Ellis County TXGenWeb

History of Waxahachie CCC Camp

[Source: article by U. G. Knight, Waxahachie Daily Light March 20, 1940]

Contributed by Jean Caddel

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)  was established during the depression in 1933 to provide constructive, helpful outdoor work for unemployed young men. The Camp in Waxahachie was located on Hwy 1446, where it crosses I-35 and the concrete flag pole base is still lying on the southeast corner.  Company 878 CCC, now located in Waxahachie, Texas, was first assembled and organized at Fort Sam Houston, Texas May 27, 1933. The charter members were conditioned at Camp Bullis until June 19, 1933, at which time the Company departed for its new home at Clifton, Texas. There it was under the command of Captain C. G. Hanna, 9th Inf and was known as S:P-11-T, work being under the direction of the State Park Service. A beautiful park was constructed on the Bosque River which will be lasting evidence of the good work done. On January 3, 1934, the Company moved to Belton, Texas, under the command of Captain R. L. Erwin, Cav-Res. They settled down as PE-76-T and began work in soil conservation. During the eighteen-month stay there it was commanded successively by Capt. C. G. Smith, Inf-Res, Capt. C. M. O'Brian, Inf. Res., and Capt. E. D. Rattray, Fa-Res. While working near Belton, many miles of terraces were run and 1500 concrete and rock check dams were built which control the drainage of more than 9,000 acres of land in Bell County.

On July 15, 1935, the Company was moved to Waxahachie, its present location , under the command of Lt. A. J. Rich USNR. It became known as Camp SCS-37-T and continued its work in soil conservation.

Since its arrival at Waxahachie, the Company has been under the command of Lt. Thomas P. Jackson (who replaced Lt. Rich), Capt. John S. Bloodworth, Jr., Inf-Res., Capt. M. R. Kunitz, Sig-Res and Mr. Robert W. Evans CCC Company Commander, the present Commanding Officer.. Junior Officers have been: Lt. C. W. Mainer, Lt. Hines, Inf-Res, Lt. M. B. Montgomery, Lt. C. W. Smith VMCR, Lt. Richard E. Arnold, WM-Res., and Mr. C. V. H. Harvey, CCC Subaltern, currently stationed at this company.

The Camp now has a well equipped recreational hall with comfortable chairs, a pool table, ping-pong table, dominoes, radio, and other equipment for entertainment and recreation. The Camp Library, or Reading Room,  is one of the beauty spots of the area.  It has been walled and ceiled with ply board and finished in light varnish.  Bookcases for the various permanent and traveling libraries have recently been built, the arrangement being both practical and also an attractive bit of workmanship - all labor being done by enrollee carpenters.  The Reading Room is attractively furnished with chrome steel and other comfortable furniture, giving the enrollees an inviting and ideal environment to enjoy the many interesting volumes, magazines and  newspapers which may be found there.

The Educational Program is now under the direction of Mr. U. G. Knight, Camp Educational Advisor, who has been with this Company since 1936.  Educational activities have come to be [a] most important part of the average enrollee's camp life, and  a varied group of courses are made available.  Instructors have been supplied by the Army Personnel, technical Staff, WPD and enrollees.  The camp program currently offers courses in Typing, Current History, Woodworking, Spelling, Reading, Arithmetic, Photography, First Aid, Leadership, Safety Driving, Basic Soil Conservation, Music, Orchestra [rest of sentence missing]

A highlight in the Educational Program is the proximity of Trinity University, also located in Waxahachie.  This institution has for the past several years presented scholarships to a few selected enrollees of Company 878, and thus made possible advance college training to the boys in scholarship. Approximately fifty members have attended Trinity University.  This year, Joe Scott will receive his degree, and two other boys who began their college careers while members of Co. 878 CCC, will also receive degrees - Ross Miles (from Trinity University) and George Erck (from Baylor University).

.[First part of sentence missing]  319 miles of new fences have been constructed, 4, 166 acres of pastures have been sodded, 17,007 acres of land have been strip cropped, 3,025 acres have been terraced and contour cultivation has been put in practice on 17,651 acres.  Current work projects are under the direction of H. S. Schieffer, Camp Superintendent and T. N. Winn, Camp Conservationist.  One of the major objectives of the CCC has been making its members more employable when they leave the CCC.  Company 878 is proud to point out a few of the many who have attained this end.

Wilton Collier finished the Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas after leaving camp, won a trip to Europe for his outstanding agricultural work, and is now a surveyor with the Soil Conservation Service.  W. O. Howard is now a foreman for the Soil Conservation Service at this camp.  Euell Burns is employed as operator of dredging machinery in the Houston Ship Channel at Houston.  Ira Redden is a foreman in construction work.  Clarence Marlar works in the office of a large oil company.  John McGregor is a foreman on a project at Mineral Wells, Texas.  John Joiner is currently employed by the Census Bureau.

Many others have left Co. 878 in the past few years to better themselves by returning to work in civilian life - being better qualified as workers and as citizens.

We believe that Co. 878 offers typical examples of the many benefits derived from the CCC Camps throughout the nation. The Camps are valuable assets to the areas in which they are located in that [they] offer much needed training to deserving youth and accomplish work projects of lasting benefits to the resources of the communities.

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