Sunday, June 9, 2019

Irving Gillis and Marion Lee Hitchens Join the CCC 1934

Irving Gillis and Marion Lee Hitchens have joined the CCC Camp at Lewes  

 Milford Chronicle Friday October 5, 1934 DELMAR News

The above is perhaps the only newspaper article that mentions Delmar boys joining the Civilian Conservation Corps.  This was perhaps due to one of the requirements for joining the CCC, which was your family had to be eligible for relief (welfare).  Even poverty has a certain pride and you didn’t need to broadcast it to the world. Irving C Gillis was the son of Josiah and Clara Hitchens Gillis.  Marion Lee Hitchens was the son of Marion Columbus Hitchens and Carrie Lee Elliott Hitchens. Irving and Marion were 1934 graduates of Delmar High school. 

On April 5 1933 the Civilian Conservation Corps was created by executive order 6101. It allowed a number of people who were unemployed and probably would not be employed to hold a job. It allowed all unmarried, unemployed male citizens between the ages of 17 and 28 to be eligible to apply for work as junior enrollees, with the stipulation that a substantial portion ( $25) of each man's basic $30 monthly allowance would be sent home to his dependent family.  They joined for four months at a time with a maximum of four enlistments.  The idea was they would be trained to find a civilian job once they left the CCC.

In addition to their cash stipend for the five-day workweek, the young men received three full meals a day, lodging, clothes, footwear, inoculations and other medical and dental care, and, at their option, vocational, academic, or recreational instruction.  Receiving three full meals a day combined with the hard physical work would mean the average recruit gained 15 pounds in the first three months. 

Delaware was the last state to get a CCC camp.  It was due to the purchase of 1000 acres for the Redden State Forest that cleared the way for a CCC Camp.
above Wyoming Delaware CCC camp digging ditch, from the Delaware Archives.  

In Sussex County, Delaware there were camps at Lewes, Slaughter Beach, Redden, and Georgetown. In Eastern Sussex county most of the work was aimed at mosquito control. In Western Sussex County they worked in the forest, clearing trails building fire towers etc. They also did a lot of work with the mill dams in the area. Trap Pond was washed out and the CCC rebuilt it.  On the Eastern Shore of Maryland again the camps worked on mosquito control and forestry, mostly along the Pocomoke River.  There were camps at Pocomoke, Public Landing, Snow Hill, Powellville and Berlin.  The camps usually held about 200 men.

above the Lewes CCC Camp photo from the Delaware archives 

above George Sinex at Georgetown Camp in March 1939

above working at CCC Georgetown 1939

above Georgetown CCC Camp February 1939 Photo labeled Truck Drivers; Bub, Tony, George Sinex, Pete Corllal, Pete Owens, Colson, Pete Byam, Bill.
above George Sinex 1939 CCC Camp Georgetown 

Frequently those that joined the CCC were assigned camps in their state or close by however there was considerable transferring within the district.   The usual problem occurred in Delmar, since it was in two states.  Delmar, Delaware was assigned to the Second District (New Jersey, Delaware and New York) and Delmar, Maryland was in the third district (Pennsylvania, Maryland, DC, and Virginia). 

The Delaware camps were segregated with the Negro camp being in Bombay Hook and the Maryland camp in Chestertown.

above photo of the Negro CCC Camp from the Delaware Archives

Even more than the WW2 veterans, the number of men that were in the CCC are becoming fewer and fewer.

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