Kansas C.C.C. Camps in the Census: A Closer Look

In looking at the 1940 census data for the Kansas C.C.C. camps, the first thing one notices is that several don't have anyone enumerated and most have only a handful of seemingly random people identified. These camps were all in full operation at the time and therefore would have had a full complement of camp officers and project staff as well as up to 200 or so enrolled men present. The camps were designated as unique enumeration districts in the census, just as small communities in townships would have been set apart. The intent was there to identify and document the camp occupants, but in no case do the numbers come close to doing this. Why? Well...

Twelve of the Kansas camps were comprised of junior enrollees, young men between the ages of 17 and 25. Standard procedure appears to have been to enumerate junior enrollees at home as opposed to the C.C.C. camp except in rare circumstances. For example, at the end of the record for Company 4717-C at Parsons, KS where 55 enrollees (including 4 from camp overhead) were counted, the enumerator, and company commander, Fred L. Eistrup, noted:
"Individual census reports were not sent out to parents from the C C Camp #4717 by the commander on the above 55 persons as they were brought to this camp the first week of April and stated they had not been enumerated elsewhere."
From this short comment, it is clear that part of the process included sending census reports to the homes of the enrollees to ensure the men were counted. In situations where new enrollees had apparently not already been enumerated at home, provision was made to do so at the camp. In Labette County at Parsons, a sizable group is recorded during the time shortly following a regular C.C.C. enrollment period, likewise at Neodesha in Wilson County where Company 784 enumerated 23 men on April 29 that were noted to not be in the C.C.C. at the end of that March (answer to question on Line 22 of the census record).  In Nemaha County where the enumeration date is in June, only three men were listed, each with the title "New Worker".

In other searches, I ran across C.C.C. junior enrollees scattered throughout the census in their parent's households. For example- James and John Helme ages 20 and 18 respectively in the the home of their mother in the South-Central Kansas community of Zenda. Both are listed as "Laborers" for "Soil Erosion", among the most common identifiers for C.C.C. workers in the state. In nearby Peters Township, 17 year old Henry Taggart is noted as absent (AB) and at "CCC Camp, Seneca Kansas". Others include Edgar Crampton, age 23, listed with his parents and younger brother in rural Morris County; LeRoy Banks, age 19, a "Laborer" for "Reforestation Project" in the home of his parents and younger siblings at Wellington; and African-American Frederick White, age 19, a "Laborer" for "C.C.C. Camp" counted among his parents and siblings in Ottawa, just to name a few.

Only two veteran camps were in operation in 1940- Company 4718 near Spivey in Kingman County and Company 4719 near Ottawa in Franklin County. The Spivey camp enumeration was the largest among of the Kansas camps with 88 individuals represented. Of this number, 77 of the men (87.5%) are single, widowed, or divorced. In other words they were by themselves for the purposes of census enumeration and would not be expected to have been counted elsewhere. Similarly, at Ottawa, only one of the 23 enumerated men (4.3%) was married. A search of adjacent enumeration districts in this case identified numerous married enrollees who were counted within their household along with a wife and often, other dependents. Elsewhere around the state, searches outside of the camp occasionally turned up associated members, most often camp or project leadership, all enumerated as head of a household that had been relocated to the project locale.

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