Family Life in The CCC's

Ervin J. Summey, Big Springs, Cleveland, TN

      Our family lived in Cleveland, Tn at Big Springs on the Lawson Farm. We lived in a type of barracks like a Turkey house. Several families would be together with a hall way between rooms. At the time we lived here I was due to be born. The family who shared living quarters was the Bilbrey's. His name was Bill and his wife was Harriet. Their daughters were Connie and Louise. I think they had one son also. My mother said that at this time she disliked Harriet because they were Germans and plain spoken. It was time for delivery and mother sent my brother for the doctor. She was in the bed and Harriet Bilbrey happened to walk down the hall stuck her head in the door and ask what is wrong Bessie? At this mama ask her if she would please get the baby before it would smother to death. Of course she delivered me, cut the cord, and cleaned me and my mother up. I was a pretty little baby girl who needed a name. Since Harriet was a gracious, loving angel of mercy I was named after her and her daughter. My name is Harriet Louise Stephenson, I was born on March 25, 1940. My maiden name was Summey.

     My father, Ervin J. Summey was a cook in the CCC's for the Officers. Mr. Bill Bilbrey was some sort of officer. The only stories I know have been passed down by my sisters and brothers who were part of the depression and who also were very much a part of the CCC's. Both of my brothers were very young, but joined the CCC's as soon as they were old enough. Their names are Bill and Charles Summey. Charles told me recently that they worked in Chatsworth, GA building the Fort Mountain Dam. They planted trees and went from there to Stevenson, AL. I am very sure more information could be gathered.

     One thing, my birth caused a life time friendship with the Bilbrey family. I was kept by Harriet Bilbrey and she celebrated my first birthday with a cake that she allowed me to dive into if I wished to. She took care of my mother until she was strong enough to take care of our family. I long to get in touch with the family that is still alive. The last account was from Dalton, Georgia. Perhaps some of their family might read this story. If so, please give me a call.

     Yes, times were hard but a family would stay close together. Where else could they go when the going was tough.

-----EMAIL ADDRESS Sstephe321 AT wmconnect DOT com

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