Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Civilian Conservation Corps-1938

As we watch the American Economy spiral downward towards a 1930-style Depression, I have at times asked those in the know, what things were like in rural Ohio back in that time...not the BS they teach you in College and University Classes, but what it was really like from those that lived ancestors. There are not a lot of those left. Mom is still in good mind and spirits at 84, but for the most part the others have passed on.

Mom lived on the east coast, in Wilmington, Delaware, during the Depression....and has told us family stories from that time. Dad lived in Scott, Ohio, not far from here, and those stories are gone...except for a few letters and family post cards I have in my possession.

Stan Houseworth was born in Scott, during the last month of 1917....his father Sam had passed away by the time the Great Depression struck, and dad was raised by his mother Wilda, with help from a couple older sisters....he also had two older brothers. The old man joined the Army Air Corps in 1941, and served his country during WW2 as a mechanic...he lucked out and spent the entire war on home turf....he did manage to lose parts of a couple of of fingers on his right hand while at Lowry Field near Denver, while working on a train hitch, the two cars closed, and his fingers didn't get out in time....something he would get a small pension for later after his discharge. He also was stationed at New Castle, Delaware, where he met mom, and finally at Mather Field in northern California.

Before he joined the military for the war, he was part of another corps. The one installed by FDR to put young men without jobs and too young for military service to work. The Civilian Conservation Corps. Franklin Roosevelt created the corps 75 years ago during his first year as President. It would remain until the war was in full mode in 1942. The CCC was created to put thousands of young men, without jobs, to work helping protect and refusbish environmental concerns, mostly in the western US. It's legacy lives today:

Dad joined the CCC at Fort Knox, Kentucky, on January 16, 1938. He worked but a few short months, until April 18, 1938...leaving to accept work, back home...or at least that's what his discharge papers say{photos above and right}. Now, I know he didn't join the Army Air Force until late 1941 at the onset of the what he went back to Scott to do, I will never know.

He spent his entire tour of duty at Camp -BR 27 working with Company 538 near Rupert, Idaho. His pay was $1.50 a day...he was "mustered" another buck fifty that was sent on to Scott ahead of him.

I had heard him talk about his time in Idaho before he passed away in 1972....and from what I remember, he enjoyed the chance to work outdoors...his discharge said he was 'satisfactory' at his job, which was laying rip-rap. His barracks at Lake Minidoka, Idaho, ended up being a prisoner detention camp from 1942-1946.

I wonder if our new "Messiah" Barack Hussain Obama will come forth with similar schemes to put youngsters to work when our new Depression strikes? Time will tell I guess....I wonder also, if today's youth will be able to actually do physical labor....I seriously have my doubts about most of them.
back later>>>>>>>>
photos-Company 538 Rupert and Lake Minidoka, Idaho. Front and back of dad's CCC discharge.


Sarge Charlie said...

This is creepy, I have a post which touched on my father and the CCC. Not the the extent that you did but we were going to the same ending, BHO.

Deborah Wilson said...

A nice piece of history here, Pat.

The depression - my Pop, who grew up in Alabama, told me that he had to quit school at a very young age and find work. He said he kept enough $ each week to pay for his tobacco and gave the rest to his parents to help buy groceries for the younger children still living at home. He never kept back $ for himself to eat on - either it was offered, he ate at soup kitchens, or he didn't eat at all. The effects of malnutrition during that period followed him for the rest of his life - and I believe is the reason he stockpiled food. His depression era reality was very little $, very little food.

pat houseworth said...

Interesting Deb...My Aunts(Dad's sisters) also "pack ratted" food and supplies...all of their lives. Since they didn't have children, when the last of the 2 died, me being..closes..was estate director. They had tons of food and goods, covering 2 of the 3 bedrooms in their upstairs. They would have never starved, or gotten cold if the utilities had went out for an extended period.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

I've heard all my life from my folks and their generation, in stead of welfare they should set up the old CCC again.

Sorry I haven't been around much dude. Busy as shit. No excuse though.

Cookie..... said...

Like I said Pat, check out that movie "Kitt Kitteridge" if you get a chance. It's new on "Pay Per View". It's about the Great depression, Hobo's, hard times, and some referrances to the CCC.

I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Mushy said...

I had two step-dads that were part of the CCC...the best thing to come out of the depression years was the great national/state parks we all enjoy.

You can still see the work around here in the Smoky Mtns. and at Frozen Head State Park near here.

Maybe something good will come from this one!

Trish said...

I saw some of those great CCC works on a trip to the Portland area this fall. The Columbia River Gorge in particular. How amazing were the beautiful stone walkways and bridges they built. It's funny you brought this up, after learning so much about it on my trip!

My Mom was born in 1917, but has passed on. She was in the St. Louis area during this time period. She used to tell me stories about the tent cities, and how even though they had very little to spare, they went each Sunday and dropped off food or clothing to these poor people.
Her father was an editor of a newspaper in St Louis who had to let him go eventually. Markets were horrible so they sold their house to a realtor for just enough money to pay for a truck to move their belongings and their drive with 5 children, to Philadelphia, where Grandpa had been able to land a job with the then Evening Record.

Hey- off topic- but I was born in Ohio, and lived there for my first 3 years. Cuyahoga Fall. Small world after all?