Early Settlers of
John Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Perhaps some of you reading this column served in the CCCs, the Civilian Conservation Corps. Or perhaps you had a father, uncle, cousin or brother who worked in “FDR’s Tree Army” as this organization was called.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was born out of hard times in our country. The stock market crash occurred in October, 1929. The Great Economic Depression set in, and jobs were hard to come by.
When Franklin Delano Roosevelt became
a Democratic candidate for president in 1932, he campaigned on the
restoring our country “to its former beauty,” providing jobs for young
taking measures that would conserve
The plan was to enlist men between the
ages of 18 and 25, at first 250,000 strong, to “preserve the natural
What was life like in the Civilian
Conservation Corps? First, each young
man inducted was guaranteed a salary of $30.00 per month.
This does not sound like much money now, but in
a period of deep depression when cash was scarce, a regular salary was
God-send. Of the $30.00, each enlistee
was required to send $25.00 home to wife or parents or guardians to
with finances. The
Reforestation was one of the major
tasks of “FDR’s Tree Army,” and became the job from which the Corps
its nickname. Large timber companies had
moved in previously with sawmills and riddled the virgin forests in
where trees once grew in abundance. The
camps throughout the area that is now the
Fire prevention was another of the
conservation projects, with fire towers built at strategic locations to
a watch for conflagration that could easily destroy acres of timberland. The first tower at
Building roads was another major task. Automobiles were becoming a little more common as the economic depression lifted. But roads in many areas were little more than buggy or wagon routes. Crews graded and paved roads, making them more accessible to automotive travel.
Building dams on streams to help
control flood damage was a major project.
In certain areas where hydro-electric power was to be generated,
dams proved invaluable to future economic conditions and in providing
electricity. The dam at
Camps to house the recruits to the
Those who remember their days at the
For the hard years of the 1930s, it was as good a way of life as some young men could find. Their needs were provided, including clothing, shelter, food, education, transportation and religious services. Each camp had a chaplain, and, unlike today when a great hue and cry arises about the mention of God in government functions, the men could attend regular religious services if they chose to do so.
Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, writing later about some of her husband’s accomplishments as president, stated: “I realize that the one project in which my husband took the greatest pleasure was the establishment of the three Cs.”
More than seven decades have passed
c2004 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Apr. 29, 2004 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Updated September 26, 2009
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