The government established Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps to do such things as erosion control. Dockery Park was chosen to house the 250 workers in the Gallatin, MO, area. To get ready for the workers, a ‘mess house’ was erected, bath houses were built, sewer and water connections made.
At one time in 1934, boys slept in 43 tents with five boys to the cot. They only worked for a few weeks at a time and received one dollar per day. No one who had previously been a member or had a brother in the camp was eligible to participate in the program.
In 1934, two camps of CCC boys were being educated at a local Gallatin camp. Of these men, one group was moved to the camp from Oregon. The boys were from various states such as Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas and Illinois.
Twenty-two was the average age of the group and came from homes that averaged five children. In addition to learning about construction work, the boys also learned about better health, better cooperation and tolerance, and travel advantages. One-fourth of these boys mentioned the importance of financial aid to their parents.
Farmers had been given information about erosion control by using such things as strip cropping and terracing. CCC men were being utilized to stake out the terraces, as well as doing other erosion control tactics such as planting black locust trees, building rock and brush dams, and planting various seeds and grasses.
By September 1933, several boys had worked their allowed six months and a few new ones replaced them. Some of the restrictions for eligibility were:
- Young men were to be between and including ages of 18-25.
- Men selected had to come from families on relief or from families who were manifestly in need even though they had not been receiving relief.
- Men in the CCC camp who didn’t accept the opportunity for re-enrollment were not eligible to be selected and certified for re-enrollment.
- Men who at any time were discharged from the CCC whether honorably or dishonorably were not eligible for the enrollment.
- Men who had a history of mental derangement were not to be selected or certified.
- Selectees were required to contribute $25 per month to their dependents.
- No distinction was to be made because of race, creed, political faith.
In the summer of 1934, five counties received 114 new recruits. These recruits were added to already present C.C.C. camps at : Clinton, DeKalb, Daviess, Caldwell and Buchanan. Of these boys that had enlisted, five were turned away because of physical deficiencies.
The boys ranged in the neighborhood of 18-20 years of age. Due to the Great Depression, many of these boys weren’t able to obtain a job and they didn’t have any regular employment. A large number of them had done farm work, and a few had done some clerical work.
Approximately one fourth of the new recruits had been through high school and most of the remainder had been through grade school. Eighteen of the boys had asked to be in some work dealing with forestry, and some wanted to do some dynamiting on some of the work projects.
Nearly one-fourth of the boys had expressed some interest in practicing typewriting. They were asked to share a portion of the cost of renting the typewriters. Additional tables were set up in the recreational tent where the typing could be done.
— researched and presented by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin, MO