Last Updated: 06/05/04
                        H.G. Turner
                        Civilian Conservation Corps

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  The depression caused a lot of rough times for us. My brother Donnie was hired out on a farm for $15.00 a month, room and board. I went to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Plattville, WI. I'd had enough of milking cows, plowing corn, making hay, and having horses fart in my face day after day. The CCC paid me $30.00 a month. I kept $8.00 a month for myself and the other $22.00 went home to mom, which she always gave back to me.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was put into place in 1933 as one of President Roosevelt’s new deal programs to help put American men back to work. It was designed to reduce unemployment for young men like me, and help preserve the country's natural resources.

4 turner children I was fortunate to get into the CCC Camp since you were required to be at least 18 -- I was just 16 years old. In those days no one ever asked for proof of anything. Your word was good enough. I'm sure the officers of the camp knew I was under age, but I wasn't the only one.

My first three months were very difficult. Work consisted of working in the fields, building fences, cutting wood, fixing ditches, and changing streams to prevent flooding and soil erosion. After these three months had past, I was assigned camp ground duty which consisted of cutting grass, planting and taking care of flowers, and repairing and replacing any thing that might be needed around the camp. It was all hard work, but fulfilling work. I had it made!

Our gang leaders were tough men. They disciplined us as if we were in the military. If you got out of line or talked back to one of the gang leaders you got your ass kicked, and that was the end of it. For entertainment we often boxed, and it wasn’t optional. Our gang leaders would match us up by size and weight and strap on the boxing gloves. Once the gloves were on you had to fight. We fought three, two minute rounds. It was more like a tough man contest than boxing.

The daily routine was pretty consistent. We were up at five a.m., did calisthenics each morning, cleaned ourselves up, and had breakfast. Then it was off to whatever job site they had planned for that day. When the day was over, lights were out at 10:00 p.m. Once the lights went out there was NO talking. We stayed in barracks that were very much like the military.

Many young boys came into the CCC with a chip on their shoulders, but they left as young mature men -- I became one of those young men.


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