Biography of John Clyde Arnold

CCCMan, Youngstown, Florida

   My older brother, John Clyde Arnold was also in the Civilian Conservation Corps. Clyde enrolled probably when the CCC Camps first opened in 1933, or I think that was the date. He left from Madison County, Fl with a group of other young men, who like himself didn't have a job. My father died of Hemorraghic Fever in 1929, just ahead of the Crash of the Stock Market that same year.

   He had a small insurance policy, and fortunately it paid off. With that little bit, Mama bought the old boxy frame house where we lived, for a thousand dollars, so we had a place to stay. But she had no income.

   Papa had just bought a new Model A Ford Truck to haul fruit and vegetables to and from Central and South Florida, and since Mama couldn't meet the payments, it was repossessed. But his old Model T Truck was paid for, and parked in the old tin barn out back. Since Mama needed stove wood to cook with, she traded it for a few loads of pine wood, which was soon burned up. And I've grieved over the loss of it for years. I wish I had it back.

   But back to my brother, when FDR started the C's, Clyde was one of the first to enroll. They sent him to West Florida to a camp near Youngstown, if I remember right, and he stayed the whole 2 years, which was as long as they'd let him. One of the Cooper boys, my cousins, tried to tease us, and cause us to worry about my brother, after he got in the camp."They put him in the dynamite crew," he told us.

   But it was just a joke, and we never believed him anyway. I never knew just what kind of work Clyde did, but he worked with Mr. Capus M. Young, the Forestry Foreman, and was a big buddy to him. So my brother may have had the rank of Asst. Leader, or Leader. But if he did, he never said anything to us about it.

   As I remember, the pay was 30 dollars a month, with a few bucks given to him, and the rest sent home to Mama. You'll never know how much that money meant to Mama,and the rest of us. It fed us during some pretty tough times. There were 8 kids in all, and I was one of the younger ones. "I may have to put you in an Orphans Home," Mama told me one time.

   But thanks to FDR, the CCC's, and my older brother Clyde, she never had to. So we owe a debt of gratitude that we can never repay, and I imagine the same could be said of lots of boys and girls my age all over the country, who had a member of the family in the CCC's.

   I mentioned my brother's close friendship with Capus M. Young in the C's, and they were close. Clyde always had a knack of making friends with the people who count. It started with Mr. Young. The good work habits and other positive things Mr. Young taught him, helped my brother get, and keep good jobs, when he got out of the CCC, and came back home to work.

   Once he was out, Clyde got a job right away with Mr. H. E. McArthur, who was part owner of Messer Battery and Tire Co. in Madison. He worked for years for McArthur, and later for Henry Messer. Clyde followed the same pattern he started in the C's with Capus M. Young, and formed a friendship with these two fine men. And they stayed close friends until the day they died.

   My brother had a beautiful picture of his CCC Company, and even though he has long since been dead, it may still be in his family. I sure hope so. It was about a yard wide and a foot tall. Fortunately the men didn't have their shirts on, and it showed their muscles, and how well fed, and physically fit they were.

   Clyde Arnold. To me he was a fine example of what the CCC's did for young men during the Great Depression. It was a turning point in his life, and started him on the road to success.

   He was highly respected and loved in the little town of Madison, Florida where he spent most of his life.

   In closing, let me pay tribute to FDR, and all the folks in Congress who made the CCC's possible.

--- Best regards, Thomas F. Arnold, age 78

Thomas F. Arnold, CCCMan, Company 1410, Cross City, Florida & Goldhead Branch State Park, Keystone Heights, Florida


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