Biography of Woodrow "Woody" Hipsher
CCC Subaltern, Senior Leader, Army Overhead, Company 1716, SCS, Lewiston, Minnesota & Company 1716, SCS-MO-18, Savannah, Mo & Company 3745, SCS-MO-5, Kahoka, Mo & Company 3745, Columbus, Missouri & Subaltern School, Jefferson Barracks, Missouri & Unkown Company, Pilot Grove, Missouri
I graduated High School at Pleasant Hill, Missouri on May 31, 1930, during the depression years. For the next four years I did odd jobs around the area. In late March, 1934 I was working on a farm for $15.00 per month and my room and board. Then I had a chance to enlist in the CCC. I was 21 years of age.
On April 4, 1934 I was processed for the CCC at the Armory in Kansas City, Missouri along with other enrollees. I departed K.C. via train for Fort Snelling (Minneapolis, Minnesota for further processing. I was inducted into the CCC on April 6, 1934. While I was at Fort Snelling I was "laid low" with the dread "Mumps", delaying my camp assignment.
On May 21, 1934 I was assigned to Company 1716, SCS, Lewiston, Minnesota. It was a tent camp in the southwestern part of the state, in an agricultural area. During my stay at Lewiston I was assigned to a rock quarry crew as a laborer at $30.00 per month -- $25.00 sent home to my parents.
On October 2, 1934 Company 1716, comprised of all Missouri young men, entrained for Savannah, MO. Arriving the next day. The camp designation was SCS-MO-18, Savannah was near St. Joseph, Mo. It was also an agricultural area. We occupied newly constructed buildings, a far cry from the tents of Lewiston. I was assigned to the kitchen as a KP for a short time. Then I was promoted to 2nd cook - Assistant Leader - at $36.00 per month.
On June 1, 1935 a Cadre of 12 men was selected from Company 1716 to form the nucleus of Company 3745 for SCS-MO-5 at Kahoka the same day. The rest of the company of 200 arrived in about two weeks. The men were from the local area and St. Louis. We occupied tents until October then we moved into newly constructed buildings. While at Kahoka I was promoted to 1st cook, then to Mess Steward, both Leader positions at $45.00 per month.
On January 11, 1936 I met Belva Rockhold, a Kahoka Lady and school teacher. We were married June 6, 1936 at Ashland, Illinois, a marriage to last until Belva's death on April 8, 1989. When we were married it was "Taboo" for an enrollee to be married, sop we kept it on the "QT" for about 6 months - at the time the CCC became lenient on the marriage factor for "Camp Overhead" and the commanding officer Okayed our marriage. Belva and I then occupied an apartment. Then later a house in Kahoka. Three of our six children were born in Kahoka while I was in the CCC.
On September 24, 1940, Co. 3745 was relocated to Columbia, Missouri (note maybe Columbus?) where a newly constructed camp awaited us. I was still a Mess Steward, however for most of 1941 I was acting Senior Leader. My Family and I lived across the road from the camp.
In February 1941, I attended Subaltern School at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. Upon graduation I received orders to report to a camp at Pilot Grove, Missouri as Subaltern. I never served as Subaltern as orders were received to disband the camp at Pilot Grove. I returned to Columbia, Missouri.
All the camps where I worked were the Soil Conservation type, established to prevent soil erosion. The work included placing wire checks in draws and gullys, constructing concrete check dams, terracing, seeding and planting trees. Also building earthen dams for dry weather water supply. They also provided community service where needed.
On February 5, 1942 I received an Honorable Discharge from the CCC at Columbia to accept employment at the CCC Quartermaster Depot at Jefferson Barracks as a laborer - GS-1 - $1,200 per annum. The beginning of a 28 year career with the Federal Civil Service.
I received training in the CCC that served me well in my civilian career. I support the proposal that the CCC should be re-established.
I joined Chapter 5 several years ago, as Montana does not have a NACCCA chapter. John Sisk, a Chapter 5 Member was instrumental in my joining Chapter 5 as John and I served together in the CCC at Lewiston, Minnesota and Savannah, Missouri.
----- Woody Hipsher
BACK TO JAMES F. JUSTIN CCC MUSEUM, BIOGRAPHIES
BACK TO JUSTIN ORAL HISTORY ARMY BIOGRAPHIES HISTORY PAGE
Please Share your Stories! E-mail the Curator to share or discuss or with any questions!