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.

 

 

 

 

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