Saturday, February 06, 2016

More on CCC Camp Chariton


Yesterday's post was about CCC Camp Chariton, located in east Chariton from 1933 until 1941, home base for the New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps corpsmen who built Red Haw State Park and developed thousands of acres of what now is Stephens State Forest. Now, thanks to Melody Wilson, here's more.

Melody discovered an outfit called Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy while researching her dad's service in a New York state unit, and shared this link to its Web site in case you are interested in discovering more about the Corps.

One of the links on this Web site is to a PDF version of the 1937 yearbook of Company 2715, which occupied Camp Chariton from the summer of 1934 until it closed. (Camp Chariton opened in May of 1933 as Iowa's fourth CCC encampment, but the camp was not winterized so it closed late that fall and didn't reopen until April of 1933. Company 2715 moved in during August and built the permanent camp.)

Most of this slim volume's pages contain generic history of the Civilian Conservation Corps, but I've lifted four pages that contain a history --- up to 1937 --- of Company 2715 as well as photos of Chariton-based corpsmen who were serving at the time the yearbook was prepared for publication, including my uncle, Richard Miller.

I understand there also is a copy of this volume in the genealogy room of the Chariton Free Public Library, but I couldn't locate in Friday when I stopped in to take a look.

Here's a transcription of the unit history:

"The organization of Company 2715, CCC, was begun at Indianola, Iowa, July 1, 1934, and at the completion of the enrollment period July 12, 1934, the company strength totaled 229 enrollees. Conditioning of the enrollees began immediately and lasted until August 3, 1937. Lt. Marion G. Ferguson was the first company commander, ably assisted by Lt. Gorton, as junior officer, and E.R. Crandle, as camp surgeon.

On August 3, 1934, and continuing until August 4, 1934, the company moved from Indianola, Iowa, and to the new camp site at Chariton, Iowa. Upon arrival at the new camp site the construction of supply, headquarters and hospital tents were immediately completed. By nightfall of August 4, 1934, the entire command were comfortably housed in tents.

Under the competent guidance of Lt. Ferguson and Lt. Gorton the enrollees went to work to make a beautiful camp site out of a proverbial Sand Pile which by popular acclaim was nicknamed Camp Dizzy.

The entire company of men remained in camp for the first two weeks after their arrival at Chariton. With quarters constructed and grounds beautified moderately the company was then turned over to the DPE service to begin the work project. A.V. Wiggins was the first project superintendent, and assisting him were Foremen O'Harron, Lake and Leathers.

By September 24, 1934, the entire command was housed in permanent barracks buildings only slightly adjacent from the old tent camp and the new task of cleaning, policing and area beautification was immediately instigated.

No change in army personnel was affected until January 11, 1935, at which time Lt. Crandle was transferred to Indianola and Lt. D.G. Kelling transferred to this organization as camp surgeon. He departed this station July 4, 1935, and was replaced by Lt. Groen, who departed this station March 21, 1936, being replaced by Lt. Van Matre April 12, 1936, who in turn departed November 1, 1936, being replaced by Dr. Adams, contract surgeon, who resigned June 23, 1937. At present this organization's health is being administered by Dr. Pfeiffer of Leon, Iowa.

Lt. Ferguson remained in command until June 1, 1935, when he was transferred and Lt. Gorton competently took charge of the Chariton company.

Early in 1936 this company became Camp SCS-19, under the direction of Mr. J.B. Tracy as camp superintendent with the chief type of work being soil base maps and surveying, 29,565 acres; fencing, 3,564 rods; timber improvement, 73 acres; lime production, 2,828 tons; pasture demonstration, 79 acres; bank sloping, 30,016 square yards; permanent dams, 20; temporary dams, 40; seeding and sodding, 391,445 square yards; tree planting, 261,944 square yards; diversion ditches, 4,417 linear feet; terracing, 5.8 miles; bird feeding, 102 shelters; and many other types of work.

On July 1, 1937, this company became a forestry camp, S-104, and as such is now engaged in lake construction, timber improvement, etc. This endeavor is under the direct supervision of R.B. Campbell, camp superintendent.

Junior officers who have served as members of the command are: Lt. Swisher, 2nd Lt. FA-Res., May 17, 1935, until October 16, 1935; Lt. Warner, 2nd Lt. Cav-Res., November 20, 1935, March, 1936; Lt. Peterman, 2nd Lt. Inf-Res., May, 1936, to July, 1937.

With the inauguration of the educational department in the CCC Mr. L.C. Taylor was assigned as the first educational adviser Nov. 5, 1935. On August 16, 1936, Mr. Taylor was succeeded by Mr. C.R. Powell, who has continued since in that capacity.

The educational program maintains an average of 25 to 30 subjects and every member of the command is engaged in two or more educational activities.

The official personnel of the company at the present is Lt. Donald G. Gorton, commanding officer; Lieutenant D.S. Hull, executive officer; Lt. Pfeiffer, camp surgeon; C.R. Powell, camp educational adviser; and R.B. Campbell, camp superintendent.





A question was asked yesterday about the location of CCC records --- apparently enrollment records are in custody of the National Archives and Records Administration, St. Louis branch. Here's a link to the CCC Legacy page that contains links for use by those interested in further research.

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