Civilian Conservation Corps

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Platt/Oliver Family History GEDCOM
Submitted by chapter member; Janet Wahlberg, September 2014

Prepared by
Janet Wahlberg
3572 Mary Ellen Dr.
Bemus Point, NY 14712

John Platt was born July 8, 1920 to James and Jane Platt outside Bergholz, Ohio. He was the youngest of 10 children. His parents were first generation immigrants, Jane from England and James from Scotland. James was a coalminer. The family worked hard to make ends meet and then the Depression came.

At the end of John’s Junior Year of High School, he worked briefly with his father in a small mine. However, there wasn’t really enough work to keep him employed, so he joined the CCC. He enrolled in July 31, 1937at Delaware, Ohio. He was discharged on September 17, 1937 to return to school. He was to be the only one of 10 children to complete high school. As he had always been an honor student, it was terribly important to his parents that he graduate from high school and have opportunities besides the mines. During his brief stint in the CCC, he served at Company 571Camp D-6 at Delaware, Ohio.

Following his graduation from Bergholz High School in June of 1938, he again was unable to find work and on October 11, 1938 he and three other young men from Bergholz went to Steubenville and signed up. All four men were shipped to Company 531 Camp F132, Pritchard, Idaho. The camp was located about 40 miles back in the mountains from Wallace, Idaho on the North Fork of the Coeur de Alene River in a part of Idaho called the Panhandle. He served there from October 1938 to May of 1939 in the camp at Big Creek located at the intersection of Big Creek and the North Forks of the Coeur d’Alene.

Dad’s description of his continued experience, “Then several of us were picked to set up a “spike camp”, a branch camp near the Montana border in the edge of the Bitterroot Mtns. We were to build a county park for Shoshone County Idaho. This included building log shelter houses, with cedar shake roofs and stone fire places; and ski trails and a lift up in Mullan Pass where U.S. Highway # 10 ( now I-90) from Idaho into Montana. We had fun but did a lot of hard work and learned a lot of things about life and living. We fought several forest fires that summer of 1939. My first experience at night on the fire line was scary but we got used to it quickly. No choice.”

While in Idaho at Camp F132, John attended several classes that included: Diesel I and II, Physics, Map Reading, American History, Photography, Forestry, and Bookkeeping. In addition to the classroom experiences, he attended hands on training in Park (shelter construction), Telephone Construction, Road Construction, and Land Clearing. The classes that the CCC provided to the men helped them to develop life-long occupational skills.

He remained in Idaho until December of 1939 when he was transferred to Fort Harrison, Indiana and then on to Fairlawn, Ohio where attended Landscaping Classes. H e remained at Fairlawn Camp MA-1 until his discharge from the CCC on March 25, 1940. Upon his return home, work was still scarce and he enlisted in the Navy in May of 1940 serving much of WWII aboard the USS Denebola, a destroyer. Following WWII John returned to the Bergholz area struggling to find dependable work much of the time when he was recalled for the Korean War in 1950. He transferred from the Navy to the Air Force where he remained until his retirement in 1970.

His story is the story of so many young men to this era. Young, unemployed, enrollment in the CCC, then into the military to serve their country during WWII and then home to find work, raise families and remind us what is great about this country.