The image above depicts the Forestry Crew of Company 361-C. This photo is from Foreman Walter Kauffman who can be seen sitting in the middle row, second from the right. (Courtesy of the Pennsylvania CCC Online Archive)

Sports proved to be a staple of camp life for the men of Company 361. While the men were sent to Camp S-62 to complete various conservation and improvement projects in the Seven Mountains, they still found time to organize a variety of athletic teams including baseball, basketball and boxing. In the period between the summer of 1933 and the fall of 1935, these teams played against local and regional opponents. They also competed against other CCC Camps, including Camp 56 (East Licking Creek), Camp 59 (Ross Farm), Camp 84 (Dent’s Run), Camp 112 (Detweiler), and Camp 113 (New Lancaster Valley). Across all these different sports, the men performed exceptionally well and became highly respected by the local community.

The 1933 basketball season started off well for the “Maroon Devils” of Company 361-C. Their nickname undoubtedly comes from their uniform’s appearance, as an article published in the Philadelphia Tribune on December 21, 1933 describes them as follows, “maroon uniforms trimmed in white, nicknames on their backs, black shoes, and white knee guards.”[1] After winning their first game held in Lewistown on November 25, 1933 by a score of 20-13, they went on to win their next two games by scores of 20-8, and 25-7.[2] Over their Christmas furlough that year, basketball played an interesting role in camp life by keeping the men connected even when they were not formally organized at Camp S-62. During this time, the men played a game against DeHart A.C. on December 26 at James Adams Junior High School in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. It was recorded that “a real holiday crowd turned out for the game.”[3] The men competing in this game consisted of the following, “Midget” Smith, Roy Winfield, Vernon Sweeney, “Sully” Fitzhugh, and “Spike” Spady.[4] When the men returned to camp in 1934, they continued to find success on the court against local teams. The “Stone Creek passers”, as they have also been referred to, clinched their league title with their seventh straight victory on January 27, 1934, against a team from Diamond Valley with a score of 16-11.[5] Following a devastating loss on February 3 which ended their winning streak, game requests began to arrive at Camp S-62 “almost daily.”[6] The team was so successful that it even prompted competition among the men at the camp. It was detailed that winning platoons in weekly barrack competitions were rewarded with trips to basketball games.[7] Unfortunately, not as much detail was recorded on the 1934 basketball season. Nonetheless, cooperation with the local community was pertinent to the success of the team that season as camp commander, Captain Arthur Eaker had “requested plenty of floor time from the Y.M.C.A. in Lewistown” in December 1934.[8]

As for baseball, the men of Company 361-C played equally well. During the 1933 season, the camp held an outstanding record of thirty-two wins, seven losses, and three ties which rightfully awarded them to a banquet in which the members were presented with jackets.[9] The camp’s 1934 baseball team started out strong winning five of their first six games. The opponents in these games included the following, Camp 59, the Milroy Hosiery Nine, a team composed of veterans located at the Quartermaster Depot in New Cumberland, Centre Hall, Lemont A.A., and an all-star team from the Lewistown Sunday School League.[10] Additional teams that Company 361-C played against were from Pine Grove Mills, and Pleasant Gap.[11] There was even an opportunity to play against inmates at the State Penitentiary at Rockview near Bellefonte.[12] Unfortunately, when the veterans of the 1933 enlistment period departed the camp in early July 1934, they took the “crack baseball team” with them.[13] In response, arrangements were quickly made to train a new team and they played through August of that year. The 1935 baseball season brought 30 candidates to the diamond where Dr. Bashein, the Athletic Officer, would select the regular team from. This drafted team would then face off against the freshman team from Penn State University, the Athletic Club of Mifflinburg, Camp S-59 and Mifflintown, among others.[14] While there was not much was reported on for this baseball season, there was mention of victories against Camp 56, Camp 112, Camp 113, and a loss against Camp 84 with scores of 9-0, 19-5, 13-7, and 8-7, respectfully.[15]

Along with baseball and basketball, the men also took a liking to boxing. This sport seems to have been organized fairly quickly at the camp as by late October, boxing matches were being held at Camp S-62. These “bouts” were to determine those who would represent the camp in their respective weight classes in “district matches” against other CCC camps.[16] Those who represented the camp were as follows, “‘Sparky’ Clark, feather-weight; ‘Midget’ Smith, bantamweight; ‘Eagle’ Holmes, lightweight; ‘Moose’ Childs, middleweight; and ‘Lige’ Williams, heavyweight.”[17] Unfortunately, the results of these district matches were not recorded in the newspapers that were surveyed. Boxing also served as a form of recreation as well as competition as one report notes that “five [bouts] materialized” at the Recreation Hall in late August 1934.[18] Overall, boxing proved to be a healthy program throughout the time Company 361-C spent at camp. A report from late 1934 described that the boxers had an adequate supply of equipment including “dumbells, skip ropes, hand exercises, new gloves, punching bag, sand bag and other training materials.”[19] In late 1935, there was mention of boxing matches that were to be held at the Old Keystone Garage in Lewistown, and Kishahcoquillas Park.[20] The boxing team seemed to continue strong in the months leading up to the Company’s transfer from Camp S-62 to Camp S-69 (Beaverton) near Beaver Springs, Pa. Despite the fact that they would be transferred out of Camp S-62 the team continued to “train zealously under the tutorship of ‘Sarg.’ Holmes.”[21]

Shown above is the Recreation Hall at Camp S-62. The fireplace shown still stands today. (Courtesy of the Pennsylvania CCC Online Archive)

Other athletic competitions that the men of Camp S-62 participated in included track meets, and mushball tournaments. One such instance details what appears to be a camp wide track meet supervised by Educational Advisor Clarence J. Grinnell. The meet was won by 1st platoon who accumulated a total of 18 points trailed closely behind by 4th platoon with 17 points. Finishing in 3rd place was 3rd platoon with 12 points and 2nd platoon finished last with a mere 3 points.[22] A large portion of the men also participated in a track meet against other C.C.C. camps within their specific district, however, no results of this meet were reported.[23] As for mushball, it appears to have been played leisurely during free time or when special celebrations were held.

As it can be seen, sports played a vital part of camp life for the men of Company 361-C. The stout athletic teams the camp was able to muster helped play a large role in cultivating a positive relationship with the local community in addition to providing friendly competition to area teams. It almost certainly helped to form a bond between the men, further strengthening the camp community. However, sports were not the only way in which Camp S-62 interacted with their local community, the various musical and theatrical groups the men formed equally impressed both area and regional crowds. Stay tuned as we cover this topic and more in upcoming blog posts throughout February in honor of African American History Month.

This article was written by Jacob Hockenberry based off information compiled through a summer research opportunity. Jacob is a senior at Shippensburg University where he is studying history, political science, and geographic information systems (GIS). He intends on furthering his education by pursuing a master’s degree in historic preservation.

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[1] Arthur O. Spady, “Basketball Attraction at Milroy Camp,” Philadelphia Tribune, December 21, 1933.
[2] “Milroy Camp Boxing Bouts Reach Finals,” Philadelphia Tribune, November 30, 1933; Ibid.[3] “Spike” Spady, “Milroy Camp,” Philadelphia Tribune, January 25, 1934.
[4] Ibid.
[5] “Spike” Spady, “Camp Milroy,” Philadelphia Tribune, February 15, 1934.
[6] Ibid.
[7] “Spike” Spady, “Camp Milroy,” Philadelphia Tribune, February 15, 1934.
[8] “C. C. Camp Milroy, Pa.,” Philadelphia Tribune, December 6, 1934.
[9] “Milroy Camp Boys Witness Boxing Bouts,” Philadelphia Tribune, November 2, 1933.
[10] William H. Bryant, “Camp Milroy,” Philadelphia Tribune, May 17, 1934; WM. H. (Bill) Bryant, “Milroy Musings,” Philadelphia Tribune, May 31, 1934; Bill Bryant, “Behind Scenes With Lads At Milroy Camp,” Philadelphia Tribune, June 14, 1934; WM. H. (Bill) Bryant, Camp Milroy, Philadelphia Tribune, June 21, 1934.
[11] William H. Bryant, “Milroy, Pa.,” Philadelphia Tribune, June 28, 1934.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Clarece J. Grinnell, “Camp Milroy,” Philadelphia Tribune, July 19, 1934.
[14] Bud ‘N Yub, “361st Co. C.C.C. Milroy, Pa.,” Philadelphia Tribune, April 18, 1935.
[15] Bud ‘N Yub, “C.C. Camp, Milroy, Pa.,” Philadelphia Tribune, September 12, 1935; Bud ‘N Yub, “C.C. Camp, Milroy, Pa.,” Philadelphia Tribune, September 19, 1935; Bud ‘N Yub, “C.C. Camp, Milroy, Pa.,” Philadelphia Tribune, September 26, 1935.
[16] “Milroy Camp Boys Witness Boxing Bouts,” Philadelphia Tribune, November 2, 1933.
[17] “Milroy Camp Boxing Bouts Reach Finals,” Philadelphia Tribune, November 30, 1933.
[18] Bud ‘N Yub, “Camp S-62, Pa.,” Philadelphia Tribune, August 30, 1934.
[19] Bud ‘N Yub, “361st Co. C.C.C. Milroy, Pa.,” Philadelphia Tribune, December 20, 1934.
[20] Bud ‘N Yub, “C.C. Camp, Milroy, Pa.,” Philadelphia Tribune, September 19, 1935; Bud ‘N Yub, “C.C. Camp, Milroy, Pa.,” Philadelphia Tribune, September 26, 1935.
[21] Bpd ‘N Yub, “C.C. Camp, Milroy, Pa.,” Philadelphia Tribune, October 24, 1935.
[22] Bill Bryant, “CCC Boys Look Homeward As Camp Closes,” Philadelphia Tribune, July 5, 1934.
[23] Bud ‘N Yub, “C.C. Camp, Milroy, Pa.,” Philadelphia Tribune, September 19, 1935.

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The “Maroon Devils” of Company 361-C: Sports at Camp S-62