conservationist in April 1970, and passed away October 6, 2002.
Loren Bryan worked for the Cs in Camp SCS-14 at Henry, IL. He spent much of his SCS career as District Conservationist in LaSalle County, IL.
Glendon P. Burton was assigned to Camp Crawford at Elizabeth, WV, and later moved to Milton. He worked on farms in erosion control activities. He passed away March 9, 1969.
Evans Butler worked for the Cs in Camp SCS14 at Henry, IL. He spent his SCS career right there in Henry first as a Technician and then as District Conservationist for Marshall County Soil Conservation District.
Charlie B. Cape (89) started his career with the CCCs at Bartlett, TX after having worked in Knox City, Memphis, and San Benito, TX. He passed away January 30, 2002.
Mel Carlson (92) started his career in the CCCs at a camp near Salmon, ID. Mel retired in June 1974 as the State Forester for Idaho. He passed away January 8, 2006.
Norris R. “Lefty” Caryl worked on Soil Erosion Service Project 13 at Spencer, WV right after he graduated from the New York Ranger School.
Bradus B. Coffman (90) started his career in the CCCs. He retired as an Engineering Technician in June 1972. Mr. Coffman was killed in an auto accident on February 28, 2003 near Duncan, OK.
Calvin Coolidge worked for the Cs in Camp SCS14 at Henry, IL. He spent much of his SCS career as a Conservationist in northern Illinois.
Charlie Dickerson (89) started his career in the CCC as the youngest engineer in Randolf and Charlton Counties, Missouri. His SCS work spanned 40 years. He retired in 1970 as Area Engineer in Warrensburg, and passed away April 5, 2000.
Walter M. Fergerson (90) worked in the CCCs, and then became a Woodland Specialist with SCS in Portland, OR, retiring in 1968. He passed away February 12, 2000 in Indio, CA.
Adrian C. Fox (97) from Leeds, ND, was born January 28, 1905, and received BS and MS degrees from ND State University in the early 1930’s. He was first employed as the Grand Forks County extension Agent in the sugar beet acreage control program. On May 11, 1935, he joined the SCS as a biologist and forester at Huron, SD. A few months later he transferred to Park River, ND to work on the first soil and water demonstration project in ND. He was in charge of wildlife management. In June of 39, he moved to Mandan, ND and was in charge of wildlife and forestry for the ND CCC camps. He served in the U.S Navy from 1942 to 1945. After the war, he went to Lincoln, NE to work on Soil Conservation and Education Relations. The last 10 years of his career he worked in Washington, DC as head of the educational branch. He passed away July 11, 2002.
John “Hoot” Gibson (89) started his career in the CCCs. John retired as Assistant State Conservationist in Maryland during June 1974. He passed away January 4, 2004.
Otto E. Griessel (99) was born in Kansas City Aug. 10, 1910 attended the University of Missouri in Columbia during the depression, graduating in 1933 with a B.S. in engineering. He worked for several years with the CCC. After World War II started, he moved to Arlington, Virginia where he worked in federal procurement. Later he moved to Sioux City, Iowa and began working for SCS. He returned to Columbia, MO in 1955 to continue with the SCS as an engineering specialist on the state staff until retirement in 1973 with 40 years of government service. He was an avid Mizzou football fan and gardener. He joined our Lord May 12, 2010, and is survived by his wife of 73 years,
Grenfall Harms (95) started his career in the CCC camp at Spring Valley, MN. He retired from SCS as a Soil Scientist in December 1965, and then worked 12 years for the University of Minnesota. He passed away September 30, 2005.
Harold Hart worked for the CCCs in Camp SCS-14 at Henry, IL. He spent much of his SCS career as District Conservationist in Fulton County, IL.
Ned A. Hood (97) started his career with the CCC in Davidson County, NC. He started with SCS in 1935, and retired as the District Conservationist in Yadkinville, NC in 1971. Ned passed away January 19, 2008.
Raymond R. Irwin (91) grew up in North Plainfield, NJ and served in the CCCs. He later worked for SCS as a Soil Scientist in Illinois. He retired in 1968 and passed away July 31, 2004.
Sylvester H. Keller (94) retired in 1974 as a SCS District Engineer. He served in the CCC, and passed away in December 2002 while living in Winfield, KS.
Ralph O. Lewis (96) was in charge of the CCC camp in Parsons, AZ. His SCS career took him to Kansas, Lincoln, NE, and the National Office. He retired in March 1972. He also worked for the State Department where he spent several years in assignments to Asia. He passed away May 31, 2001 in Peoria, AZ.
Hampton “Hamp” Long worked for the Cs in Camp SCS-14 at Henry, IL. He spent much of his SCS career as Area Conservationist in Macomb, IL.
Frank Harris Lowery, Sr. spent 2 years on Cape Hatteras, NC in a CCC Camp, then enrolled in the U. of Georgia in 1937, receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Agricultural Economics. During World War II, he served in the Army Medical Corps in the European Theater. He spent 30 years with SCS, then worked 32 more years with Georgia’s S&W Conservation Commission, finally retiring at the age of 77. He passed away January 2, 2011.
Audie Lee Lundy, Sr. (92) of Marks, Mississippi, was a graduate of Mississippi State University, was a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and retired as an SCS district conservationist in 1983. He passed away December 12, 2008.
Ross H. Mellinger started at Project 13 in Spencer, WV in the summer of 1934. At the end of that summer, he was administratively attached to the CCC Camp at Billings in Roane County. This camp was occupied by World War I veterans. The next spring, there was expansion of the CCC camps under SCS and he was assigned as Camp Forester at Camp Rowan in Union County. That camp was moved to Hedgesville (Camp Fairfax). Before that camp was disbanded, he was transferred to Pt. Pleasant to set up a project in Mason County called the “Farm Forestry Project.” That project didn’t last long – along came World War II.
William Metcalf (92) began work as a forester in a CCC Camp. He spent 35 years working for SCS as a District Conservationist in Chautauqua and Orleans County, NY. He passed away May 26, 2009.
Keith F. Meyers (87) started with the CCCs. Keith served as State Conservationist in Kentucky and Nebraska and retired as Midwest NTC Director. He passed away June 29, 2006.
John H. “Jack” Myers worked on Project 13 at Spencer, WV in the early part of 1934. In the summer of 1935, he went to Camp Lewis in Greenbrier County, and then later to Monroe County.
Dan H. Norton (92) started his career in the CCCs in Georgia?. Dan was an Engineer, and passed away January 22, 2005.
Paul Nylander worked for the Cs in Alma and Tecumseh, NE, and retired from SCS as the National Design Engineer. He is 92 years old, and lives in Mechanicsburg, VA.
Robert A. Owen (99) of Mt. Airy, Georgia served in the CCC. Later he became a district conservationist and passed away September 16, 2012. He retired in 1971.
Louis A. Parton (85) served in the CCC, and later became a District Conservationist for SCS, retiring in 1973. He passed away January 15, 1998 in Bakersfield, CA.
William G. Patterson (91) served in the CCC, and later became a work unit conservationist with SCS. William was a forester by discipline, retiring in 1965. He passed away January 1, 1998 in Bishophill, SC.
Bernie D. Peterson (95) started as the first District Conservationist for Pierce County, WI following his days in the CCC. He retired in October 1969, and passed away October 27, 2004.
John T. Phelan worked for the Cs in Hebron, NE, and retired from SCS as the National Engineering Division Director. He now lives in Arlington, VA.
Julius J. Post (95) started his career in the CCC in 1935. Most of his SCS career was spent in Texas and Louisiana, and he retired as the Staff Economist on the Watershed Planning and River Basin Staff in July of 1970. Julius passed away March 2, 2008.
Richard E. Reinke (97) served in the CCC, and then worked for SCS as an Engineer retiring in 1967. He passed away March 7, 2005 in Bradenton, FL.
Edwin Sayler (87) served in the CCC, and later became an engineer with SCS, retiring in 1971. He passed away March 31. 1998 in El Cerrito, CA.
Gilbert A. Schultz (92) served in the Civilian Conservation Corp. Gil lived in Bloomington, MN, and passed away September 22, 2010.
Ralph Schwartz (97) started his career in the CCC days and served on the historic Dust Bowl Survey. Ralph was was a legendary conservationist and soil scientist in Texas. He retired from the SCS in 1965, but continued his “career” until 1992, serving as Executive Director of the Middle Clear Fork Soil and Water Conservation District. He was a graduate of Ohio State University. He also served in World War II as an administrative officer in the Army Air Corps. Ralph passed away February 21, 2004 in Abilene, Texas.
Elisha Cornelius Sease (93) of Newberry, SC served in the CCC. Elisha served in the Officers Reserve Corps in the 1930’s, and during World War II, he was a Captain in the 35th Infantry Regiment from July 1944 to December 1945. He was a Soil Scientist for SCS and retired in 1971. He passed away November 11, 2005.
M. W. (Bill) Shugart (89) began his career as a conservationist with the CCC camp in Franklinton, NC. He served as District Conservationist in the Halifax Field Office from 1939 until his retirement in 1969. He was an active cattle farmer after his retirement. He passed away December 14, 2002.
Joseph A. Steingraeber (87) graduated from high school in 1933 during the height of the Great Depression. Then he enlisted in the CCC where he worked to conserve natural resources in the upper peninsula of Michigan on the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. He passed away June 26, 2003.
Homer E. Stennett (90) a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, class of 1934, taught vocational agriculture for three years and in 1937, began working for SCS as a technician in the Civilian Conservation Corps. He served in the CCC camps for five years. For twenty years, Mr. Stennett was District Conservationist in Cattaraugus County, then held the same position in Chautauqua County. He served as RC&D Coordinator for Seneca Trail RC&D Area, and retired in 1975. After his retirement, Mr. Stennett was active in volunteer work with WCA Hospital for 16 years. He was a master gardener and a member of the board of directors of the Chautaqua Adult Day Care Center. He passed away August 6, 2001 in Jamestown, NY.
Forest “Frostie” Tallcott (95) began his career in the CCC, and then went on to a 32 year career as an engineer with SCS. He passed away July 6, 2008.
Harold F. Thatcher (94) started in the CCC camps in Wyoming. After a couple years with the Dept. of Interior in Colorado, he joined SCS in 1941 and retired as an agronomist. He missed a trip to the Olympics in 1928 because he could not get sponsors to cover his travel costs. One of his most valued possessions was his Olympic certificate signed by Douglas MacArthur. He passed away September 19, 2001 in Santa Fe, NM.
Ralph L. Turman (90) started his career in the CCCs at Mandan, ND. Ralph retired in 1972 as an engineer in ND, and passed away December 28, 2004.
Carl W. Walker (101) grew up in Farmington, NM, and graduated in 1932 from NM A&M with a degree in engineering. Carl served in the CCC, and then worked as an SCS Area Engineer in Yakima, WA for over 40 years. He passed away August 12, 2011.
Richard P. “Dick” Williams (91) worked for the CCC and Forest Service in MT before his 37 year SCS career in Steele and Linton, ND. After retirement, he returned to college and became the oldest student at that time to receive a Ph.D. from NDSU (64 years old). He passed away January 17, 2006 in Fargo, ND.
Paul E. Young (96) of Tiffin, Ohio, worked for the CCC, attended Ohio University and The Ohio State University. He served in World War II with the U.S. Army, 5th Armored Division, European Campaign, he obtained the rank of sergeant. He retired as a conservation technician with 40 years’ service from SCS. He attended Trinity United Church of Christ and joined our Lord June 19, 2010.
Robert L Donahue Syracuse, NY
Louis B Earle Wichita, KS
Willie J Frederick Denver, CO
Raymond R Irwin N Plainfield, NJ
Louis A Parton Orangevale, CA
Wm G Patterson Bishophill, SC
Rudy J Pederson San Angelo, TX
Links to other CCC web sites and reference materials:
The CCC in Florida – Highlands State Park in Sebring contains a CCC museum.
- MI CCC museum in North Higgins Lake State Park about 100 miles north of Lansing. Open during the summer. Phone number is (517) 373-3559.
- NY CCC museum located at Letchworth State Park in Castile, NY. Phone number is (585) 493-2760.
- NY CCC museum located at Gilbert Lake State Park in Laurens, NY.
- VA CCC museum located in Pocahontas State Park which is about 15 miles Southwest of Richmond.
- WV CCC museum located about 45 miles south of Morgantown along Interstate Highway 79 near exit 115. It is housed in the old Quiet Dell school building.
- WV CCC museum in Watoga State Park which is located in southern WV near the Virginia border.
Books and DVDs
- Four books by Raymond Daugherty from Camp Hardy, WV. To purchase contact Lost River State Park, WV.
- Three books by Peggy Sanders with lots of pictures of the CCC in South Dakota at peggysanders.com
- A DVD about Coon Creek Watershed in WI by NRCS and Extension Service.
A DVD about the CCC in WV by Robert C. Wetsell (304) 637-5806.
903 CCC camps were supervised by the Soil Conservation Service, as shown on the map and detailed table listing at the following link: CCC Camps supervised by SCS.
Map and camp information provided by J. Douglas Helms, Senior Historian, USDA-NRCS
Map plotted by Paul Reich, Geographer, Soil Survey Division, USDA-NRCS