Biography of Henry A. Springer
CCC Man, Company 346, Camp #87, Ole Bull, Pennsylvania
Our father Henry A. Springer left Scottdale Pennsylvania in June 1933, the day of his high school graduation, for a C.C. camp in Potter Co. Pa. He was stationed in Pa. State camp # 87 company # 346 in Ole Bull located near Cross Fork. Ole Bull is now a state park.
In the first months of the C.C.C. the living quarters for the enlisted men were canvas tents that they lived in that first winter. The temperature fell to twenty degrees below zero at times. During one hunting season the men of the camp were called upon to rescue hunters that had become trapped in their cabins by heavy snowfalls.
Dad's first duty was the construction of a mess hall, shower and latrine facilities, springs for a clean water supply and wooden barracks that replaced the tents. His later duties included reforesting and road construction. The trees were planted a distance of three pick-handles apart. Many acres of neatly planted pine and oak forests can still be found in Potter Co. today. Most of the secondary roads built by the C.C.C. are the same as when made, narrow and unpaved but in very good condition.
Dad served three years in the C.C.C. After returning to Scottdale he became a welder by trade specializing in overhead welding and played a major part in creating the historical cross at Jumonville Pa.
Dad married Mary Agnes Connors in July 1937 and moved to the New Stanton Pa. Area. In 1953 he was elected supervisor of Hempfield Township an office he held until 1963. That same year he was appointed postmaster of the New Stanton post office and remained there until his retirement in 1982.
Dad never lost his love for the mountains of Potter Co. and in 1958 built a cabin not far from Ole Bull. He was very proud of his C.C.C. service and enjoyed showing his children and grandchildren the trees he planted and the roads he helped build.
Dad passed away March 1, 1988 survived by his wife of fifty-one years, four children, ten grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
There are two stories that our father told many times, they are as follows.
There was a man of small stature in camp. He was a quiet man, never had much to say. Most camps had a baseball team and visiting teams would be trucked in for games. On one occasion a visiting team came to play the Ole Bull team. A very large man jumped off the truck and announced that " He could whip any two men here " The small man stepped forward and said " I'm both of them " hit the big man once and knocked him out. Dad said it took a long time to revive him.
The second story.
One of the men in camp snored very loudly. One night some of his tent mates carried the snoring man, bunk and all out into a shallow creek and left him there. Later that night the men awoke to terrible screams. The man had rolled over in his sleep and had fallen out of bed into very cold water.
For those of you wondering about Ole Bull. He was a Norwegian immigrant that settled in the mountains of north central Pennsylvania about two hundred fifty years ago.
----- Written by the children of Henry A. Springer, Sr.
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