Biography of John T. Hibbert
CCCman, Fifth Section, Company 1262, Camp F-54. Donnally, Idaho
My name is John T. Hibbert. I joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933. It was during the Depression, no one was working. I needed the work so I enrolled in the CCC's in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The office where I signed up was in the Armory for the National Guard. From there we went to Fort Dix, New Jersey. We were given the necessary needles and sent out West.
We went to our camp by train. I was in Camp F-54, Company 1262 C.C.C. in Donnally, Idaho in 1933. I was in the fifth section. A Section was a certain group within the Company.
We had to start from nothing, when we arrived at our campsite. We had to build the camp. When completed, there were ten tents in camp where we lived, 20 fellows to a tent. I was in tent No. 1. The Whole Camp Was tents. They built a Mess Hall but everything else remained just tents. We never had barracks.
We built a road which was an old stage coach line. We cut the trees down to make room for the road. I used a two bladed axe. I learned how to fall a tree. I myself cut down trees to widen the road. We also had a Dynamite Group, for taking out rocks in the Road.
The road work we did was all by hand. The road was a dirt road. We cut trees to widen it. Part of the road was built over marshy ground and low. So we took the branches to build the road up.
The Camp also worked on a Forest Ranger's Property building a fence and whatever was needed.
We were also the first to go on a Forest Fire. My section was the first in our Company and our Company was the first to fight fires in the CCCs. Five days on the fire our Captain ordered us back to Camp as we had no water for getting washed.
We never had a canteen that many CCC Camps had later.Although they added Education classes to the CCC later, we didn't have any classes at my camp.
We had Boxing matches. We had fellows on Probation who set the Captain's tent on fire on the ground. Also we went to McCall and raided the saloon. McCall is a real Western town. Had a Saw Mill, Hotel, one Movie. They had to go there for mail. I went to McCall a couple of times to go swimming in July and August.
I left in September. We could not stay any longer. We would have been snowed in and could not get out. We were discharged, and I went back to hotel work in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
It was a great experience, the CCCs.
----- John T. Hibbert
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