Grampa and the CCCs

“Our greatest task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our national resources.”
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, 4 March 1933

Franklin Roosevelt at CCC  Camp, Shenandoah National Park, 1933

From the spring of 1939 to the summer of 1941, at the age of 20, my grandfather, Pierre Conner, was in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCCs), working in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The CCCs were part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (FDR) New Deal. The most popular of all New Deal programs. The CCCs provided jobs to conserve and develop natural resources in rural government lands. The CCCs began in 1933 and ended in 1942, providing nearly 3 million unemployed men, age 18 to 25, with $30 a month ($25 went to their parents).

Two weekends ago, I got a bug up my you-know-what and had to know more about Grampa and the CCCs. Here is the result of that Butt Bug:

My Grampa and the CCCs.

It was fun to pick Grampa's brain, write up the information, and then send it to him along with a book that I found, titled, "Civilian Conservation Corps: In and Around the Black Hills," by Peggy Sanders. There is a Thanksgiving menu in the book that lists Grampa and his best friend, Harry, who my dad is named for.
July 22, 1971

My Dear Debbie

Today you are four years old. What a happy day it must be for you. I will miss being with you for this birthday, the first one I have missed by it is probably the beginning of many I will miss. But I will think of you on your day.

Honey, I will always remember when I lived with you and how you "took care of me" for Grandpa. Remember you always got me my stool- sat in my chair with me and watched our programs. How we always took a nap together and when I called Grnadpa you always said- "Grandma just tell him the good things". Honey, all I knew were good things to tell him about you.

Now you are a big girl - 4 years old. You are growing up so fast pretty soon maybe you can get on an airplane alone and come and take care of me some more.

I love you very much and hope y our birthday is happy. I miss you too.

Be a good girl.