Certificates of Selection for the Civilian Conservation Corps

The Civilian Conservation Corps was a public work relief program that operated from 1933-1942 during the presidency of Frank D. Roosevelt.  Initially, the program provided manual labor jobs related to unemployed, unmarried men between the ages of 18-25.  Later it was modified to include older men up to the age of 45 and they were no longer required to be single.

Most of these records are reportedly kept at the National Archives in St. Louis.  For some unexplained reason, however, the Certificate of Selection for 83 of those young men from Monroe County and nearby communities is available at the Indiana University Lilly Library in Bloomington, Indiana. [1]  The documents pertaining to each man are contained within a single folder and the folders as a whole contain the 480 items (pages) that make up the collection.

Documents within the file typically include at minimum the Certificate of Selection and an intake interview.  Both of these documents are rich with information.  Consider, for example, the 2-page intake interview for Ward E. Stevens completed by Mary Eloise Humphrey, identified as “visitor” on December 7, 1939.[2]  Excerpts are noted below.

” ‘Visitor called at the home of Lola Stevens, Ward Stevens’ mother.  The visitor was directed to the house by Mr. Tidd, Ward Stevens’ grandfather, Jacob Tidd.  From the very first, Mr. Tidd took complete charge of the interview.  Mr. Tidd said, “I’m the one who manages things around here, and I’m the one to say if there is any change made in [Lola’s] pension.”  This attitude of Mr. Tidd’s seemed rather odd, but it had been brought about because of the fact that his daughter was feeble-minded and he had since the death of her husband realized her inability to manage for herself and therefore had tried to manage for her as best he could.’

‘Mr. Tidd said that he was the one who had made the living there and when asked what the living was he said it consisted of the $30.00 a month ADC which he got for Mrs. Stevens, for her two youngest children, and the $3.20 a week which he got from the relief for himself [and other members of his household].  Mr. Tidd pointed with pride to the fact that he had worked 18 years for the City of Bloomington.  Among various other things, he had been on the fire department.’

‘Ward seemed to be tolerated in the household and recognized as quite a problem.  He would go away and stay for days.  Mr. Tidd hoped that Ward would not get to go to camp because he was afraid that Mrs. Stevens’ assistance would be taken from her if Ward got to camp.’

‘The visitor does not recommend that Ward Edward Stevens be selected for CCC enrollment.  The fact that he was only in the fourth grade at the age of 16 years and his general inability to comprehend makes the visitor feel that he would not be able to adjust very well into a CCC program.’ “

Section 1 of the Certificate of Selection includes information pertaining to the applicant’s person, members of his household and place of residence.  Section 2 reveals information about his education; Section 3 is about employment; and Section 4 notes the applicant’s reason(s) for desiring placement with the CCC.

corps

To access CCC enrollee records other than those at the Lilly Library, contact the National Archives at St. Louis and submit either a written request or NA Form 14136.

 

[1] When the folders were reviewed in March 2018, the last three items in the inventory were missing.  Their names, however, were included in the index.

[2] According to a digital image of the death record at Ancestry, Ward E. Stevens, the son of Albert and Lola (Tidd) Stevens died in Noblesville, Hamilton Co., Indiana, on June 19, 1947.  His death was occurred when a boxcar backed up and accidentally pinned him to a shed.

 

 

 

Mystery Object in McDoel Gardens!

We recently had a Bloomington resident call the History Center to inquire about a particular object he had in his basement. The origin and purpose has stumped him. He sent us some photos and it has stumped us as well! We’re hoping one of you will recognize it and be able to tell us what it is!

Here is what he has to say: “It is in the far northeast corner of my (unfinished) basement. It is about three feet tall and sits on a base made out of bricks, which is cemented to the floor. It looks like it was built out of three pieces and these are cemented together. The lid is also made of cement and has a wooden handle attached by two heavy wires. Beneath the lid is a dugout, about 8″ x 12″ and 7″ deep. On either side of the dugout, there is a chain embedded in the concrete. Each is two heavy-duty links.”

Thing 5

Thing 4

 

Thing 1

His home was built in 1925 and is in the McDoel Gardens neighborhood. Is this some lost remnant from the circus? from a mill? from the rail yard? Please let us know your thoughts! We’d love to solve this mystery!

Remembrances of Drs. David Hervey and James D. Maxwell

The clipping noted below, written by Agnes McCulloch Hanna, was published in an undated, unsourced Bloomington newspaper under a column called “Looking Back.”  It was found in a scrapbook compiled by a man named Fred Lockwood.  The scrapbook is held by the Monroe County History Center, Bloomington, Indiana.  The item below was abbreviated from the original, as noted by the ellipsis, and excludes much of the information pertaining to the home built by Joshua Owen Howe later the property of David H. Maxwell.

According to information from the Rose Hill Cemetery Index, David H. Maxwell was born September 17, 1786, and died May 24, 1854.  His burial was in Rose Hill.

maxwell

 

…Dr. David Hervey Maxwell had written the constitution of our state with his own hand, and it may be seen to this day in our archives.  In 1838 his son, Dr. James D. Maxwell was elected to the Board of Trustees of Indiana University and held this office with the exception of a short period until his death in 1892.  In the discharge of his duties as secretary and trustee, he was noted for his fidelity and abiding faith in the ultimate success of the institution.

He helped his college through trial by fire and political controversy and was steadfast to it.  He saw it develop to the new and enlarged institution on its new campus.  Maxwell Hall is named in honor of David Hervey and James Darwin Maxwell.  His service rendered with no financial reward.  Miss Juliette Maxwell, youngest of his daughters, offers an annual prize to women students of the university, the James Darwin Maxwell medal, for excellence in scholarship and principals.

In a spacious house [on S. College Avenue, described at length in an earlier MCHC library blog] he and Mrs. Maxwell entertained twice each year the trustees and members of the faculty and their wives at dinner parties.  Dr. James Darwin Maxwell was born in 1815 near Hanover, Ind.  Of his ten children, three daughters are living—Mrs. Allan B. Philputt of Indianapolis, Miss Juliette Maxwell who resigned recently from the department of physical training at the university, and Miss Fannie Bell Maxwell, formerly an instructor at Ferry Hall, Lake Forest, Ill.  Mrs. Grace Philputt Young, his granddaughter, is a member of the Department of Romance Languages of which her husband is the head at Indiana.

This is a family which is tied intimately to our state and its university.  The house, which was for many years connected with the town and college, still holds its place as it is now the home of the Burton-Woolery post of the American Legion, many of whose members were graduated from the university, some of whom are attached to the university and all of whom see and take part in its activities.  A long life and a happy one, the Howe-Maxwell house has had in Bloomington.  Few can belong more closely to the community.  –Indianapolis Star

 

 

Scoby’s Divorce and Battle for Child Custody

divorceAlthough there were significantly fewer divorces in the early nineteenth century than there are today, they nevertheless did exist.  One of the earliest divorces on record in Monroe County is that of James and Ruth Scoby.

On August 24, 1824, the Monroe County sheriff was commanded to bring several witnesses to court to testify on behalf of James Scoby and his petition against Ruth.  The witnesses included Samuel R. Cavin, George Hardesty, George Johnston and James Edwards.

According to an index of divorces available at the genealogy library in the Monroe County History Center, James was granted the divorce on March 7, 1825.  The couple had one child together, an infant daughter named Eunice.  Ruth was apparently given custody.

Following the divorce, James married again on October 3, 1826.  His second wife was Rhoda Polly. Sometime thereafter, he brought Eunice to his home and refused to give her back to Ruth.

Understandably, Ruth was upset.  She protested that she had rightful custody of Eunice and asked the court to intervene on her behalf.  On August 8, 1827, the judge ordered the sheriff to bring James and Eunice to court so that James might explain, if he could, why he refused to return Eunice.

There is little more information than this in the circuit court file for James Scoby vs. Ruth Scoby.  (See Circuit Court Records Box 5 at the Genealogy Library, Monroe County History Center, Bloomington, Indiana.)

Post by Randi Richardson.

Earliest Telephone Book in the County

telephoneWe don’t know with any certainty when telephones were first introduced in Monroe County or the date of the first telephone book.  However, the date of the earliest known telephone book in the county is 1902.  It has been preserved on microfilm at the Monroe County Public Library in Bloomington and is part of the Local History Microfilm Collection.  (See Roll 37, Item7.)

The book is just 28 pages in length including a description of how to use a hand crank telephone.  It was divided into communities and the type of listing, such as farm, residence or business, was noted along with a name and a 3-digit telephone number.  If the name was indicative of the type of listing, however, there was no separate entry for the type of listing.

Names and all other information associated with the listing excepting the phone number have been indexed and put online at the Indiana Genealogical Society website as part of the many databases available for Monroe County.*

Telephone Company officers were identified as:  J. D. Showers, president; W. S. Bradfute, secretary; W. W. Wicks, treasurer; and F. S. Shoemaker, superintendent.

*Must be a member of the IGS to view that particular index

 

Blog post by Randi Richardson

Regulators Organization Established to Deal with Lawbreakers

The clipping noted below, written by Mrs. Wesley Hayse, was published in an undated, unsourced Bloomington newspaper under a column called “Looking Back.”  It was found in a scrapbook compiled by a man named Fred Lockwood.  The scrapbook is held by the Monroe County History Center, Bloomington, Indiana.  The item below was abbreviated from the original, as noted by the ellipsis, and excludes information pertaining to the development of Polk Township.

Horse thieves, crooks of every kind, burglars and counterfeiters seemed to overrun Indiana in the late forties and early fifties, and Monroe County seemed to receive her share of the unwelcome visitors.  Within the county, where the rough country was scarcely inhabited, the ravines and thickets furnished excellent retreats for the outlaws.

The southeastern portion of Monroe County showed early evidence of illegal transactions of this character and several residents of Polk Township were at times suspected of complicity, but nothing definite was learned until late in the fifties.

Many men of good character, who had previously bore good reputations, were sometimes inducted to connect themselves with manufacturers of counterfeit bills or bogus coins in order to reap a harvest for the time being, intending to later resume their places of respect among their fellowmen.

Before this, counterfeit bills on different state banks and bad coin of fair appearance, color and weight had made its appearance in the county at stores, and steps had been taken to find the guilty person or persons, but the rascals had a well-organized system and soon baffled the authorities.  It was no doubt but more of this money was actually manufactured within the county as passers of counterfeit money were quite numerous.

regulators

But finally conditions became so bad that an organization known as the Regulators, men of honesty in Monroe County and vicinity, resolved to, by their own efforts, end the career of the lawbreakers if careful vigilance and persistent effort could possibly bring such things to pass.  And these men did succeed and the plan soon became quite popular as the means of settling with criminals.

One man was shot in the jail in Bloomington by a mysterious crowd of men who overpowered the guards.

In a short time the plan meant grave abuses when a number of men held a grudge against a neighbor they would assemble at night, thoroughly disguised, and give the man a terrible whipping.  A man named Bingham received such severe treatment in this way that his body was a mass of bruised and blackened flesh from the whipping he received.  He died from the wounds within a few days, and he was said to be an honest, upright citizen.

Another man, named Vansickle, who lived in the southern part of Monroe County, was so severely whipped by masked men who took him out one night that he later died from the effects at what became known as “Vansickle’s Mill” in the southern part of Morgan County…