Biography of George J. Mulligan

CCCMan, Branchville, New Jersey & Florence, Oregon

   I enrolled in the CCC in 1938 and was picked up by army trucks at the town hall in West New York, New Jersey, and was transported to a National Guard Armory at Newark, New Jersey. Here we were sorted out and sent to various CCC Camps. I was sent to a camp near Branchville, N.J. and our job was to build parks in Stokes Forest in the summer. In the winter we cut down dead trees, made 4x4x8 cords of wood that sold for $2. All branches and debris was burned if snow was on the ground.

   Our boss was a graduate of the Forestry College at Syracuse University and was a very decent guy. Our troop had really good jobs, interesting and not very demanding.; We had a school where you could get your H.S. degree and the $5 a month that you were given was sufficient to buy all the ice cream you might want. To get home we had a bus that cost you $1 for a ride to Jersey City where you could hop a trolley or walk home. To walk 5 miles was a lark as in those days families rarely had cars and shank's mare was the logical travel. Our top sergeant's name was Borke and he was decent. It you were on night watch or other camp duty you could escape K.P.. I met him at Palisades park some years later and we chatted of those happy days in the CCC.

   One day a call came through the camp asking to go to Oregon and I signed up. A month later about 50 of us were on buses to New York to catch our train. Our train was self contained and chow was brought to you three times a day. When we boarded the train, I and three friends grabbed a private compartment at thew end of the regular car. We locked is and never opened it until we were sure all of the officers and topkicks had their spaces. We felt like millionaires as we could play cards and have a good time after lights were out. We didn't get a good reputation as when the train stopped and gave us an hour the poor merchants were not paid for much of what we took. I remember one town called Owein or similar which was depleted.

   We finally arrived at Eugene, Oregon. I was really impressed with Oregon, the size of the trees and the beauty of the area. From Eugene we traveled by truck to Woahink Lake which was 5 miles outside of Florence, a small coastal fishing town. Our camp was right on the lake, the fishing was excellent and we had ducks and all kinds of game nearby. Salmon swam up a small creek within the camp and we were able to spear them. They were not purchased even though our price was ridiculous at 15 cents for a 10 lb. Salmon. We were allowed to go to town on Friday and Saturday but told to look out and not cause any trouble. I followed the sheriff to jail one night when he picked up a drunk. I couldn't believe the beating he got and resolved to be a good boy.

   We had an Indian reservation nearby and when the Indian trader went home I took his place selling shoes for $3, shirts and pants for $1.

----- George J. Mulligan


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