Co. 1402, Forest-3 (1933) and Co. 1413, Army-1 (1940) CCC

(A section of the NICEVILLE, FLORIDA - Online History Center)

"This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny."
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt, U.S. President 1933-1945

Niceville’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp Timeline

 1929: The Great Depression began by the complete collapse of the Stock Market.

1933, March 4: Franklin Delano Roosevelt was sworn into office as U. S. President after defeating Herbert Hoover’s re-election bid. In his first 100 days in office FDR proposed economic reform known as the "New Deal."

 1933, March 31: The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was created providing jobs for unemployed and unmarried men between the ages of 18-25. Of the $30 they earned monthly, $25 was sent home to aide their family. ($1.00 then would be about $18.00 today.)

 1933 April 30: Company 1402 Forest-3 was organized at Fort Benning, GA under the command of Captain Walter Bigby, 67 th Infantry, U.S. Army. The company was originally 172 men from northeast and north counties of Florida sent to Fort Benning for preliminary training and examination.

 1933 May 18: Company 1402 Forest-3 received its entraining order at 1:30 p.m. In record time the entire company, with all equipment, was aboard four passenger coaches and one baggage coach enroute to Niceville by way of Montgomery, Pensacola, and Crestview.

 1933 May 19: They arrived at Niceville at 8:05 in the morning. By 1:30 that afternoon all men and equipment had been established in a temporary camp at the Niceville High School grounds (today’s Lula J. Edge Elementary). While in temporary camp 40 local experienced men (LEM’s) were selected by the Forest Service and enrolled. This brought the authorized company strength to 212. A large number were then turned over to the Forest Service to begin duties in the Choctawhatchee National Forest of approximately 400,000 acres. Work on the permanent camp started immediately on land adjacent to the Jackson Ranger Station.

 1933, September 15: Captain Bigby returned to his permanent company at Ft. Benning. He was succeeded as the Camp Commander by Capt. Ben L. Tew.

 1933, September 25: Niceville’s CCC Camp was inspected by Special Investigator M. L. Grant. The Camp had a Post Exchange. Their food supplies and perishables were purchased locally and at Ft. Barrancas, FL. The Camp had two Army 1.5 ton Dodge CCC Trucks. The Forest Service had ten trucks; 2 Ford dump trucks, 3 Ford stake-body and 5 Dodge 1.5 ton stake-body trucks.

 1933, September 26: Special Investigator Grant wrote a letter to CCC Director Robert Fechner in Washington, D.C. praising Captain Bigby. The construction of the wooden barracks, the shower facilities, and the garbage disposal system all showed excellent care and planning. The athletic equipment included baseball equipment for a team of nine men, two volley balls, one basketball, one tennis net, four horseshoe sets, four sets of boxing gloves, and two volley ball nets. All materials were furnished by Fort Benning. Electric lights were furnished from the local power company.

 1933, November 25: "Co. 1402, Niceville, Fla., printed an attractive book, bound in a heavy green cover, which gives the history of the company, pictures and work completed up to September 30, 1933 to provide a complete summary, presented in a clear and attractive manner, of just what the C.C.C. has accomplished and what it means to the community."

 1934, January: The men of Niceville’s CCC Camp formed a bucket brigade and fought the Niceville town fire saving buildings and stocks of merchandise after three grocery stores, a dry goods store, a creamery, the post office building, hotel, drug store and fish warehouses were destroyed at a loss estimated at $100,000 (about two million dollars today). There was no running water and it appeared for a time that the town would be completely destroyed.

 1934, January 13: Record of Accomplishments for May 19, 1933 to December 31, 1933. Motorways constructed (cleared, graded and etc., 12-foot), 115 miles; project roads constructed 18-foot; 75 miles; project roads maintained, 144 miles; motorways maintained, 39 miles; bridges built (new approaches not shown) 34; release cuttings, (timber stand improvement). 16,320 acres; logging operations, 80,000 feet of logs; 480 man-days work done in Ranger station improvement work; 840 man-days work done in equipment repair and supply depot (this includes maintenance of all trucks, tractors, graders, stump pullers, and pile drivers); 96 man-days work done in fire suppression work; 2 lookout towers built; 160 acres cleared in building of the Valparaiso, Florida airport; many miles of telephone lines were built and they manned three fire lookout towers.

 1934 February: Capt. Ben L. Tew was succeeded by Capt. Bridges as Camp Commander. After about six weeks Capt. Bridges was succeeded by Capt. D. E. Haven.

 1934, March 13: L. B. Andrews came to camp as Educational Advisor.

 1934 May: They had constructed two more fire lookout towers and two buildings; improved forest timber stands; built bridges, constructed and maintained hundreds of miles of telephone lines, fire lanes and truck trails; landscaped 56 acres and surveyed, stumped and cleared another landing field consisting of 80 acres.

 1934 December: Lieut. Leland L. Stokes succeeded Capt. Haven as Camp Commander.

 1935: Niceville was the most populated town in the southern region of Okaloosa County. Niceville’s population was 1172, Fort Walton’s was 221, Destin’s was 190, Wright’s was 181, Valparaiso’s was 166, Garniers’ was 158 and Mary Esther’s was 71.

 1935 February: "Our present Mess Officer is 1st Lt. Ellis F. Vaughan, who is also camp Welfare Officer. Lt. William C. Hoffman is Finance and Exchange Officer. Dr. W. F. McGriff of Niceville, Fla., is our contract physician."

 1935 February 12: The camp was in Quarantine because of Red Measles.

 "Last Sunday there were two Maxwell Field, Ala. Planes at the Airport: Major Ryan flew down in a P-12B Pursuit ship and Lieut. Pratt and his Photo Sgt. Powell flew an O-19B Observation ship down. Both ships and their crews spent Sunday afternoon in the vicinity. Lieut. Pratt and Sgt. Powell had lunch at the Camp."

 1936: It was ordered that all CCC Companies would be reduced in size to 157, the first to go would be those not participating in the Education Program and did not hold First Aid Certification. In addition to working on their education goals, they planted approximately 110,000 trees from seedlings they had raised. They moved the 40 foot tower at Metts to Sandy Mountain and constructed a 100 foot steel tower at Metts, their side camp.

 1936, April 8: "Louis Raynaud, an artist, has been assigned to Co. 1402 and is plunging industriously into the work of helping make Camp Bigby a place of beauty."

 1936, July 17: Lieutenant Drennon was the camp commander.

 1936, July 31: Early this morning the camp at Niceville was evacuated when the hurricane destroyed the barracks roofs and demolished the camps water supply. The Niceville School failed to furnish sanctuary as it was also destroyed. They took refuge at the Valparaiso Inn.

 1937: The Camp received a new 220V lighting system and spent about 57,000 man-hours in study. All high school graduates were offered college correspondence courses at $.25 per semester hour by the University of North Dakota.

 1937 April 27: Captain Meredith M. Watson assumed command of Company 1402.

 1937 April 30: Camp Bigby won an exciting ball game from Fort Barrancas by the score of 7 to 6 last Sunday.

 The name of the camp newsletter changed from time to time. The Boggy Bayou Breeze, Scrappy Daze, Camp Bigby News were some. In 1937 the Niceville CCC Journalism class under the direction of their Educational Adviser took over the local newspaper, The Valpariso (sic) News, "Voice of the Bay Country".

 1937, May: Dedication of The Little Bayou Recreational Park (located at Shalimar) a public fifteen acre "picnic paradise" a gift of the Federal Government through the U. S. Forest Service was built by the men of the CCC at Niceville.

 Fire completely destroyed the home of Herman Weekly and flames spread so quickly that no attempt could be made to salvage anything. They contributed $51.85 to help him (about one thousand dollars today).

 1937, May 14: "Acceptance by the War Department of the aerial gunnery and bombing base at Valpariso (sic), upon which federal agencies have spent around $500,000, has been announced in Washington by Representative Millard Caldwell, of the third Congressional District. A large portion of the expenditures were used for clearing the landing field and the construction of hard surfaced runways. The site was donated to the War Department by the Valparaiso Realty Company. The landing field is located near the city and officer’s quarters are at White Point. The administration building, barracks, mess hall, etc., are at the field. At the present time a permanent garrison of officers and men are stationed at the Valpariso (sic) base. A detachment is undergoing training there. The new base is being used increasingly by the Army Air Corps and air squadrons of the National Guard. It is contemplated that the base will afford bombing and aerial gunnery instruction for a considerable part of the Corps between Mitchell Field, New York and Barksdale Field, Louisiana. Congressman Caldwell said he was unable to estimate future expenditures at the new base, but said the War Department is alive to its value."

 1937, July 23: "Work on a private telephone line between the Valpariso (sic) Airport and the Bombing and Gunnery Base and White Point has been completed this week. The line covers a distance of twenty miles with a double metallic wire. A copper wire line had also been strung for long distant calls. This line is hooked up with the local exchange of the Southeastern Telephone Company. A private switchboard has been installed at the airport which will operate between these three army posts. All long distance calls will be received at the airport exchange and connected with the individual phones. This private line was built to relieve the congestion now experience over the Southeastern lines, which are apparently overcrowded. The line extending to Fort Walton, Mary Esther, and Florosa which also leads in at the airport has fourteen private and pay stations phones. Senator Bill Mapoles is leading a fight for better phone service in the Bay Country. He is taking the matter up with the interstate commerce commission."

 1937, August 27: The 19th Evac Hospital Dentist was attached to Co. 1402 for a period of two or three weeks. During this time he inspected and treated the teeth of all enrollees and supervising personnel of the camp.

 1937, September 30: Approximately 2,000 men from camps all over the United States were to be discharged. Niceville CCC Company 1402 would lose over one hundred. Future employment was a primary concern. Some of the vocations they were trained for were clerical, automobile mechanics, tractor operation, heavy equipment operators, dredging, truck drivers, cooks, waiters, construction, plane surveying, carpentry, house painting, plumbing, electrical wiring and dependable labor. The District Forest Ranger transferred to the Forest Service Office in Tallahassee and the Forest Service office was moved from Camp Pinchot to the Jackson Ranger Station making it more convenient for both the office and camp personnel.

 1937, September 24: At Dothan, AL the Regular Army was enlisting men between ages 18 and 25, who were single, no dependents, of good character and in good physical condition. Vacancies were available at Panama Canal Zone, Hawaiian Islands and Fort Benning, Georgia. As the CCC had trained men based on military structure and protocol they were now prepared to serve in the nation’s military defense.

 1939 July 24: Funds had been allocated for structural rehabilitation of the Niceville CCC Camp.

 1939, October 1: Company 1402 was moved to Otter Creek, FL as Company 1402, P-83 to work on private timberlands.

 1940, June 24: The Federal Census for the U. S. Army Air Port (Eglin Field) at Niceville in Pct. #14 Enumeration District 46-18 listed a population of about 130.

 1940, June 27: The U. S. Forestry Service ceded the Choctawhatchee National Forest to the War Department.

 1940, October 1: CCC Camp 1413 was relocated to Niceville from Homerville, GA as Co. 1413 Army-1 with a Camp Superintendent, five Army officers, seven enlisted men and company strength of 211.

 1940, October 7: CCC Camp 1413 Army-1 Work Program started, continuing the work started by Company 1402.

 1940, October 16: The first peacetime program of compulsory military service took effect. Under the Selective Training and Service Act, all males between the ages of 21 to 35 were required to register for the draft. A lottery system determined who would be called into service.

 1941, June 16: The Little Bayou Recreational Park was closed to the public.

 1941, November 13: Company Strength was 209. The Camp Inspection Report stated the work being accomplished was impressive. They cleared land for bombing sites, maintained hundreds of miles of roads and trails for fire prevention, improved and maintained fire look-out towers and guard cabins, constructed and maintained telephone lines, hauled approximately 2,000,000 board feet of logs to the saw mill, maintained 10 bridges, 2 dwellings and 3 other buildings, and fought forest fires.

 1941, December 7: Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. The United States declared war on Japan entering WWII the next day.

 1942, July 16: The complete inventory of Niceville’s CCC Co. 1413 Army-1 was transferred to the Regular Army. The buildings inventory included five barracks, a mess hall, temporary quarters, Officers quarters, a headquarters and storage house, a Recreation Hall, a Dispensary, a bathhouse and latrine lavatory, four garages, an oil house, a school building, a maintenance shop, and a blacksmith shop.

 1946: CCC Building T-1527, located at the Niceville camp was transferred to the Okaloosa County School Board for school purposes.

 Niceville’s Civilian Conservation Corps Camp is one of the first CCC camps in the Nation and the first in Florida and the only one in Okaloosa County. It contributed to the local economy during the Great Depression and was instrumental in the early development of Eglin Field.

Narrative Summary of Niceville CCC Camps:  (By request of this website's author, this article was written by Robert G. Pasquill, Jr., the Heritage Program Manager (Forest Archaeologist and Historian) for the National Forests in Alabama using information from this website and his knowledge and interest in the CCC. This article was published in the CCC Legacy Journal in the January/February 2013 edition commemorating the 80th anniversary of the CCC and also of Company 1402 F-3 known as Camp Bigby at Niceville, the first CCC camp in Florida.)

"On April 30, 1933, Company 1402 was organized at Fort Benning, Georgia under the command of Captain Walter Bigby, 67 th Infantry, U.S. Army. The executive officer was Captain C.H. Hagg, and the medical officer was 1 st Lieutenant J.W. Howard. The company consisted of 172 "junior" enrollees from the northwestern and northern counties of Florida. According to an article appearing in the February 12, 1935 issue of The Boggy Bayou Breeze , the camp newsletter, Company 1402 had the distinction of being the first company to complete their conditioning training at Fort Benning.

When the Civilian Conservation Corps began in April 1933, the Great Depression was in its fourth year. According to CCC Director Robert Fechner, the primary objective of the "conditioning period" was to "fed 'em up" and help the enrollees overcome the many cases of malnutrition. Generally, the enrollees remained in the conditioning camp for at least ten days, but if the enrollees were not physically prepared to meet the challenges of the work project, or a communicable disease hit the company, sometimes the conditioning period could last a month or longer.

According to the 1934 District "G" CCC annual, Company 1402 received its orders to entrain for Niceville, Florida on May 18, 1933. Filling four passenger cars and one baggage coach, the train took them through Montgomery, Alabama; Pensacola, Florida; and Crestview, Florida; where they boarded trucks and finally arrived in Niceville on the morning of May 19th and established a temporary camp on the Niceville school grounds. While they were stationed at the temporary camp, they were joined by 40 local experienced men (LEM's) that were employed by the United States Forest Service. The addition of the LEM's brought the company up to its full strength of 212 men.

The hiring of local experienced men or LEM's by the Civilian Conservation Corp had been authorized on April 22, 1933. This allowed local men, otherwise not eligible for the CCC, work opportunities in the camps. It also added experienced men to the camps that were familiar with the type of work being conducted in the work project. In April 1933, "junior" enrollees had to be between the ages of 18 and 25 with family members on the relief rolls, unemployed, and unmarried. The LEM's were selected from the local area's relief rolls. They would be of a suitable age and experience level for the work project.

The 1934 annual recorded that a few days after their arrival at the Niceville school grounds, most of the company was taken out to the Choctawhatchee National Forest to begin the project work. The remaining enrollees began work on the permanent camp, designated as Camp F-3, and named Camp Bigby after their company commander. The camp was located on land adjacent to the Jackson Ranger Station. The enrollees constructed 14 buildings in the camp (the typical CCC camp consisted of 24 buildings, including a mess hall with attached kitchen, recreation building, school building, infirmary, four barracks house approximately 50 men each, quarters for the military and technical personal assigned to the camp). The men also constructed recreational facilities in the camp, including a baseball diamond, four tennis courts, two volley ball courts, a handball court, and a boxing ring.

Choctawhatchee Bay Forest Reserve Map 1936

Figure 1. 1938 map of Choctawhatchee National Forest showing eight fire towers.

After inspecting Camp F-3 in September 1933, Special Investigator M.L. Grant wrote to CCC Director Robert Fechner in Washington, D.C. on the 26 th praising Captain Bigby on his "care and pains in developing this camp." Grant considered Camp F-3 "one of the nicest camps" that he had visited in the District. The construction of the wooden barracks, the shower facilities, and the garbage disposal system all showed excellent care and planning. Grant also observed that the athletic equipment included baseball equipment for a team of nine men, two volley balls, one basketball, one tennis net, four horseshoe sets, four sets of boxing gloves, and two volley ball nets. All of these materials had come from Fort Benning. The camp was located near several churches, and the camp was also regularly visited by the local ministers. Grant reported to Director Fechner that the morale of the men in Company 1402 "seems to be very high."

In Special Investigator Grant's September 26, 1933 letter to Director Fechner he also mentions that the enrollees had been issued individual toilet articles rather than the "bevier kit." This is in reference to one of the first controversies of the CCC. According to an article that appeared in the June 12, 1933 issue of Time Magazine , Wyoming Republican Senator Robert D. Carey had demanded that the Senate Military Affairs Committee investigate the CCC's purchase of toilet kits for their enrollees. Senator Carey contended that a contract had been awarded to Be Vier & Co., Inc. of Manhattan to supply 200,000 kits at $1.40 each. Since the Army could have bought such kits for 32 cents each, this amounted to a waste of $216,000.

Although expensive, the investigation found the controversy to be a misunderstanding between CCC Director and President Roosevelt's Secretary Louis Howe. Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, wrote in his diary that the "toilet kit squabble" was just another political attack on President Roosevelt.

According to Grant's inspection conducted the week of September 25, 1933, Company 1402's work project consisting of constructing fire lines, thinning stands of timber, maintaining motorways and constructing roads on the Choctawhatchee National Forest under the supervision of Mr. J.R. Stone. The size of the work project, according to the inspection record, was 300,000 acres. There were 143 enrollees assigned to the forest work, while 25 enrollees were detailed to work in the camp. Another 39 men had been hired locally to the work project, and there were seven men employed by the Forest Service working as supervisors.

By the time of the writing of the company history for the 1934 annual, Company 1402 was maintaining four fire lookout towers, which included the construction and painting of the towers and the landscaping of the tower sites. They had performed timber stand improvement on 37,164 acres. They had constructed 32 miles of telephone lines and were maintaining 57 miles of telephone line. They had built 177 miles of fire lines and were maintaining 275 miles of fire lines. They had built 80 miles of truck trails and were maintaining 198 miles of truck trails. They had surveyed, cleared and stumped 80 acres for a landing field, and built two structures and two towers with 56 acres of landscaping. The enrollees were answering the call to forest fires with an average dispatch time of 3 1/2 minutes, and had also responded in less than ten minutes at 2:00 in the morning to assist in fighting a fire in Niceville.

By January of 1935, there were 11 fire lookout towers on the Choctawhatchee National Forest, and the towers were being manned by the junior enrollees. Special Investigator Neill McL. Coney, Jr. wrote to James J. McEntee, the Assistant Director of the CCC, on January 25, 1935 following an inspection and recommended that using local experienced men (LEM's) as fire tower observers would be less expensive and more effective than using the enrollees. The Army required that two enrollees had to be on duty at all times at ten of the towers. The Army had also been requiring that the Forest Service supply the towers with food for the men each day. This had recently been changed to once a week, but this was still requiring the Forest Service to drive 220 miles to visit the ten towers. The Forest Service also contended that is was unnecessary to have two enrollees at each tower. Using LEM's would be more effective as they were more familiar with the country and could more accurately report the locations of forest fires. Further, the tower sites were equipped with a small house for the towerman. The families of the LEM's could live in these houses assuring the continual presence of the observer. The tower sites were also equipped with telephones and sanitary facilities. A cash allowance given to the LEM's in lieu of food would also save the Forest Service money. The LEM's would be hired from October through March - the local forest fire season. According to the letter, both the Forest Service and the Army had approved of the suggestion.

Through their education program, Company 1402 produced a camp newsletter called The Boggy Bayou Breeze while at Camp F-3 in 1935. Several issues of the newsletter were archived at the University of Florida. The company later produced a newsletter under the titles of Scrappy Daze (March 1936) and the Camp Bigby News (July 1936 through February 1937). Between April and September 1937, Company 1402 produced the Valparaiso News, or submitted articles in the local paper of the same name (Valparaiso is on the western side of Boggy Bayou about a mile west of Niceville). These issues were archived at the University of Chicago. The title Scrappy Daze would have been "borrowed" from the national CCC newsletter Happy Days .

According to the February 12, 1935 issue of The Boggy Bayou Breeze, Captain Bigby returned to his permanent company at Fort Benning, Georgia in September of 1933. He was replaced by Captain Ben L. Tew served as company commander until February of 1934 when he was replaced by Captain (W.S.) Bridges. Captain Bridges was in command for only six weeks before being replaced by Captain D.E. Haven, who served as company commander until December of 1934. He was replaced by Lieutenant Leland L. Stokes. At the time of the February 12 th article, the other officers in camp were Lieutenant Ellis F. Vaughan, serving as camp Welfare Officer, and Lieutenant William C. Hoffman, serving as the Finance and Exchange Officer. L.B. Andrews arrived at the camp to be the camp educational advisor on March 13, 1934. Dr. W.F. McGriff of Niceville was the contract physician.

The camp newsletters give some of the best insight to life in Camp F-3. With the ebb and flow of company morale, it was recorded that since the arrival of Lt. Stokes, many improvements had been made in the camp. The enrollees were getting better meals that were much better prepared. Lt. Stokes and his officers were emphasizing participation in the educational program and there was new interest among the enrollees as this was an opportunity to "fit ourselves for more gainful occupations" after the enrollees finished their enrollment with the CCC. Lt. Stokes had 21 students in a woodworking class. Lt. Vaughan was offering a course in high school English, and Lt. Hoffman was teaching a course in radio. The camp recreation hall had been improved with attractive seats, curtains, a mantel, new lighting fixtures and shades, two new reading rooms, and writing and card tables provided. Two pool tables had been acquired, and the wood working class had built two ping-pong tables. The company had received new tennis rackets and tennis balls, and new indoor baseball equipment. They had also received a new mimeograph machine, which was being used to make copies of the camp newsletter. They had recently organized a "recreation club" in the camp that was strongly supported by the camp commander. The purpose of the club was to use camp talent in putting on a show every week. The club was under three "heads" that were in charge of music and dramatics, debating, and boxing.

The February 12, 1935 issue of The Boggy Bayou Breeze also reported that the relationship between the local town and the camp had improved. Many of the remarks made by the townspeople had gotten back to the camp, and there had been a general improvement over the last few weeks. The newsletter also reported that "red measles" was in the camp and there were 12 "scabies boys" in the camp hospital and another 14 confined to quarters.

The February 19, 1935 issue of The Boggy Bayou Breeze recorded that the enrollees interested in boxing and wrestling had been putting on bouts for the entertainment of the fellows in camp, and it was hoped the quarantine would be lifted soon so they could "display their art before the citizens of the surrounding community." Under the supervision of Vivian L. Wade, director of the music department of the recreation club, enrollees had started a four piece band consisting of one violin, two guitars, and a mouth organ (harmonica). The band was providing the camp with entertainment during their period of quarantine. It was hoped that more enrollees would join and practice singing with the new piano that had just arrived in camp.

The February 19 th issue of The Boggy Bayou Breeze also included news from the side camp at Metts. The camp education advisor (CEA), Mr. L.B. Andrews, was splitting his time between the side camp and the main camp at Niceville. He had given a lecture on the importance of an education at the side camp where there had been 100% attendance by the enrollees. A rumor running around the side camp was that they would soon be building a full camp. All of the enrollees at the side camp were talking about the full camp.

Side camps were temporary camps created when the driving time to the work project made it practical to establish a smaller tent camp closer to the work. Side camps generally had 60 enrollees. Metts was located in the middle of the western half of the Choctawhatchee National Forest. There was a fire tower there, and the location appears well suited for working on the western portion of the national forest.

According to the February 26, 1935 issued of The Boggy Bayou Breeze, there were still 19 enrollees in the hospital, presumably with measles. The quarantine was expected to last another two weeks, but a premium or reward was being offered to anyone who could find a case of measles in Niceville. Dr. McGriff was willing to lift the quarantine if the town was already exposed to the measles. Meanwhile, the enrollees were preparing for the baseball season, hoping to win the District Championship. The enrollees were also playing ping-pong and billiards, and enjoying a new reading room that had been built in the recreation hall. Another "activity" mentioned in the newsletter, although not considered a sport, was fire fighting, which was evidently taking up a great deal of the enrollees' time. No details given about forest fires, other than "Boy, it is hot."

On March 5, 1936, The Boggy Bayou Breeze reported that there were 14 enrollees in the infirmary and six more confined to quarters. They did not consider this a high number of sick enrollees given the cold weather and the measles in camp, but as of the writing of the newsletter, the measles quarantine had finally been lifted. Unfortunately, just as the quarantine was lifted, the camp was called to a forest fire on a Saturday afternoon that they continued to fight until Sunday noon.

It was also reported in the March 5 th issue that the enrollees out on work details were finally being brought hot lunches. In the past, the working details had carried their lunches with them to the woods, and by lunch time, the lunches were not too good. Under the new system, the enrollees took mess kits into the woods (World War I army surplus) and hot meals were brought out to the work crews. This allowed the enrollees to get three hot meals a day and was greatly appreciated by the enrollees.

In most of the CCC camps, the camp exchange, or "canteen" was the place to get a snack, toiletries, stationery, and other personal items used during the free time in camp. Most items in the canteen sold for a nickel or a dime, and the profits raised from the sales were used to purchase other needed items for the camp. There had been an audit of the camp exchange on February 24th, and the audit showed that the canteen had a balance of $163.34 cash on hand; another $95.29 in a bank account in town; and an inventory of $277.53. The canteen did not owe any money, and at the time of the audit was worth $1,014.45, including the furniture and fixtures. There had been $886.85 worth of goods sold at a profit of $204.31, and a dividend of $150.00 had been declared for the recreation fund. In the last two months the canteen had given $100.00 to the Company Fund, and another $200.00 to the Recreation Fund. The enrollees of Company 1402 were reminded that the "old canteen checks" had to be spent before March 8th or they would have no value. A new type of canteen check was to be issued before the 8 th .

Canteen checks, also known as coupons, were issued to the enrollees in booklets of twenty five-cent coupons. Each coupon in the booklet had a serial number to identify the enrollee. The enrollee would balance his account with the company canteen on pay day. Some CCC camps issued canteen tokens rather than the paper coupons.

The March 12, 1936 issue of The Boggy Bayou Breeze reported that Dr. W.F. McGriff, the local contract doctor from Niceville, was being replaced by 1 St Lieutenant Hale Collum. The enrollees were hoping that Lt. Collum wasn't a big advocate of castor oil as a cure-all. In many of the CCC camps, a dose of castor oil, cod liver oil, or "CCC oil" was the most commonly prescribed medicine, especially when the doctor was not in camp and only an enrollee was in charge of the infirmary.

The March 12 th issue also reported that the enrollees had made some improvements to Camp F-3, clearing all of the land within the camp area in preparation to planting grass seeds. For the past three or four weeks the enrollees had been digging roots and hauling the roots away in trucks. The area was now ready for planting, and it was hoped that soon the camp grounds would be covered in grass. The educational program was receiving a new instructor for the wood-working class. The enrollees were excited about this as they would be taught to make practically any article or other fixture that they might need in their homes. The other class to be offered was commercial study, where they would be instructed in typing, short-hand, bookkeeping, and business English. While the enrollees realized that they might not all become expert accountants or bookkeepers, the course would assist them in keeping the books and records on their farm, at a garage, or a filling station. These courses offered education opportunities vastly different from what they had been given in the common schools prior to their enlistment in the CCC. For most enrollees, the previous school experience was being taught abstract principles of English and other languages. The courses in the CCC camps were designed to teach them something tangible that would "pay us in dollars and cents." According to the article, it was hard to conceive of any man not taking advantage of this opportunity.

The wood-working class was often a favorite in the CCC camps. Not only did the class prepare the enrollees for future employment, but the enrollees could provide all the furniture and fixtures needed in the camp recreation hall, reading rooms, and other buildings. Enrollees made extra money in camp by selling furniture and other items they had made in the class. In many camps, enrollees made enough money before Christmas to afford gifts for every member of their family.

The enrollees were being kept busy fighting forest fires according to the March 12, 1935 issue of The Boggy Bayou Breeze . They had been called out to a fire at 4 o'clock in the morning. They fought the fire under the supervision of Forest Ranger Snyder, Assistant Ranger W.L. Davis, and the Fire Guard Tom Brown of the Forest Service. CCC leader J.Q. Adams and assistant leader C.J. Bush also provided supervision to the enrollees. The fire was put out in time to make it back to the camp for breakfast.

Another fire called the enrollees out of their beds at 3:45 in the morning. A fire near the Weaver Creek Fire Tower, about 40 miles west of Camp F-3 also required all the field crews at the Metts side camp. The enrollees from the side camp returned to Metts that evening, but the enrollees from Camp F-3 fought the fire all night long. They finally returned to Niceville at 6:30 the following morning. They were fed and promptly went to bed. Some of the enrollees slept through and missed the noon chow line. The Weaver Creek fire was at that point the largest fire of the season.

At the time of the publishing of the 1936 CCC District G annual, 1 st Lieutenant Harold W. Gourgues was the commanding officer of Camp F-3, 2 nd Lieutenant Paul F. Davis was the Exchange Officer, and Mr. John O. Boyton was the Camp Educational Advisor. The work project was under the supervision of Y.W. Kirkland. The other Forest Service personnel assigned to the work project as foremen were S.T. Ward, H.G. Wyman, H.C. McCray, Fred Hawkins, and C.C. Craig.

According to the "company history" written for the annual, the accomplishments in the woods were "so stupendous that cold figures do not adequately express what has actually been done in the Choctawhatchee National Forest." Million of seedlings had been raised and planted; hundreds of miles of roads and trails had been constructed and maintained; wooden and concrete bridges had been constructed on the forest crossing crystal clear streams; and timber stand improvement had been completed on section after section, releasing the growth of the pine trees by eliminating the competition from the "worthless growth." Miles of telephone lines had been constructed, and fire towers and other buildings erected. Forest fires had been reduced to an "incredible minimum acreage of loss." These improvements on the Choctawhatchee National Forest had resulted in the production of millions of feet of lumber and thousands of barrels of turpentine and resin.

The educational program in Camp F-3 had seen steadily improvement. Two enrollees had completed their work for a high school diploma, and another 15 enrollees would be doing so in the very near future. Company 1402 boasted that they were the first camp in Florida to initiate classes in the morning. The enrollees were enjoying and getting far more benefit from the 45-minute morning classes as they were often too tired to attend the evening classes.

Company 1402 was transferred to Otter Creek, Florida in October of 1939 where they established Camp P-83 on October 2nd and worked on private timberlands. On June 27, 1940, the Forest Service ceded the 384,000 acre Choctawhatchee National Forest to the War Department. Company 1413, was transferred from Homerville, Georgia and established Camp Army-1 at Niceville on October 1, 1940 and assisted in the construction of the landing field and other structures for the Army Air Corps at Eglin Air Field."

Documentation for CCC Camps 1402 and 1413 at Niceville:


 Uncle Sam and the CCC:
    "To honor the veterans of WWII is to honor Americans from all walks of life, backgrounds, experiences and locations. Their stories tell the story of America. The soldier has a common image; and yet, there is a segment of WWII veterans that were inducted into the rigid military environment already armed with experiences that would put them ahead of the game. That experience was the Civilian Conservation Corps.
    The four presidential terms of Franklin D. Roosevelt were plagued with one national crisis after another. As he readied himself for his first term, America was in the grip of the Great Depression, unemployment was reaching 25%, and socialist factions were gaining popularity. Amid the social and economic unrest, the American public was becoming disgruntled about their prospects for the future. In 1932 as FDR's campaign song, "Happy Days are Here Again", sang out across the nation the hope of citizens was lifted to new heights and he was elected in a landslide victory over Herbert Hoover.
    Inaugurated on March 4, 1933, America's 32nd Commander and Chief was talking the helm of a troubled land. Unemployment ravaged the ranks of the old, the handicapped, the uneducated and the young. Available jobs went to the breadwinner and in many cases those wages were not adequate to support the family. President Roosevelt was aware that he needed to get people back to work.
    Roosevelt acted quickly. On March 21, the President sent a message to the 73rd congress: "I propose to create a civilian conservation corps to be used in simple work, not interfering with normal employment, and confining itself to forestry, the prevention of soil erosion, flood control and similar projects. More important, however, than material gains, will be the moral and spiritual value of such work."
    For ten days, Congress worked diligently and on March 31, 1933 the Emergency Conservation Work legislation was signed. It became commonly referred to as the Civilian Conservation Corps. On April 5, Robert Fechner, an organized labor leader, was named by executive order as the Executive Director. The President named the Secretaries of War, Agriculture, Interior, and Labor as his advisory council. Determined to save America's youth from the "moral dry rot" that accompanied excessive unemployment he set about to save two of the nation's most valuable nature resources: men and land.
    The plan was straight forward: The War Department would transport, feed, clothe, shelter, educate and provide health services. The Department of Agriculture and Interior developed natural resource improvement projects. The Department of Labor identified those on relief and the unemployed.
    The War Department was the only entity with the infrastructure to provide logistics for such a large body of men and the transport of enrollees amounted to the largest peace-time movement of people recorded in America to that date. Eventually, this plan placed the responsibility of millions of young men within the care of the military system.
    April 7, 1933 marked the first day of recruitment for the young enrollees of Roosevelt's Tree Army and Henry Rich from Alexandria ,VA, became recognized as America's first CCC Enrollee. On April 17, Rich was among the first contingent of CCC enrollees to slog through the mud into an open clearing in the George Washington National Forest. The nation's first CCC camp, Camp Roosevelt NF-1 was established.
   CCC camps were manned with approximately 200 people that included enrollees, military leadership and the conservation project staff. The enrollee requirements were simple: unemployed, unmarried, healthy and between the ages of 17 - 25. Their youthful appearance soon gave way to the nickname of "CCC Boys" which is still commonly used today.
   The CCC development plan called for 250,000 men to be enrolled by July 1933. The military logistics system made this possible and was the nucleus of the CCC program. After WW I, the military recognized a need to segment the nation into the nine corps of the Army. Each corps was commanded by a General officer and the CCC fell into alignment with this military structure. From the General Officer at the corps level to the Camp Commander, the military was in charge except during the eight hour work day which was spent on natural resource conservation projects.
   As the program matured, the resemblance of the military lifestyle developed a cadre of men who were accustomed to the multicultural communal living arrangements that mimicked the military environment. From the very beginning, CCC boys began and ended their day with reveille and retreat, slept in military tents or barracks, wore WWI surplus military clothing, ate in the mess hall, and the military maintained all records and pay responsibilities. The daily routine associated with personal hygiene, laundry, inspections, and other types of self improvement was a change for many unaccustomed to indoor plumbing and the discipline necessary for positive personal deportment. The Camp Commander was the highest authority.
   Many camp duties reflected the military procedure. The company clerk who worked for the Camp Commander kept the camp records and was accustomed to official forms and process. The cooks who worked under the Mess Sergeant became familiar with the military culinary procedure for preparation, food safety, ordering and storage. Records indicate that 45,000 truck drivers were trained annually. Knowing how to drive a truck safely, the motor pool system, truck maintenance and mechanics, was a favorite position within the camp but also provided a skill to the CCC enrollee as he moved into the private sector or into the military.
   Leader positions in the CCC were many times compared to the rank of Sergeant and the CCC employee could move laterally into the military system. Generally speaking, CCC enrollees achieved rank earlier and many made permanent careers in the military or the conservation agencies. These opportunities might never have come to pass without the stint in the CCC.
   Regular and reserve Officers of all branches of service were pulled into the CCC program. The CCC leadership role developed practical experiences which the reserve officer normally would not have received during peace-time. Many highly decorated military leaders of WWII were CCC Camp Commanders. Second Lieutenant William Train who was present at Camp Roosevelt on April 17, 1933 finished his military career as Lieutenant General Train. Records indicate that there were mixed feelings among some reserve officers about serving on active duty in a CCC Camp. After all, the CCC enrollees were not soldiers and the pomp and circumstance associated with the officer corps was not available in remote rural communities.
   As America anxiously watched the war in Europe escalate, President Roosevelt declared a limited national emergency. In 1940 the National Defense Act changed the educational policies. National Defense Training Program was taught through local schools and CCC enrollees were allowed to enroll. Training included many military based skills such as Morse code, radio operation and maintenance, welding, aircraft maintenance, auto mechanics, and clerk-typing. Other training that was an asset to the national defense system was also available. Camps were placed on military bases and enrollees built airfields, ammunition ranges, storage areas, and many other kinds of military buildings. By the end of the CCC in 1942, it was less involved in conservation and almost entirely a civil defense organization.
   Today scholars still question the success of New Deal programs and their lasting affect on the stability of the American economy. The one intangible benefit produced by the CCC and other New Deal programs was hope. Hope that comforted the economically depressed and hope that gave people courage to wish for something better to take root as America moved into a great time of trial - the second World War." (Article from the WWII Journal - WWII Remembrance Weekend, 2006 by -- Joan Sharpe)


CCC Camp 1402:
   "Company 1402 Camp Fla., F-3 Niceville Florida was organized April 30, 1933 with Captain Walter Bigby, 67 Infantry, U. S. Army, Commanding. This Company has the distinction of being the first Company to finish conditioning at Fort Benning, Georgia, and was the first CCC Camps established in the State of Florida.
     In the thirty-seven months of its existence, (still going strong at the time this is written) Company 1402 has had eleven Company Commanders; Captain Walter Bigsby, Captain B. L. Tew, Captain W. S. Bridges, Captain D. E. Haven, 1st Lieutenant L. L. Stokes, Captain R. F. Blades, Major Forrest Hill, Captain K. O. Cuttle, 2nd Lieutenant Ellis L. Forrester, Captain E. D. Dickey, and 1st Lieutenant H. W. Gourgues.
     The site selected for this camp was at first a blackjack thicket, growing in white sand, devoid of fertility and which would have been most discouraging to any less determined leaders than those with which the company has had the good fortune to draw.
     The camp site has been converted into a veritable oasis under the inspired leadership of the various leaders. Green lawns stretch over the wide expanses and flowers of various hues, both native and domesticated, bloom continuously from early Spring to late Fall. Walk-ways through the lawns are hedged with a native flowering sage, and red rock outline the parks, which extend throughout the length of the Camp, in front of the barracks. Vine-covered retreats for summer lounging were designed and constructed during the past Sprig, and have added materially to an already highly satisfactory landscape.
     The accomplishments of the boys "in the woods" is so stupendous that cold figures do not adequately express what has actually been done in the Choctawhatchee National Forest, largest National Forest in the south. Millions of seedlings raised and planted; hundreds of miles of roads and trails constructed and maintained; bridges, both wooden and concrete, built across dozens of crystal clear streams; section after section improved in timber stand by release of pines from worthless growth; millions of feet of lumber marketed and thousands of barrels of turpentine and resin manufactures; fires held down to an incredible minimum acreage of loss; miles of telephone line constructed; buildings and towers erected and countless other things, some small, some large, but all important.
     Educationally the affairs of the company have advanced steadily so that this year there were two high school boys who completed their work for graduation and at least fifteen more who will do so in the near future.
     Company 1402 was the first Company in Florida, it is reported, to adopt the morning hours for classes - attended by the entire Company. Forty-five minutes every morning is devoted to school activities. The men enjoy it, and are getting many times more benefit than from night classes, when they were too tired to attend." (Source: Official Annual of District "G" Fourth Corps Area, 1936. Civilian Conservation Corps. Presswork and Typography by Ruralist Press, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. Engravings by Shreveport Engraving company, Shreveport, Louisiana. Published by Direct Advertising Company, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 1936. (District HQ, Fort Barrancas, Pensacola, FL)

CCC Camp Report 1402, September 25, 1933, page 1:

CCC Camp Report 1933, Page 1 of 2

CCC Camp Report 1402, September 25, 1933, page 2:

Camp Report Sep. 25, 1933 page2

Special Investigator Letter, September 26, 1933 (Note: Electric lights from local power company.)

CCC Director Letter 1933

CCC Camp 1402 Photo at Niceville, 7/8/1933: (Note: CCC barracks located near Jackson Guard while temporary tents were on what today is the location of Edge Elementary School. The photo shows the "New" Niceville High School building across SR 85 from the barracks. The school was destroyed by a hurricane in 1936.) 

CCC Camp 1933, Niceville

1933 CCC Camp 1402 Photo of some Workers Below: Left to right: Unidentified, Allen, Jr., Ed Lisco, Huey Holmes, Unidentified, Mr. Cook, Jim Phillips, Allen, Sr., Unidentified

CCC Camp 1933 Niceville workers

Known Niceville CCC Camp 1402 leaders and members: Jessie S. Adams, A. A. Frasier, Raymond Grace, Joel C. Helms, Ira F. McCullough, Willis J. Nathey, Kenneth Reddick, Pella Webb Thomas, Herman A. Weekley and Vincent A. Whitfield. Leaders: M. R. Ellison, Assistant Leaders: Clyde V. Crosby, James R. Helms, Willis Whitfield and Joel L. Willingham.

1933 CCC Camp 1402 Photo of some Workers and Family Members Below: Willis J. Nathey is sitting on the front bumper. Hughie Holmes is sitting behind the cab of the truck. He was Niceville's first marshall.

 Some Niceville 1933 CCC Workers and Family Members


History of Company 1402 (from 1934) Fla. F-3 Niceville, Florida:
    "What! Haven't you heard of us? The best company in the Civilian Conservation Corps is yours. I'm a liar, am I? Just read about us.  
    The company was originally 172 men practically all from northeast and north counties of Florida. All being sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, for our preliminary training and examination for the Civilian Conservation Corps.
    On May 18, 1933, the company received its entraining order at 1:30 p.m. In record time the entire company, with all equipment, was aboard four passenger and one baggage coach en-route to Niceville, Fla., coming by way of Montgomery, Ala., Pensacola, Fla., and Crestview, Fla., arriving at 8:05 the following morning.
    By 1:30 that afternoon all men and equipment had been established in a temporary camp on the Niceville School grounds. Do you remember our first meal here? Sergeant Meadows and Sergeant Brooks had a good hot supper for us, and was it good! Wow.
    While in temporary camp forty local men selected by the Forest Service were enrolled. This brought our authorized company strength to two hundred and twelve.
    In a few days after our arrival, a large number were turned over to the Forest Service, to begin their duties as members of the Civilian Conservation Corps. In the Choctawhatchee National Forest of approximately 400,000 acres. This being under direct supervision of John H. (Navy) Stone, project superintendent and his staff. Principal Forest Ranger E. R. McKee is in permanent charge of the Jackson Ranger Station District.
    Work on the permanent camp started immediately on land adjacent to the Jackson Ranger Station. Construction of fourteen buildings was done by members of the company - also the recreation grounds were built by the men. These consist of a baseball diamond, four tennis courts, two volley ball courts, handball court and boxing ring. It is easily seen that recreational facilities are plentiful.
    Our first season of athletics was favorable. Seventy-five per cent of all football games won. Nine out of fourteen baseball games won and other athletics in like proportion.
    Our newer members of Camp Bigby, Company 1402, are from the central and southeast counties of Florida. Having been sent to Ft. Barrancas, Fla., for their preliminary examination for the Civilian Conservation Corps. This company has been extremely fortunate in having new enrollees of the highest type for replacements. There have been to date two new groups of new enrollees. Company 1402 has established a fine reputation in this and adjoining counties as to character, also quantity and quality of work accomplished.
    At 2:00 a.m. when every one was asleep in less than ten minutes after the fire which gutted the downtown section of Niceville, the men of this company were busy combating the flames, saving many thousands of dollars worth of property.
    The company's average time for getting out of camp on fire duty is less than three and one-half minutes.
    For a work record, how is this:
    Maintained four lookout towers which include landscaping, painting, construction, etc; 37,164 acres forest timber stand improvement as of May 25; average number of bridges per week, three or four crews; telephone lines constructed, 32 miles; telephone lines maintained, 57 miles; fire lanes constructed, 177 miles; fire lanes maintained, 275 miles; truck trails constructed, 80 miles; truck trails maintained, 198 miles; 2 buildings and 2 towers constructed; 56 acres landscaping; 80 acre landing field surveyed, stumped and cleared.
    Our officers to date have been Captain Walter A. Bigby, 67th Infantry (medium tanks), our first commanding officer in whose honor this camp was named. It is to him that we owe most of our fine work and good times in the Civilian Conservation Corps.
    Captain Ben L. Tew, Infantry Reserve, replaced Captain Bigby, Captain Gatewood Bridges later taking Captain Tew's place. Finally Captain Dwight E. Haven, QMC-Res., replaced Captain Bridges.
    The junior officers have been lst Lieut. Bridges, 1st Lieut. James M. Howard, Medical Officer, now stationed at Army Hospital, Ft. Barrancas. Officers that were with us for a short period of time were Captain Haag and lst Lieut. A. R. Moore, also 2nd Lieut. Harry F. Hansen, and lst Lieut. Ivy B. Sorrels, Inf-Res.
    As to our location we are nineteen miles south of Crestview on state road No. 54, on the edge of beautiful Choctawhatchee Bay, an ideal location as we are in the hill section of the county.
    Company 1402 has a reputation for readiness and willingness to work at any hour and place that is well earned. They have done, are doing and will continue to do their best to maintain the reputation of the best company in the Civilian Conservation Corps.
    Several members of this company have been promoted to responsible jobs with the Forest Service. This merely goes to show the high calibre of the men of this company."

Leadership roster of the 1934 Company 1402: Capt. Dwight E. Haven, Q.M.C. Res.
First Lieut. Ivy B. Sorrells, Inf. Res., Second Lieut. Harry F. Hansen, Inf. Res., F. A. Collins, Project superintendent; L. B. Andrews, A.B.E., Educational Adviser; J. W. McGriff, M.D. Surgeon; L. O. Barber, 1st Sergeant

(Names taken from the 1934 roster - these men are from Niceville)

    Among Leaders: J. C. Helms, Huey Holmes, J. W. McGriff and Willis Whitfield
    Among Assistant Leaders: M. R. Ellison, Quincy Adams, Stanley Elliott, J. R. Helms, S. M. Johnston, W. Purvis, and J. L. Willingham
    Among Members: G. W. Adkinson, R. H. Aldrich, J. A. Cain, Bill Davis, W. T. Davis, B. F. Garrett, J. O. Gray, Carl Grace, J. Mathews, W. J. Nathey, W. C. Owens, R. C. Padgett, J. Phillips, H. L. Reaves, R. Reaves, Z. Smith and B. F. Whitifield

(Source: Memories of District G, Civilian Conservation Corps, 1934. Civilian Conservation Corps. Typography and Presswork by Parke-Harper Company, Little Rock. Engravings by Peerless Engraving Company, Little Rock. 1934. (District HQ, Fort Barrancas, Pensacola, FL)

Gadsden Men Help Save Town From Ruin:
    "Gadsden county men at the Civilian Conservation Camp at Niceville played an important part in suppressing the fire and saving the town of Niceville from destruction early Friday morning, according to Velo Skipper, of Greensboro, who is stationed at the Niceville CCC.
    The 200 CCC men formed bucket brigades and in cooperation with the fire crews of the Choctawhatchee national forest did yoemen service in saving buildings and stocks of merchandise, after three grocery stores, a dry goods store, creamery, post office building, hotel, drug store and fish warehouses were destroyed. The loss is estimated at $100,000, with little insurance. There was no running water with which to combat the flames and it appeared for a time that the town would be completely destroyed until the forest fire fighters and CCC workers took charge."  (Gadsden County Times Newspaper 1/25/1934)

Gadsden County Boys in Hospital: Injuries and Illness Have Laid Up Four Youths in CCC Camp:
     "Four Gadsden county boys who are members of Company 1402, at Camp Bigby, near Niceville, are laid up in the hospital at Fort Barancas, (Pensacola, FL) according to W. C. Pearce, who was home for the past week end. H. A. Matthews is a victim of a back injury suffered in a fall. C. M. Cox has a scalp wound, sustained when he fell off a pile driver. J. O. Carman, an ambulance driver, and O. G. Ogburn have measles.
     Most of the Gadsden county boys are plannig to reenlist for another term. Those who have served two encampment periods may reenter for a term of three months, and those who have been in camp but one term can enroll for a full period of six months.
     J. B. Poppell is serving as ambulance driver during the illness of Carman.
     J. B. Jones is another Gadsden county youth who is quite active at the camp. He is president of the recreational club, and right now is busy organizing a young men's democratic club. C. B. "Red" Peters is the company baker. Pearce has the rank of senior first aid man. The federal government has just announced its approval of quite a number of camps for the corps (Civilian Conservation Corps). Georgia will have 38; New Jersey, 24; Missouri, 21; Maine, 15; Maryland, 13 and Kansas, 11." (Gadsden County Times Newspaper 3/29/1934)

Gadsden Boys Enjoy Camp Life:
    "Another Big Dance is Planned by Civilian Conservation Corps at Niceville.
Gadsden countians who are members of Company 1402, Civilian Conservatin Corps, in camp at Niceville, are enjoying their stay, according to W. C. Pearce, of Quincy, who was home recently visiting relatives. They plan another of their big, pleasurable dances and it will be held at the camp on Saturday evening, May 26. The "Southerners," well known local musical organization, directed by Curtis Davidson, will provide the music for the event and the public is invited.
     C. B. Greene, of Greensboro, a member of the camp, is developing into a first rate baseball pitcher, according to Pearce. He went the whole route sucessfully in a game recently with the boys from the Panama City camp.
     Captain G. R. Bridges, who has been in charge of the camp, is now confined to the hospital at Fort Barancas, and has been succeeded by Captain Dwight E. Haven, of Tampa. Captain Bridges will retire from the work as soon as he is released from the hospital.
     The original commanding officer of the camp, Captain Walter A. Bigby, is now stationed at Fort Benning, near Columbus, Ga., with the Army tank corps. Horace "Dock" Griffin, of Gadsden county, has enlisted in the tank corps and is now at Fort Benning. Charles "Jake" Toole, of Quincy, has indicated that he will enlist under Captain Bigby as soon as he is discharged from Niceville. Thirty nine Florida boys have been enrolled for a term at Niceville."
(Gadsden County Times Newspaper 5/17/1934)

CCC 1934 Annual, District G, Company 1402 Niceville, Camp Bigby photo:

CCC Company 1402  Photo 1934

CCC 1934 Annual, District G, Company 1402 Niceville, members photo:

CCC Camp 1402 Members Photo

CCC Letter, Camp 1402 Fire Tower Expenses, January 25, 1935, Page 1 of 3:

CCC Letter 1935, Page 1 of 3

CCC Letter, Camp 1402 Fire Tower Expenses, January 25, 1935, Page 2 of 3:

CCC Letter 1935, Page2 of 3

CCC Letter, Camp 1402 Fire Tower Expenses, January 25, 1935, Page 3 of 3:

CCC Letter 1935, Page 3 of 3


The Boggy Bayou Breeze VOL. 1 Company 1402 Niceville, Florida, Tuesday, February 12th 1935 (Note: The following articles are transcribed from this CCC newsletter.)

Prize Camp of District "G" - Brief History of Camp Bigby, CCC Florida Camp F-3:
Camp Bigby has the distinction of being the first Company in 4th Corps Area to complete conditioning at Ft. Benning and of course the first CCC Camp in the State of Florida.

The Company was called into being April 30, 1933, with Capt. Walter Bigby as Camp Commander from whom it derived its name. The junior officers were Capt. C. H. Hagg, Executive Officer, 1st. Lt. J. W. Howard, Camp Medical Officer, The Forest Personnel were John H. Stone, Proj. supt., Ranger E. R. McKee and Clinton G. Smith, Forest supervisor of the entire Choctawhatchee National Forest, containing at that time about 20,000 acres.

On Sept. 15, 1933, Capt. Bigby returned to his permanent company at Ft. Benning. He was succeeded as the Camp Commander by Capt. Ben L. Tew, who served in this capacity until about February, 1934, when he was succeeded by Capt. Bridges. After about six weeks Capt. Bridges was succeeded by Capt. D. E. Haven. Capt. Haven served as Camp Commander until December 1934, when our present Camp Commander, Lieut. Leland L. Stokes, succeeded him. Our present Mess Officer is 1st Lt., Ellis F. Vaughan, who is also camp Welfare Officer. Lt. William C. Hoffman is Finance and Exchange Officer. L. B. Andrews came to camp as Educational Advisor, March 13, 1934. Dr. W. F. McGriff of Niceville, Fla., is our contract physician.

It would be futile to attempt to convince the boys of Co. 1402 that a better corps of officers could be found anywhere.

The leaders and assistant leaders will be listed elsewhere in this issue.

Noted Improvements in Camp Morale of Florida Camp F-3
It is true the statement, "The Best Camp In District "G", covers a world of territory, but we, as members of Co. 1402 have a perfect right to feel that way about it. We do, and until disproved, we shall see it thus.

What constitutes an outstanding Camp? We believe District, together with Corps Area would designate that camp which is running the most smoothly and has the highest morale, the best camp.

Since Lt. Stokes has taken command of the camp, improvements have followed improvements. We are getting better meals as a result and they are much better prepared.

New interest is being manifested in our Educational Program. Lt. Stokes with his entire staff, is interested in seeing us take advantage of the opportunity to fit ourselves for more gainful occupations after our term of enrollment is out. He has an enrollment of twenty-one boys in his woodworking class. Lt. Vaughan is offering a course in High School English, Lt. Hoffman is teaching us radio.

Our recreation room has been moved inside, attractive seats have been provided, curtains, a mantel, new lighting fixtures, shades, two new reading rooms, writing and card tables have been provided. Two pool tables have been provided while the woodworking class has built two "brand new" ping pong tables. We have new tennis rackets, tennis balls and new indoor baseball equipment. We have a new mimeograph machine which is possible this camp paper, our medium of expression.

A more friendly relation is being established between the members of our camp and the people of the surrounding community. We have heard many remarks from the people of Niceville that there has been a general improvement in the last few weeks.

Our District Chaplain made the remark, on one of his recent visits, what there was a very marked improvement in the entire camp morale. He said something about esprit de corps, but we forgive him for calling us that.

We feel we have one of the best liked chaplains in Corps Area, and always look forward to the time for him to be with us again. We realize that he is really a friend of ours.

The CCC In History:
Whose idea is the CCC? President Roosevelt, a friend of all alike, conceived the idea of this organization before he was nominated by the Democratic Party for the Presidency. From the study of statistics he learned that around 3,000,000 mostly young men, were idle during normal non-depression times. He knew many young men out of employment became dissatisfied with life and often became criminals. If our boys could be placed in some organization that would furnish them remunerative work to the government, and at the same time care for them and their families who needed help, and were worthy, it would not only save to the nation those boys as useful citizens, but would raise the morale of the entire country. The greatest opportunity seemed to offer itself in the forest. Hence we feel very grateful to our far seeing president for this opportunity to serve our country as well as ourselves in this great conservation movement.

Can there be any question, judging from past results, that this achievement will go down in history as the greatest accomplishment of this outstanding age of achievements in the United States.

 "More than 50% of the boys and girls of high school age in America are now in school", according to the New York Times. This is indeed a significant fact in the rapid growth of education in any country. The percentage is higher in urban than in rural communities. In some cities almost the entire population of these ages are in school. Education is rising to higher and higher levels. What can be more encouraging for the future of our Capital Democracy in which the people rule, than the fact a large percentage are acquainting themselves with what constitutes a good and well governed Democracy? When Alexander Hamilton said, "Your common people are a beast" he means those who are uneducated. In a country where talent has a chance to rise, all who possibly can, should avail themselves of as good education as possible. That is why President Roosevelt, in his wisdom has made it possible for the boys in the CCC Camp to continue their education during enrollment. Thousands of us fellows will go back home better prepared to assume leadership in our respective communities

Sick and Sickening:
Well the scabies boys are still scabbing. We still have twelve of them on the scratching list but I am afraid we will loose five of them Sunday. W. B. Jones says he "Sure wants to get out of isolation" I think all will be glad to get out of the "Cooks Quarters".

One more case of Red Measles today. Know what that means, don't you boys? Can't see your gals for another two weeks.

I think we are all glad to see our first Sgt., "Boney" Waid, back from the hospital.

Dr. McGriff and I tried to keep "Moses" out of the hospital but in spite of all we could do he had to go in. He is now in the Naval Hospital. Let's all hope he gets along O.K.

There are twelve men in the hospital now and one waiting for the ambulance to come back so he can go. We have fourteen in quarters now.

Oh yes, we have a new infirmary dude with us, George Finnie Williams, sounds like an Alabama name.

Among the Boys in Camp:
Wednesday night of last week we had a very interesting talk by the District Chaplain, W. A. McKee. It was well attended and very much appreciated by all the enrollees.

Quite a few of "the new boys" had their first experience Thursday night at fighting an all night forest fire.

A Recreation Club, staunchly supported by the Camp Commander, was organized this week. The purpose of this club is to use camp talent in putting on one program each week. The club is under three heads which are: Music and Dramatics, Debating, and Boxing. The meeting was one in which very much interest was manifested by those present. The following Officers and Directors were elected:
     President - C. W. Crump
    V-President - V. L. Wade
    Secretary - C. J. Bush
    Sergeant-At-Arms - A. C. Smith
    Director of Debating - S. McDuffie
    Director of Boxing - H. G. Barber
    Director of Music and Dramatics - V. L. Wade
Around forty men have already enrolled in this club.

  It is strange some people don't realize the happiness they can find in helping others. As it's natural for the sun to give light, the clouds refreshing rain, flowers beauty and perfume, so it is natural for us to give.

After enrollee Barber had dropped a nickel into Finck's pay telephone and waited 5 minutes he was asked what he was waiting for. He said, "Gum".

Company Rated List:
    Adams, J. Q. -  USFS
    Beck, C. T. -  Cook
    Ellison, Mr. R.  - Grader
    Hayslip S. W. - Mess Steward
    Holms, J. C. - USFS
    Holms, J. R. - USFS
    Lee, F. P. - supply Sergeant
    Holmes H. W. - USFS
    Newton, W. B. - Cook
    Wait, D. K. - 1st Sgt.
    Whitfield, W. - USFS

Assistant Leaders:
    Aldrich, R. H. - USFS
    Bush, C. J. - USFS
    Chamberlin, D. - Company Clerk
    Hawkins, H. I. - USFS
    Hester, R. J. - Cook
    OíOrange F. J. - Cook
    McCullough, I. S. - USFS
    McDuffie, S. Jr. - ACEA
    McMichon, V. A. - USFS
    Nathey, W. J. - USFS
    Pitts, C. J. - USFS
    Purvis, W. D. - USFS
    Save, J. L. Jr. - Forest Clerk
    Webb, J. T. - Cook
    Willingham, Joel - USFS
    Elliott, S. - USFS

Rupert Brown reports that the first trees to be transplanted in the Choctawhatchee Area, since the CCC, were set today.

Some Company Don'ts:
   Don't enlist in the CCC unless you can "take it".
    I wouldn't get into the evening mess-line minus the old cravat.
    Don't get on the woodpile because you failed to clean up your portion of your barracks.
    Don't forget the Education Hall. Try to get in at least two hours of study each week.
    Don't bite the hand that's feeding you.
    Don't pray for two more weeks of quarantine after this one.
    Don't be a borrow unless you pay back what you borrow.
    Don't break chow-line unless you like to chop wood.

CCC If's:
    If you can hold your self-respect
    When others their's are losing -
    If you can manage your own affairs when otherís are confusing -
    If you can walk with drunks and sober keep -
    If you can talk with fools and not seemed too learned -
    If you can talk with educators and not seem to be illiterate,
    And forget to use the vocabulary you constructed in school -
    If you can take a bath when others have your soap -
    Or dress for town when others have your clothes -
    If you can read while others a match desire -
    Or work mathematics in a noisy crowd -
    If you can take it on the chin and grin,
    When others wish you all your clothes to lend. You'll be a real CCC man.

(Source: copy of this newsletter courtesy of the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries Department of Special and Area Studies Collections)

The Boggy Bayou Breeze  VOL. 1 No. 2 Company 1402 Niceville, Florida, Tuesday, February 19, 1935 (Note: The following articles are transcribed from this newsletter.)

Forest and Army Personnel and Their Positions:
    Lt. Leland L. Stokes - Camp Commander
    Lt. Ellis F. Vaughan - Mess Officer
    Lt. W. C. Hoffman - Exchange Officer
    L. B. Andrews - Education Advisor
    W. F. McGriff, - MD Contract Surgeon
Forest Personnel:
    Frank A. Albert - supervisor of Choctawhatchee, Osceola, Ocala, Apalachicola Forests, comprising in round numbers, about 1,000,000 acres
    Mr. Glen Denning - Staff Technician
    F. A. Collins - Camp superintendent
    Roy McCray, - Cult. Foreman
    Col. Guy Wyman - T. T. Locator
    Bruce Thomas - T. T. Foreman
    Sill Ward - Mechanic
    Jerry Reynolds  - T. T. Foreman
    Henry Reddick - T. T. Foreman

Lieutenant L. N. Buck - 99th Infantry, U.S.A., Regular Army Officer stationed at Fort Benning, has been a visitor of Company 1402, Florida Camp F-3, during the past few days.

Published weekly by a camp staff comprised of the following boys:
    Claude W. Crump - Editor
    Spurgeon McDuffie - Assoc. Editor
    Vivian L. Wade - Soc. Editor
    Charlie J. Bush - Spts. Editor
    Franklin Walls - Metts. Editor

The Value of a CCC Enrollment:
When the Civilian conservation Corps sent out its first call to the American boys they responded wonderfully. There were many thousand who wished to get into the CCC that could not for one reason or another.

After the camps were established and every thing was put into order the Educational Program was installed. This program gives to many the privilege of an education of which previously they had been deprived.

The value of a three to fifteen month 'hitch' in the CCC cannot be estimated. In the very rapid development of a boy's mind and body during his camp life leaves a great impression upon his later life. The things that he daily does are impressed upon his mind and they become habits, such as cleanliness of body and mind.

With the many things of interest as well as educational in the CCC camps a boy's time is taken up with something of great value to him. In his daily contact with other boys and with the knowledge gained by doing useful work he becomes a better citizen.

Every one will have to acknowledge that the CCC has been and will continue to be a very profitable venture. Probably these camps do not accomplish enough work to pay back dollar for dollar the money spent for their maintenance but the value of the educational achievement and better understanding of Life, that the boys receive, will amount to very much more than the money spent.

In and About The Camp:
Summer time isn't very far away; why don't you start saving up for that new swimming suit now? Maybe the Exchange Officer will be able to get some at a better price than you could get from a store. Tennis shoes, too. He's a pretty good fellow if you don't wake him up too soon in the morning.

The fellows interested in boxing and wrestling are getting a real start and are putting on bouts for the entertainment of the fellows in camp and it is hoped that the quarantine will be lifted soon and those talented fellows in this as well as the other fields will have the opportunity of displaying their art before the citizens of the surrounding community.

One of the chief advancements in camp at the present time is that of the Department of Music, headed by Vivian L. Wade who is a real rip-roaring Alabamian with plenty of spunk for doing things. His entertainers furnish their own instruments: Lawson with his violin, Ryals and Hornsby with their guitars, Ellis with his mouth organ etc., make quite a noisy crowd and they are all willing to do all in their power to furnish us with plenty of entertainment during these weeks of quarantine. It is hoped that at some time in the future more will take an active part in the program and practice vocally and with the new piano that arrived this afternoon.

Social Events Around Camp:
Mr. Davis, the District Educational Advisor, goes in for the varieties of tennis: Ping Pong, etc. Ask Barbor. He's an old Billiard drinker, too. Shoots a mean game of pool. Missed a lot of good meals, tho'. Or did he?

Last Sunday there were two Maxwell Field, Ala. Planes at the Airport:
Major Ryan flew down in a P-12B Pursuit ship, and Lieutenant Pratt and his Photo Sgt. Powell flew an O-19B Observation ship down. Both ships and their crews spent Sunday afternoon in the vicinity, Lieut. Pratt and Sgt. Powell having lunch at the Camp.

Recreation Club Puts on Program:
The weekly program of the Recreation Club was rendered last Friday evening and seemed to be well enjoyed by all, including the officers of the camp, together with two visiting officers. It appeared that many of the enrollees found the program much more entertaining than they had anticipated and we hope that it will be like that in the future. We very much appreciate the way in which the officers pitched in and led the affair and we hope that they will continue to help us carry on this club of general fellowship in our camp.

With the Churches:
Baptist Church:
    Preaching every 2nd Saturday and Sunday 11:00 A.M.
    Sunday School every Sunday 10:00 A. M.
    B.Y.P.U. Sunday evening 7:00 P. M.
    Rev. C. C. Williams, Pastor.

Methodist Church:
    Preaching every 4th Sat. and Sunday 11:00 A.M.
    Sunday School every Sunday, 11:00 A.M.
    Epworth League, Sunday, 7:00 P. M.
    Rev. Paul B. Dansby, Pastor.

Valparaiso Community Church:
    Preaching every Sunday 11:00 A. M.
    Sunday School, Sundays, 10:00 A. M.

Announcement: Rev. Simpson, Pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Crestview, Florida will make the regular Wednesday evening address instead of Rev. P. B. Dansby, who is visiting in the Holy Land. Remember, the hour, 7:00 o'clock sharp.

Metts Side Camp News.
Rev. Carlton of the first Methodist Church of Milton, Fla., presented the Metts Camp boys with an interesting sermon Monday, Feb. 11, 1935, which was enjoyed by all.

Captain McKee informed us during his visit here that Rev. Carlton would deliver us a message each Monday evening at 6:00 o'clock.

The Metts Side Camp boys seem to be greatly puzzled about the thought of breaking up house keeping and building a new camp here. That seems to be all you can hear them talking about at this time.

We greatly appreciate the interest shown in the educational work since Mr. Andrews, the C.E.A., gave them a lecture on the importance of an education.

We can truthfully say that we have 100% attendance at this time. Very much interest is being manifested by practically all the boys in camp.

(Source: copy of this newsletter courtesy of the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries Department of Special and Area Studies Collections)

The Boggy Bayou Breeze VOL. 1 No. 3 Company 1402 Niceville, Florida, February 26, 1935 (Note: The following articles are transcribed from this newsletter.)

With the Infirmary:
There are nineteen in the hospital according to the last reports of the Infirmary Sergeant Strickland. We are wondering if Strickland is giving the boys "Bed Time Stories" to lull them to sleep nights. There seems to be some attraction over that way.

Did some say "two more weeks of quarantine?" Park Lee says he is afraid his girl will become old and gray before he sees her again. Be patient, Park, All things come to those who wait; if they wait long enough.

A premium for the one who will find a case of measles downtown. Dr. McGriff says, if we do, he believes we can raise the measles blockade.

Two more men are going to the hospital today.

Our Infirmary must be O.K. The Colonel could find nothing wrong worth mentioning.

In The Woods:
Assistant Leader, C. J. Bush's crew was hauling in the old clay Monday. Yes, they are making our camp look redder and smoother.

"Straw Boss" J. B. Cannon, the best ditcher in camp is really cutting holes in the ground. Yes, the ditches are to protect the roads from being too badly washed.

Col Fuller Visits Camp:
Company 1402 was honored Monday by a visit from the District Commander, Colonel A. L. Fuller. He made a brief inspection of the Camp, staying but a short time. We can truthfully say we are always glad to have our District Commander pay us a visit. This is contrary to the feeling that everybody dreads to see an inspection take place. We trust that very much improvement was seen.

Jack Britton made Paul Whiteman look like the deuce of clubs, Sunday afternoon, as he led his wonderful Camp orchestra out at the Camp gate. This entertainment was fully enjoyed by all passers-by, as well as the boys in Camp.

Hurrah! For Jack and his wonderful orchestra. May they feel inspired to give us a treat many many times.

 A course in Public Speaking is being arranged for, under the sponsorship of our C.E.A., Mr. Andrews. Those who have knocking knees when you get up before an audience come in and get lined up for this interesting course. You cannot go thru life without at some time being called on to get up before an audience and make a talk. You canít do it without practice. We are going to learn; are you?

Camp Sports:
Why do we feel that 1402 is going to bring home some laurels in baseball? Well, they are getting the bats, balls, gloves, mitts, together and getting the kinks out, preparatory to winning the District Championship. We are still trusting some turn of fortune's wheel will turn us out a baseball equipment.

If you hear something rattling like an egg shell in recreation hall, it is doubtless ping pong balls bouncing around. This game is getting hot.

Pool, well, I'd say so. From the sound of rattling billiards it seems some future billiards champion is being developed.

That new reading room is quite an added attraction to the stage in the recreation hall. Boy, are we getting "Tony".

Fire fighting (wait that isn't classed as a sport) is anything but a sport. Boy, is it hot. Seven times hotter than that .

Corps Area Head to Visit District "G":
Major General George Van Horn Mosley Commander of the fourth corps area, will leave Atlanta Monday night for an inspection trip of District "G" and other Florida districts.

(Source: copy of this newsletter courtesy of the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries Department of Special and Area Studies Collections)

The Boggy Bayou Breeze VOL. 1 No. 4 Company 1402 Niceville, Florida, February 26, 1935 (Note: The following articles are transcribed from this newsletter.)

Large Expansion Expected:
Director Fochner disclosed that the CCC will be expanded to 600,000 men providing the funds necessary are made available.

The new enrollment will be based not only on population but on unemployment as well. This will be greatly appreciated by the large cities of the East. Of the 600,000 men 445,000 will be boys classed as juniors. The remaining 55,000 will be Veterans.

The veterans will not be placed in junior camps as leaders but will be placed in camps composed entirely of veterans. The leadership of the boys will be given to the best boys in each camp.

The work of the CCC has been complimented by Director Fochner and we hope that we will receive one in the year to come.

This expansion is welcomed by all the men of this company and they look forward to the time they can welcome the new enrollees to this camp.

With the Infirmary:
The last report from the Infirmary shows 14 in the hospital and six in quarters. This is not so many considering measles and the cold weather. Infirmary Sergeant Strickland received a letter yesterday stating that enrollee C. S. Burton, one of our best pals, had been discharged from the Naval Hospital last Saturday. We all are sorry to get this news because he will be missed in the Infirmary when we go over for some 'medical advice'.

In the Woods:
All details under Foreman Henry Reddick is at present time engaged in building a fill on #05 Fire Line. Ask Assistant Leaders McMichen and Bush how they like to spread clay.

We are sure sorry that some of our star shovel hands had to go A.W.O.L. Monday. It sure did go hard with the 'Straw Bosses'.

We surely regret that McLain, L. W., one of our truck drivers was not able to go out with us Monday. Wonder if 'pay day' had any thing to do with it. We hope to see him bright and early Tuesday morning.

"Fiddling Bill" Lawson sure is a good truck driver. Monday was his first day but he made the grade O.K.

A. A. Kelly must be enjoying himself in the hospital or he is sick, bad, wonder which. We sure need him back on the job.

We are sorry that Jack Nixon, our future baseball captain, had to go to the hospital. We all hope to see him back on the job.

The detail under Foreman Bruce Thomas sure is making the roots fly. Keep it up boys there is not many more million of them left for you to cut.

Oh! Oh! When will rut-logging be over? Asst. Leader C. J. Bush

Camp Happenings:
Many of our boys were called out last Saturday afternoon to fight another one of those "bothersome fires" and had to continue the work until Sunday at Noon. It seems rather an inappropriate time for a fire to occur, just when we had gotten out of the much discussed quarantine.

Fresh Meat is the word we all heard last evening as 22 new men came to this camp from Co. 1425 located at Chumuckla Springs, Fla. We are glad to welcome these fellows and hope that they will like our camp fine.

We were honored with a visit by Mr. Glen Denning the new Road superintendent who resumed the duties left by Mr. John Stone recently. Mr. Glen Denning stopped by last Friday on his way through the district and reviewed briefly the work done by the boys here. We hope he found everything in keeping with his expectations.

The Mess-hall has some new changes. The tables have been rearranged to it makes more room and gives the hall a neater appearance, thanks to Lt. Vaughan.

New lights have been added to the bath house. They were placed above the spigots for the purpose of furnishing better lights for the "guys with bristles".

No hot baths last night because the boiler is out. A new one is being installed and we will soon have hot water, Boy! Oh! Boy!

At the Bar":
Always buy from your Camp Exchange where the dividend will be used for your benefit. Below are the results of last month's audit as shown by Lt. Hoffman's Exchange Books.

The Sub-district Inspector audited and inspected the Camp Exchange of February 24th 1935 and the following results were shown - - - -

There was a balance of cash on hand of $163.34, cash in the Bank of $95.29, the inventory of $277.53 was paid for and furniture and fixtures amounting to $144.35 was all the property of the Exchange. Coupons amounting to $291.00 were to be collected pay day.

The Camp Exchange did not owe a single person on the day of the audit, and was worth exactly $1014.45.

There was $886.85 worth of goods sold at a profit of $204.31, after all expenses were paid.

A dividend of $150.00 was declared to the Recreation Fund.

Within the last two months the Camp Exchange has turned over to the Company Fund $100.00 and to the Recreational Fund $150.00 a total of $250.00.

All old canteen checks must be spent before March 8, 1935 or they will be just like "wooden nickels". A new type will be issued before that time and you had best dig out all the old type or it will be too bad.

Forest Fires:
The whistle blows, we fall out to see what it is all-about, and this is what we hear, "Get your canteens and load on truck #10". Then we hear, "Boney, I havenít got to go, have I?" "Say, Boney, I have a date tonight. Let someone else go in my place."

In 1930, more than fifty million acres were swept by forest fires. It is estimated that it would cost four-hundred and fifty-million dollars to reforest this burned-over land and it would take over four-hundred years at the present rate. In 1930 there averaged 500 forests fires each day.

Hot Lunches:
In the past the working details carried lunches to the woods with them and as you know they were not too good at lunch time. This has been abolished and all enrollees get three hot meals each day.

They arise at 4:00 and leave camp at 5:00 and return to camp at 1:00 there fore making it possible to serve noon chow to all except one detail.

This detail, under Jack Willis, carries their mess-kits out to the woods with them and hot food is carried out to them. This system is welcomed by all the men.

Claude Crump won the spelling match last night between #1 and #2 barracks. Look out for him in the finals.


(Source: copy of this newsletter courtesy of The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries Department of Special and Area Studies Collections)

The Boggy Bayou Breeze VOL. 1 No. 5 Company 1402 Niceville, Florida Tuesday, March 12, 1935. (Note: The following articles are transcribed from this newsletter.)

First Aid:
We are going to start having First Aid classes again and I want to see good attendance of the new men. Many thousand of the CCC enrollees have taken advantage of this First Aid course and I wish to see you all take advantage of it too. Now do not take it because you think that you have to. Take it because you know it will do you good.

The knowledge of First Aid is a necessity of life. Lack of this knowledge often causes serious damage or even death to men and women. Improve your knowledge of First Aid while you can, you never know when you may need it to save the life of your loved ones or friends.

Could you ever forget it if a member of your family or a close friend should die while you were standing by, helpless, waiting for a doctor to arrive? How would you feel if a life should slip away because you had never learned First-Aid?

Ask yourself these two questions and decide what you ought to do about it.

Now is the time when all of us should learn what we can about First Aid. Tomorrow may be too late. Get the most out of the classes because some day you will need it and the time you spend learning First Aid surely is well spent.

Willie J. McCord has taken Fernie's place in the Infirmary. You can bet he is working these days. With 10 in quarters he must keep stepping. They also have six in the hospital out that does not take much work.

New Company Surgeon:
1st Lt. Hale Collum has taken Dr. McGriff's place as Company Surgeon. We hope that he doesnít back too much on 'castor-oil'.

Camp Happenings:
Most of the land enclosed in the Company Area has been cleared and prepared for planting grass seeds. For the past three or four weeks the boys have been digging roots and hauling them off in the trucks. Now they have it looking real good and nearly ready for planting. We hope to have the seed planted and the grass up soon and then you will see a nice camp ground.

Claude W. Crump, one of our most promising enrollees has gone to Ft. Barrancas to train for a better position in the CCC.

Lieutenant Vaughan left yesterday for Fort Barrancas where he will take up new duties. All the boys sure were sorry to see him leave and we all extend our good wishes for his success and hope to see him again.

In the past some boys have been A.W.O.L. each Monday morning but I think that will change. They not only got fined but have to serve extra duty as well as restriction to camp for a week or two.

Frank Walls has been selected to study for an Assistant Educational Advisor to be placed in one of the new camps that we hope will be established in the near future.

Archie Kelly has been selected to train for a Canteen Steward and he will be placed in one of the new camps.

Look in the supply room and you will see Jack Yarbrough studying under Park Lee. He is training to be a supply Sgt. in one of the new camps.

James Messer, the boys from Ramer Creek tower, sure likes to come to camp for the week end. He thinks that the woods do not look so good after two weeks in them.

G. I. Driblets:
    C. W. Crump had the energy to get up 10 minutes before chow Sunday.
    We wonder why McDuffie didn't go to the party Saturday night.
    Where did Waid and Chamberlin go Sunday evening? We sure want to know.
    Some of the boys seem to think Bill Newton has a lot of interest in Niceville lately.
    We wonder why Hodge always throws his hat in his girl's before going in to see her.
    Wonder why some girls think Park Lee is such a nice boy.
    Wonder why Lincoln Ingram gets a shave before going on the gate each night.
    We wonder why McDuffie was appointed to check the ladies coats Friday night.
    Does any one know why 1st Sgt. Waid was so interested in going to Florala Friday night?
    Why a certain Straw Boss and tower man never eats supper at camp on Sunday afternoons?
    Yes, we all wonder why Jack Willis wanted to borrow 25 cents Sunday evening.
    We wonder where most of the CCC boys spent last Saturday evening.
    We wonder why Charlie is so popular with the Niceville girls.
    We wonder why it rains in Alabama each time a Alabama enrollee gets a week end pass.

We are told that we are to have in our Educational Program, the assistance of some well qualified instructors. One is to be an instructor in wood-working. From him we shall be able to learn to make practically any article of furniture, or other fixture that we may need in our homes. Some of us may even become so adept in this work that we could find employment along this line, after our enrollment ends.

We are also to have commercial study. The instructor will be able to teach us typing, short-hand, bookkeeping and business english. We may not become expert accountants or bookkeepers but we surely will learn how to keep a set of farm books and in the garage or filling station.

This instruction is like we never had in our common schools. There we were taught some abstract principles of English, languages, etc. Here we have the opportunity to learn to really do something that will pay us in dollars and cents, something tangible. It is hard to conceive of any man who would fail to take advantage of these wonderful opportunities.

Fellows, let's make it 100%, what do you say?

In The Woods:
Monday was a busy day for Co. 1402. The boys were called from their much needed slumber to go to a fire at 4 o'clock in the morning. Under directions of Forest Ranger Snyder, Asst. Ranger W. L. Davis and Fire Guard Tom Brown of the Forest Service and Leader J. Q. Adams assisted by Asst. Leader C. J. Bush. The fire was quickly put out. The boys returned to camp for breakfast at the usual time.

But that is not all. Another detail of men were called from their beds at 3:45 to go to a fire on Weaver Creek Tower, about 40 miles from camp. All the field crew from Metts Side camp were called out to fight this fire. The boys from Metts returned to Metts last night but the boys from here had to stay in the woods all night. They arrived in camp about 6:30 and were they wet, and HOW! Chow was served to them and they fell in their bunks and some didn't make the noon chow line.

The Weaver Creek fire was the largest of the season, on the West side of the Metts District. This fire was brought under control under the direction of Bill Stevens who was assisted by Foreman McCray, Asst. Leader Clyde Pitts, Asst. Leader C. J. Bush from Camp and Walker Spence and Fire Guard Tom Brown from the Ranger Station.

Fills continue to go on record time. And they will as long as McMichen and Bush are the bosses. Just ask the boys who shovel the sand and drive the trucks.

Bits of Wit:
She - - "The man I marry must be as brave as a lion, but not forward; handsome as Apollo, but not conceited; wise as Solomon, but meek as a lamb; a man who is kind to every woman, but loves only me."
He - - "How nice that we met."

Justified: - - Johnnie was gazing at this one-day old brother, who lay squalling and wailing in his cot. "Has he come from Heaven?" inquired Johnnie. Nurse - - "Yes dear". Johnnie - - "No wonder they put him out".

Lt. Stokes - - "What's wrong this morning, Boonie?"
Boonie - - "Could not sleep, Sir".
Lt. Stokes - - "What's the trouble".
Boonie - - "Wasn't in bed, Sir."

(Source: copy of this newsletter courtesy of The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries Department of Special and Area Studies Collections)

CCC 1402 Camp, F-3, Niceville, FL, Photo August 8, 1835, (Note: Facing toward Jackson Guard.) 

Photo CCC 1402 Niceville August 8, 1935

 CCC 1402 Camp, F-3, Niceville, FL. (Note: Building front left, Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.) 

Photo CCC 1402 Niceville August 8, 1935

 CCC 1402 Camp, F-3, Niceville, FL., (Note: Niceville High School across road on right.)

Photo CCC 1402 Niceville August 8, 1935

CCC 1936 Annual cover, District G, with Company 1402 Niceville, Camp Bigby:

CCC Annual cover

CCC 1936 Annual, District G, index page:

CCC 1936 Annual index

CCC 1936 Annual, District G, Certificate of Enrollment:

CCC Certificate

CCC 1936 Annual, District G, Company 1402 Niceville, Camp Bigby photo:

CCC Camp Bigby photo

CCC 1936 Annual, District G, Company 1402 Niceville, Army Leaders photo,  p.12:

CCC 1936 Leaders Pic

CCC 1936 Annual, District G, Company 1402 Niceville, photo and roster, p. 16

CCC 1936 Annual roster, p. 16

CCC 1936 Annual, District G, Company 1402 Niceville, photo and roster, p. 17

CCC 1936 Annual roster, p. 17

CCC 1936 Annual, District G, Company 1402 Niceville, photo and roster, p. 86

CCC 1936 Annual roster, p. 86


Physicians Wanted for Civilian Conservation Corps: "The War Department announces that there is a shortage of qualified physicians of the Medical Reserve Corps to meet the needs of the medical service for the Civilian Conservation Corps. This shortage will be aggravated when a new group of approximately 300,000 men will be enrolled for the summer camps, about 200 men to each camp. An officer of the Medical Reserve Corps with the necessary medical supplies to care for the sick and injured will be assigned to each camp or group of camps if located close together. Assignments will be made by the Corps area Commander under whose jurisdiction the camp is located, for a period of six months, which maybe extended at the discretion of the corps area commander." (Source: The Journal of the American Medical Association 1935: 104 (page 26)

Correction: The Pay of a First Lieutenant - In the Journal, May 12, page 1624, under "Physicians Wanted for Civilian Conservation Corps:" It was stated that the pay and allowance of a first lieutenant are about $250 a month. A first lieutenant of the Medical Reserve Corps attached to one of these camps considers that statement misleading. While pleased with the work, with regard to the pay he says. "The actual pay that I receive is $166.47 (this includes the recent 5 per cent increase). From this sum I must pay about $15 for mess. The approximate pay of $250 referred to in the article refers only to those officers who have a dependent wife. From this sum there is a deduction of 10 per cent according to the federal economy program." (Source: Volume 102 Number 22 Medical News (page 1859)

Physicians Needed for Civilian Conservation Corps Reforestation Camps: "As has been generally announced in the newspapers, President Roosevelt and Robert Fechner, Director of Emergency Conservation Work, have approved plans for the employment of 250,000 men in national forests. Present plans call for the immediate establishment of 538 conservation work camps in twelve Western states, using 107,000 men. In the Eastern region 10,000 men will be used. Corps area commanders of the United States Army will be responsible for all matters incident to the command of the units, the construction of the camps and their supply, administration, sanitation, medical care, hospitalization and welfare. Each camp will include approximately 200 men. The United States Army has drawn up tables of organization covering the control of such camps."


"Medical personnel for these camps will be provided at the rate of one captain and two lieutenants of the Medical Officers' Reserve Corps for each thousand men. In cases in which Civilian Conservation Corps units are widely dispersed, contract surgeon may be obtained on a part time basis at the average of $125 per month. In addition, two men for each accompany will be trained in the administration of First Aid and in making physical and sanitary inspection."


"Hospitals will also be supplied for men in need of treatment because of illness or injury contracted in line of duty during this employment. Army, Navy, and the United States Public Health Service Hospitals will be used if available in the vicinity of the camps, but if not available hospitalization will be arranged for in civilian hospitals. The United States Department of Labor has been assigned the task of enrolling the 250,000 men for forestry work. The man selected are sent to Army stations, where they are given physical examinations."


"The medical services to be provided to the men includes careful physical examinations and vaccination against smallpox, typhoid - paratyphoid fever, as well as outpatient and hospital treatment. This new medical service will require that several hundred physicians now in civil life be brought into service either as reserve officers or as contract physicians."


"The Medical Department of the United States Army, through Surgeon General Robert U. Patterson, is asking applications for these positions in order that competent medical men may be readily obtained by corps area commanders for this service. Officers of the Medical Reserve of the proper rank (Captain or Lieutenant) and other physicians desiring service with forestry camps or the Army posts and camps engaged in reconditioning the men should make application to the Commanding General of the Corps area in which they reside. Corps area and state for Fourth Corps Area headquarters at Ft. McPherson, Georgia: States included - North Carolina, South Caroling, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana." (Source: May 6, 1933 Journal of American Medical Association Government Services, page 1442)

CCC Company 1402 Relocated from Niceville to Otter Creek in 1939:

CCC Camp Relocated to Otter Creek 1939

Transcription of Company 1402 P-83 history above:
   Company 1402, Florida P-83, Otter Creek, Florida, is commanded by George F. Breidenbach, lst Lt. Q. M. Res. 35 th Q. M. Regt. With J. C. Heidenreich as Subaltern.*
    For six years and five months following its inception, April 30, 1939, Company 1402 was situated at Niceville, Florida, being at divers times attached to District "G", District "H", District "I" and having its work project in the Choctawhatchee National Forest, in which area a constructive program of reforestation and fire protection was executed in workmanlike fashion.
    On October 1, 1939, Company 1402 was attached to and transferred into District "I" was moved to Otter Creek, Florida being denominated Company 1402, Florida P-83.
    The work project in the new location is on private timberlands and is being furthered with dispatch.
    The present camp site possesses physical features such as new buildings which are a marked improvement upon those at Niceville, constructed in the infant days of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The camp area is being improved and landscaped in such wise as climatic and seasonal conditions will permit, and the results augur that there is possibility of Company 1402, Florida P-83 becoming an outstanding camp in District "I" both in physical appearance and in the type of men which it fits for private life.
    Effort is being made to devise a vocational programme that will enable the enrollees to prepare themselves adequately for returning to civilian life with a more hopeful and more tolerant viewpoint because of their ability to compete successfully with others and to enrich themselves beyond the monthly checks received for services rendered.**
    * J. C. Heidenreich, Subaltern, assigned to this Company, October 13, 1939, has since such assignment been on duty at Florida E-1, Homestead, Florida.
    ** Company 1402, Florida P-83 has not had an educational adviser since its entry into District "I".

Esmond Griner (on right) with CCC Company 1402 when it moved from Niceville, FL to Otter Creek, FL in 1939.

CCC 1402 Esmond F. Griner on right

Niceville, Florida: "Niceville bears the distinction of being one of the earliest settlements in Okaloosa County and has for many years been the center of the commercial fishing industry of the Choctawhatchee Bay region. In fact the industry is the basis of the community's prosperity and many thousands of dollars are annually paid to fishermen and plant employees. The Niceville Fish Co., operated by Mr. Claude Meigs, and the Spence Bros. Fish Co. are the leading commercial fishing industries and maintain pretentious fish warehouses and fleets of fishing boats. Niceville has a substantial business background, practically all lines of retail business being represented. Here also is located the High School of the sourthern section of Okaloosa County. The CCC maintains a large encampment just outside of the limits of the city. There is much historic background also in and around Niceville one being that of the story of an old mill built prior to the Civil War and which is still located on the Golf Course of the Valpariso Country Club, which is adjacent to Niceville. (Source: The Valpariso News and West Florida Review December 20, 1939)


CCC Camp 1413 at Niceville: (Note: Based on CCC Legacy records this existing CCC camp was relocated to Niceville on 10/01/1940 as project Army-1. It was organized and previously located in Homerville, GA. Most of the members were from GA and some stayed on in the area after leaving the CCC. It was located on the previous site of CCC Camp 1402. The purpose of moving Army Camp 1413 to Niceville was to begin the development of what is now Eglin Air Force Base.) 

Niceville: (Source: The Valpariso News and West Florida Review, February 22, 1941)

Niceville Fishing Companies

Oral History Interview of William H. McDonald, Camp 1413:
William was born November 26, 1921. He joined the CCC in Albany, Georgia and from there he went to Ft. McPherson then to Medford, Oregon for one year by coal burner (train) via Denver. He said he could look at the scenery when the cinders weren't in his eyes. From Medford he was sent to Camp 1413 at Homerville, Georgia and then the entire camp moved to Niceville in 1940. There he worked as the switchboard operator and truck driver and helped clear the landing field for Eglin Air Force Base. When he got out of the CCC he worked for the Army Air Corps at Eglin for about six months, then joined the Navy for thirty years. (Source: Interviewed by Madeleine Carr - Florida Archives)

William H. Herndon, Niceville Resident and Former Member of CCC Camp 1413:
"At eighteen years of age Bill Herndon enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corp, left his parent's home in Calhoun County, Florida, and was sent to the CCC camp at Niceville, Florida. God blessed Mr. Herndon with the entertaining gift of storytelling, and he enjoyed talking about his early years in the CCC. He was a wealth of information about the Choctawhatchee National Forestry Service. He also had the distinction of being among the original group of men who transferred from the forestry service to Eglin Air Force Base's Jackson Guard." (Source: Post by Jo Nagel) 

CCC 1413 Niceville, Fred L'Orange

Little Bayou: (Source: Panama City Pilot, June 6, 1941, page 1, Vol 32, #1941)

Little Bayou close to public

CCC 1413 Niceville, Cpt. Heminer

Niceville's Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp

You may know about Niceville's CCC camp and of the temporary location established May 19, 1933 on the grounds of Niceville High School (today's Edge Elementary), while the permanent camp was built adjacent to Jackson Guard.

The camp has now been documented and an ad hoc committee is working to recognize the contributions of the CCC to Niceville, Okaloosa County, Eglin Air Force Base and the State of Florida by placing a CCC Worker Statue and site marker on the school grounds.

Niceville's camp greatly enhanced the local economy during the years of the Great Depression. Niceville is home to the only CCC camp in Okaloosa County and the first in the State of Florida.

Currently the cost for the CCC Worker Statue is $22,600, guaranteed until December 1, 2014. Shipping charges are additional.

The Chamber Foundation is pleased to support this worthwhile historical and educational community project. The Board of Directors of the Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce Foundation, a 501c3 organization, will serve as the fiscal agent on behalf of the CCC Monument Fundraising Effort.

 CCC Statue Marianna

Donations may be made payable and mailed to:
Niceville Valparaiso Chamber Foundation
1055 East John Sims Parkway
Niceville, FL 32578

Please note in the memo section that it is a CCC Fund Donation.

Thank you for your interest and support in this important endeavor.


Elisa Mitchiner

Niceville, Florida Online History Center

" The challenge of history is to recover the past and introduce it to the present." ~ David Thelen