George T. Nixon

I was born and reared in Saline Co., Missouri. At 16 years of age I enrolled in the CCC and was sent to Salisbury Missouri. One crew or section as we were called worked in the 10 acre forest tree nursery weeding, watering, cultivating the small seedlings. As this was a soil erosion camp, our work was to prevent soil erosion in farmers' fields and meadows. Ditches were graded, bottoms and banks rounded and dams constructed of osage orange hedge, as we called it, by driving a double line of posts across and in the banks. The space between, we filled with smaller pieces of hedge, limbs, branches, etc. It was then packed tightly and bound tight to the posts on either side with heavy wire.

In late autumn we dug up the little locust seedlings, tied them in bundles and dug trenches and heeled them in for protection from freezing during the winter months. During the winter we went to the nearby river bottoms where there were thickets of small willows. We cut these from 1 /2 to 1 1 /2 in. diameter into approximately two foot lengths, tied them into bundles and stored them for the winter. In the spring we took the willows and the locusts to the ditches where we built the dams and planted the locusts along the banks. Then while there was mud in the bottoms we drove or pushed the willow sticks into the bottom hoping they would sprout and grow into trees to halt erosion.

Source: Perry H. Merrill, Roosevelt's Forest Army, p. 104.

Copyright Digital History 2016