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Memories of Camp Seiad

written by Chuck Edwards of Tracy in 2003

Chuck Edwards
            Now 83 years old, Chuck Edwards of Tracy, CA. remembers fondly his years in the Indian Creek, Seiad, and Yreka CCC camps during the mid 1930’s.

Chuck remembered many of the enrollees” Bob Walters and Holly Thomas were close friends. Bob was in Fremont High School in Oakland, CA when he joined the CCC’s. He came home on a short leave telling me all about Happy Camp and what the CCC’s offered to him by living in the mountains, clothed, well fed, making $30. a month and sending his folks $25. a month. This was when I decided to join but being only 15 years old, I had to recreate my birth date by using my cousin’s birth certificate and ID. This was no problem and I was lucky to be sent to Happy Camp with some help from Bob. My family really needed the money and I was so happy to be free from attending school and to get out of Oakland and to get fed regular meals. The 30’s depression made my dad struggle to keep a home and family.

After arriving in the Indian Creek camp, Holly became my leadman and a friend. We fished Indian Creek, borrowed horses, hiked on weekends, went to HC to see a movie in back of the hotel, played the hometown ball team and looked at all the pretty girls in town.

I also remember Biage Arrietta and his buddy was Lou Bari, they came from North Beach in San Francisco, a very Italian neighborhood. When Holly became a lead man, I took his place as Biage’s timber falling partner. He refused to work with me because I had no experience other than I could swing an axe left-handed. Biage just had to accept me since there were no other left-handers and I had no fear of working off a springboard up in the air. I was later transferred to Seiad Valley to be trained as a tree faller on the China Creek road project then on to Yreka Forest Service Maintenance shops until 1938 when I decided to return to school.

Gabby Miller and Ken Fox were my friends. Vince Costa was a truck driver and raised close to my neighborhood in the Bay area.

When World War II broke out, we were all just the age to make the Armed Service. I know Holly had a couple of Purple Hearts.

After the war, I heard Bob Walters did not survive the war in Europe. He was on an Armored Tank, making it all thru the invasion and across France. The war was officially over and they were entering a town to accept their surrender, Bob was standing up in the turret when a sniper shot and killed him.

Lawrence Roberts was the construction foreman at the camp and I remember him well, and his brother, Ernest was dozer operator. I also remember Bob Hutton, he was also from the Bay Area. He married a local girl from Happy Camp and they raised a family.

My last part of the CCC enlistment was in the Yreka Spike camp in back of the forest Service Shops along Hwy 99. I worked under a man named Cook who taught me a lot about the Machinists Trade, we had a Lathe Planer Radial Drill Press so when I left the CCC to enter a trade school, the teacher saw that I had enough training to be a qualified Machinist saving me from serving a 4yr. Apprentiship.
 


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