Civilian Conservation Corps – Linden CCC Camp 1814

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), proposed by President Franklin Roosevelt, operated nationwide between 1933 and 1942. It provided outdoor employment for 2.5 million young men working out of nearly 3,000 camps. The camps of 200 men each were supervised by the United States Army and the work projects by the departments of Agriculture and Interior, in cooperation with the state. At individual camps the CCC hired LEMs (“locally experienced men”) to work as craftsmen and teachers, and professional architects and engineers to provide design assistance and construction supervision to enrollees. To be an enrollee, a young man was required to be seventeen to twenty-five years of age and from a family on relief. At its peak in Texas the CCC operated camps with a capacity of 19,200 men. Assignment to states was random, so workers in Texas came from all over the country.  (Texas Historical Commission)

(Photo by Erin Mitchell)

The origin of the CCC Camp 1814 in Linden dates to 1937.  On October 14, 1939 the camp was transferred to Arizona with its headquarters in Linden being abandoned.

County Judge Sam L. Henderson wrote of his high regard for the CCC Camp in a history that appeared in the Cass County Sun.

“Its major objectives were to give jobs to hundreds of thousands of discouraged and undernourished young men, idle through no fault of their own.”

“Since being in Linden, the CCC Company 1814 has made remarkable progress in every department.  The camp grounds have been landscaped and beautiful flowers and grass are now flourishing on what used to be a common sand hill.  The camp buildings have been built with beautiful pine lumber.  Since the inception of this company, over 1,500 men have gone through its ranks, the majority leaving camp with specialized vocational training.”

The Linden Heritage Foundation asks for your help in telling your story of anyone in your family who served in the Linden CCC Camp 1814.

For example, my cousin, Pennie McKeller, relates the following:

Eugene (Jeep) McKeller – middle row – coveralls & hat (Photo Courtesy of Pennie McKeller)

“My father, Eugene (Jeep) McKeller, a native of Waco, was employed in the camp as a project assistant.  My mother (Johnie Lewis Lovelace) met my father in 1939. The boys were just outside Linden where they were repairing roads.  On Saturday night there was a dance at the camp.  Girls from Linden attended the dances. I remember mother telling me she didn’t wear high heels to the dances because she was taller than most of the boys including my father! They began a courtship and married in 1939.   Dad was deployed to the Navy during WWII and mother worked at the ammunition plant in Texarkana.  After the war dad began his garage work in Linden and they started a family.  Paul Stephen was born in September of 1946.  Susan came along shortly after but died in June of 1957.  I was born in 1958.  By the time I reached the age of 9 or 10, I was going to Groveton, Texas for CCC reunions.  I played the piano for entertainment, mainly church hymns. Jimmy Dickie played the guitar and sang.  We ate and prayed together for the health and safety of all the guys who lived through the war.  It was there I saw my first movie – Bonnie and Clyde!  I continued going to the reunions until age 16.  Dad continued to go and kept up with all the guys.  As they got older and passed away the reunions were few and farther between.  Those men meant so much to him. He loved Linden and felt fortunate to be accepted by the Lovelace family.”   

We know men like Jeep were transferred to the camp from all over the country.  Many stayed, married, raised their kids and contributed to the historical fabric of our community.

If members of your family met at the Camp, post your comments in response to this article on the Website. If you have photos paste them on the Linden Heritage Foundation Facebook page under this article with identifying information.





“A Beautiful Lady Fit for a King” by Barbara Teachey

One of my friends once said to me–”It’s as if you had already been there before”.  She was referring to Linden. According to my recent AncestryDNA results, there are indications that my ancestors traveled from Virginia, across Tennessee, and into Northeast Texas in the 1800s.

In the early 1970’s, when Eagles music first hit the airwaves, I was living on a street named Linden Avenue in Richmond VA. Approximately 40 years later, in September 2014, I found myself in Boston as the surprised winner of Don Henley’s Walden Woods Sweepstakes. I had become quite a fan of his music over the years and had much admiration for his environmental dedication, so I was elated to be able to attend this special event.

(L to R) Barbara Teachey, Richmond, VA; Carol Turner, Cambridge UK; Margie Iverson and husband, Dave, in rear from Baton Rouge LA; Therese Earl, Essex UK.

One year later, I was invited on a trip to Texas by friends that I had met through an unofficial Don Henley fan group on Facebook. It sounded like a fun adventure, and I’d get to finally meet my British friends and visit Don’s hometown with them, so I jumped at the chance!  We stretched our 10 days of travel throughout East Texas–Dallas, Jefferson, Caddo Lake, and finally on to Linden.

The first thing I noticed was how welcoming everyone was upon our arrival. We were treated to a guided tour of the town and then invited to attend a pep rally and football game (a new experience for my friends) at Linden-Kildare, Don’s high school alma mater. On our final night in town, we enjoyed a pre-planned JD Souther show at the beautiful Music City Texas Theater.

On our flights back to our homes, we were overwhelmed by our unforgettable trip–seeing where our favorite musician had grown up and had his start, becoming acquainted with some of his childhood friends, and establishing special friendships that would ultimately last a lifetime. Sadly, my very first Linden friend has since passed. I think I left my heart behind the day I left Linden and never imagined, at the time, that I would ever see “her” (Linden) again.

Not long after our trip was over, a quartet of Linden natives decided it was time to come together for the good of their town and work on preserving the culture, the history, and the architecture; thus, the formation of the Linden Heritage Foundation. After the new year began in 2016, I received a call from one of the founding members asking if I would accept a nomination to the board.  To this day, I’m still not sure how it came about, and I’ll have to admit I was a little apprehensive at first. This would be a new and unfamiliar endeavor for me, but one I felt I couldn’t possibly turn down. So I agreed and was elected on January 23, 2016. I’ve since come to the realization that it was one of the best days of my life!

I think back to the first time I saw Linden–she was looking a little breathless and “undressed”.  She already had several really nice pieces of jewelry, but there were some that were pretty tarnished and needed a good cleaning and freshening up. The eye-catcher, of course, was that beautiful crown (the courthouse) that was already in place and sitting at the center of everything.

Her emotions, I believe, have always been there within her townspeople. The Foundation board members have been working diligently to get the ball rolling. With everyone’s help, I’m betting we can get her ready for more visitors so that she can flourish once again.  It’s already begun with the beautiful new “accents” that have recently been added.

I’ve been back many times since my first visit; Linden has become my home away from home.  I’ll keep returning to visit my ”family”, and I plan to stay with the Foundation to participate in the preservation activities for as long as I’m able and they’ll have me. This is the best way I know to pay homage to those who were there before me and to the person who has touched my life with his music and in so many other ways.

There is still much more work to be done–dusting and polishing and restoring of the good parts, then a little CPR, some dressing up, and finally adding some jewels here and there so that she looks her best–the top of the line of Small Town America.  In the end, she’ll be a beautiful lady fit for a King.

Reminder of Annual Meeting of the Membership Scheduled for 20th January 2018

The Annual Meeting of the Membership of the Linden Heritage Foundation will be held on Saturday, 20 January 2018, at the Linden Garden Club (300 E Houston St) starting at 2 pm.  All members are encouraged to attend and exercise their right to vote for 2018 Board of Directors.

The Agenda for the meeting includes:

  1. Welcome – Joe Lovelace, President
  2. Introduction of Nominating Committee Members – Joe Lovelace
  3. Nominating Committee submits Slate of Directors for election
  4. Explanation of voting process, tabulate vote, and announce results
  5. Review of Foundation financial statement
  6. Review of past and current activities
  7. Questions and Comments
  8. Presentation by Allie Anderson – Linden Main Street Director – “Our Past & Future”
  9. Refreshments & Visitation

The Board of Directors will meet following the Business Meeting to discuss:

  1. Election of Officers
  2. Goals for 2018
  3. Setting of Meeting Calendar – 2018

1934 Water Tower Christmas Ornament

Remember the 1934 water tower decorated with Christmas lights when you were growing up in Linden?  Then, Don Henley featured it in promo photos and on the cover of his “Cass County” album and made it iconic.

Now you can have a little piece of history for the holidays with a Linden water tower ornament for your Christmas tree.

Available in the following stores for $20 or by mail $25 (check, money order or cashier’s check only).

Carla Surratt                                                   Jo Anna Duncan

Carla’s Flowers & Gifts                                 Cass County’s Front Porch

P.O. Box 291                                                      P. O. Box 269

116 S. Main St.                                                 105 North Main Street

Linden, Texas 75563                                     Linden, Texas 75563

903-756-8017                                                  903/733-5915