Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles 6-25-12
I have been researching the Civilian Conservation Corps in South Dakota for eight years. During this time I wrote, “The Civilian Conservation Corps In and Around the Black Hills,” and I began to receive photos, artifacts, books and first-person stories. I met by letter, phone or in person over 300 CCC “boys.” Many of them are gone now, but not all. As they passed away, more items arrived and started stacking up. I had no idea what I would do with these treasures. Ultimately this collection led to the creation of the CCC Museum of South Dakota, at Hill City, S.D.
Several times per month the mail brings great information. Yesterday I got a fat envelope from none other than Lawrence Welk. Since we have been e-mailing about his father in the Cs, I knew he is a relative of the famous Welk, not a ghost from the past. He sent me CCC papers on a subject that I hadn’t seen before to add to our knowledge at the museum.
A woman in the other side of South Dakota periodically mails me obituaries she has clipped, in which the CCC affiliation is noted. I don’t know why but few notices on this end of the state mention the connection, though I frequently recognize the names.
A simple blog, CivilianConservationCorps.blogspot.com has proved to be valuable for being able to contact out of area residents. This week an e-mail with an interesting tale came from a woman who lives in Ontario, Canada. She had been visiting family in Minnesota where they went “junkatiquing.” She must be a pretty serious sleuth as she found a 1941 desk calendar with enough notations on it to guide her into searching the internet for CCCs in South Dakota. She messaged me to verify she was right in her assumptions.
My scanner has been hard at work because I’ve scanned some 2,500 CCC in S.D. photos. Now I am being asked by state and federal employees for photos and information on a fairly frequent basis. Most of my non-governmental inquiries come during the wintertime when people are holed up and have time to seek facts.
On my blog is a form I created to simplify requesting copies of CCC discharge papers from the federal government. It is good for any state; there is a charge from $10.00 up to $60.00, depending on the number of pages researchers find, but it is well worth it. The process is this: print out the form, fill out what you know and mail it to the government address. That office will research on the microfilm, send you an invoice of how much it will cost and if you want to pay their fee, you will obtain copies of the records. If the man served in S.D., I’d appreciate a copy so I can add the name to my S.D. roster of over 27,000 men from several states who served here.
Peggy writes from the family farm at the foot of the Black Hills. Her website is http://www.PeggySanders.com.