Friday, November 11, 2011

11 November 1934: Report from the Athens CCC Camp

On this day, the Athens Banner-Herald published updates from the Civilian Conservation Corp Camp Company 485,  located in Athens at Sandy Creek.  Included was a list of the young men stationed at the camp and their nicknames. 

Alas, the microfilm cut off the last several letters of their nicknames, but this is the list as it appears, with the partial nicknames, some of which are easy guesses, some are lost to time:

Crawford ... Pun-
Linton ... Smokey J-
Patterson ... Uncle B-
Love ... Ju-
Lowry ... Wild C-
Nalley ... To-
Parker ... Possu-
Reynolds ... Preach-
Barton ... Bro-
Benton ... Diz-
Boswell ... Thirty-Fi-
Buggs ... D-
Champion ... Cha-
Cole ... Monkey Ma-
Culbertson ... Salty D-
Free ... Bal-
Foster ... Handso-
Gilbert ... Sli-
Harrison ... Chick-
Head ... Knock O-
Hunt ... Sha-
Jarrrard ... Fess-
Jones, Evans ... Pecker Fa-
Jones, J. C. ... Big-
Jones, R. B. ... Ninety-S-
Jordan ... Flat Fo-
Mann ... Pu-
Motes ... Whistle Britch-
McFails ... Speed-
McKeehan ... Wi-
Padgett ... P-
Potts ... R-
Queen ... Ridge Runn-
Rainey ... Hard Ro-
Ray, S. F. ... Ba-
Reagin ... Pe-
Rider ... Bu-
Sumake, Sam ... Shor-
Spruill ... Evoluti-
Strickland, Hoyt ... Crick-
Tipton ... Pie Fa-
Washington ... Georg-
Wiley, Hamp ... Pecker Ne-
Wiley, J. T. ... Fa-
Williams, R. B. ... Soldi-

In 1933, it was estimated that 25% of American men aged 15-24 were unemployed, and another 29% of men in that age range had only part-time employment.  At the same time, the United States had lost 700,000,000 acres of virgin timberlands, causing massive soil erosion, causing 3,000,000,000 tons of soil to be washed away every year. President Franklin Roosevelt believed he could remedy both problems with the Emergency Conservation Work Act that created the CCC. It passed within President Roosevelt's first month in office.

Most men who enlisted were between the ages of 17 and 28, single, and could enlist for up to four six-month terms. They were paid a maximum of $30 per month, with $25 of that check sent home to their dependents. They were given physicals and health care upon their arrival at the camp, and also received work clothes, room, board, and education opportunities. 

Each camp had an Education Advisor to assist those who wanted to take lessons in everything from basic literacy to college-level work, and vocational education was offered through the camp work itself or from businesses in the neighboring towns. The program was successful not just in putting money back into the local economies of the men's hometowns and the towns around the camps, but an estimated 40,000 men also learned to read and write while enlisted.

In Georgia, the camps offered employment to 78,630 men. They also built parks still enjoyed by Georgians today, including Indian Springs State Park in Flovilla, F.D.Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain, Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth, A. H. Stevens Historic Park in Crawfordville, Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge in Helena, and Vogel State Park in Blairsville.

Until the program was absorbed into the War Department in 1942, 3.5 million unmarried men and 225,000 World War I veterans served the corps. They built fire roads, installed telephone lines, built parks, and planted over 3,000,000,000 trees across the country. 

The National Association of Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni is currently raising funds to put a statue honoring the work of CCC in every state. In Georgia, the statue is located at FDR State Park in Pine Mountain, where they are offering hayrides the evenings of November 18th and 19th.

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1 comment:

  1. Sounds like some of those nicknames are better off "lost to time"...