History of Company 2133, Camp Deaver

Camp BR-7, Deaver, Wyoming

    During 1938 the Wyoming Civilian Conservation Corps men built 114 miles of truck trails, 10,152 man days fighting forest fires, built or improved 15 diversion dams, laid 26,679 feet of pipe or tile drains and many other projects.

     There were 23 camps with 2,280 young men and war veterans participating in the Wyoming Civilian Conservation Corps program. The young laborers earned $30 per month. Needy dependents were alloted all but five dollars of that. The Chief Finance of the War Department estimated that the Wyoming CCC operating expense during the 1938 fiscal year totalled $4,170,000.

     The CCC camps also aided the local economy. Wyoming Merchants were given contracts to supply food for the CCC camps. Contracts for meat, vegetables, fruits, milk and bread. Other contracts were given for ice cream and laundry. Some camps had shoe repair and Wyoming coal. Not all camps received the same supplies.

     The CCC Camp located in Deaver, Wyoming was opened in 1935 and its opening was quite a political event. This was true of most camps, where local business men would call upon their representatives to obtain a camp for local purposes or to vie for the supply contracts. Also as recollected by John Richards, a farmer of Frannie, Wyoming, this was a Democrat program so the Republicans were against it. Herman F. Krueger, who was Wyoming State Representative, and a farmer, J.P. Richards, initiated in getting the CCC camp in Deaver. This was a way to get workers for the Irrigaton District, vital to the needs of local farmers.

     The camp began operations when 120 men from various origins arrived by troop train. It is possible these men were Company 2133, this company was at the camp at least in 1938. It is also possible that another company was at the camp first and that Company 2123 replaced them which was not an uncommon practice.

     Whatever the company designation was, when these men were enroute to Deaver, their train came through the Wind River Canyon. As recalled by enrollee Travis Belue, They thought that was so beautiful and they were thrilled. They thought they were going to be stationed there. They kept going and going and finally they got to Lovell. They could see they were out of the pretty country. From Lovell they went on to Deaver. They got into Deaver at 4 P.M.. It was hot and the wind was blowing a terrible force. There the Camp Commander, Lieutenant Harrington met the men and assembled them on the siding. Having been in the area for a time now, Lieutenant Harrington advised them of the adverse weather, "Now the wind don't always blow this way, it sometimes blows the other way!"

     The camp had just been built. The newly arrived occupants were given their shots just like they would have in the Army and issued Army clothing. There wasn't any water in the barracks yet, so they had to wash in the irrigation ditch. The water was piped in later on, the pipe laid in a ditch to be dug by the men.

     The Camp was laid out with six barracks, A through E, three lengthwise on each side of a rectangular square and on one short end of the square the Messhall and on the other the officer's quarters. A smaller building sat in the end of the square near the officer's quarters.

     The men moved into the barracks, each heated by one pot bellied stove. The camp was not comfortable, but life there would not be bad. The men could go into town, where there were dances and other entertainment. As told by Jess Cubbage, a local farmer from Garland, some of the young men took classes in the Deaver High School. Many of the workers were from the East and Midwest. After the camp dispersed, some returned to the Big Horn Basin and other areas. Some of the men would also find wives in town. One of these, Stan Rogers who was the driver for the officers and a camp leader, found work after the Camp was closed with the National Park Service in Mamouth Springs.

     During the CCC's use of Camp Deaver one enrollee died. Clifford Olson, a local boy from Cowley, was accidently killed when he came into contact with the power line to the camp.

     The work the men did involved assisting in irrigation and soil conservation, as recalled by John Richards. On the irrigation system, the CCC workers built concert drops, and cleaned out the laterals. The old laterals were wooden structures and they were beginning to rot out. They had a lot of heavy equipment for their use. They had 2 caterpillars, a road grader, and a ditcher, which they used to clean out many ditches. They also had trucks and a concrete mixer. Of course it was put in the mixer by hand.

     Beuford Henricks also recalled that the CCC workers did a lot of rift rafting of the canals ( note I have heard this called rip rapping as well ). They went up in the hills and brought down sandstones. They started by laying the sandstone at the bottom of the canal and stair stepped it up the sides. Today there is still a lot of the stone in the canals. They would cut willows and put them in bundles. Only the amount that they were able to carry. Then tie them with baling wire, in which they used for the rift rafting material also. The rift rafting was to protect the banks from erosion and damage.

     One time, on July 28, 1938, Mr. Hendricks took 30 Civilian Conservation Corps workers in my truck up to the Pryor Mountains to look for Floyd Utter, a 8 year old boy, who was lost in the forest for 2 days and two nights. He was with his parents on a visit to see his uncle who was herding sheep for Herman Kreuger. The reason he was lost for so long, there was a dense fog and the CCCs had their shirts off and being very brown he thought they were indians. So he continued to hide from them. He saw his friends, the LaFollette boys, out in a clearing and eventually ran out to them.

     The camp was closed in the spring of 1941. Afterwards it served as POW camp for German prisoners during World War Two.

----- Johanna Gimmeson

       mrsg@tritel.net

LINKS

Biography of Travis Belue, CCCMan, Company 2133, Camp BR-7, Camp Deaver, Wyoming

Biography of Stan Rogers, CCCMan, Company 2133, Camp BR-7, Camp Deaver, Wyoming

Concert Drop marked 1941 CCC by Company 2123, Deaver, Wyoming

Mess Hall, Company 2123, Camp BR-7, Deaver, Wyoming

Camp, From roof of Barracks E, facing Officer's Quarters, Company 2123, Camp BR-7, Deaver, Wyoming

Ditch Digging, Digging the Water Line Ditch, Company 2123, Camp BR-7, Deaver, Wyoming

Education Building, Company 2123, Camp BR-7, Deaver, Wyoming

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