CCC inductees announced
The West Virginia Civilian Conservation Corps Museum Association announces the induction of six CCC Vets into the West Virginia CCC Hall of Fame.
Clarence V. Burge (deceased), Paul Daniel, Orval R. Emery (deceased), Ralph W. Daugherty (deceased), Raymond P. Daugherty, Orval R. Emery and Charles S. Piercy (deceased) were inducted on April 26 at the annual CCC Spring Jubilee Reunion.
The event was held in Harrison County at the Quiet Dell United Methodist Church dining room. More than 50 family and friends were in attendance.
Charles S. Piercy Sr. was born Feb. 8, 1917, near Elkins in Randolph County. According to his son, Charles Piercy Jr.: “After grandpa died, the family was left flat broke. As the Depression came on strong in 1930, Dad was homeless finding work and shelter wherever he could.” He added, “Dad lived off the land until 1936, when he was encouraged to join the CCC.”
Piercy Sr. enrolled at Coalton in Randolph County at age 19. “He sent his $25 back to Grandma in Coalton. This was a godsend,” Piercy Jr. remembered. Piercy Sr. served at many camps during his enrollment, including Fort Knox, Kentucky, sundrenched Palisade, Colo., breathtaking Sequoia National Park, Calif., and his final CCC experiences in Huttonsville, Randolph County, at Camp Hutton.
He was known to be very proficient in carpentry, and had a keen interest in conservation of our natural resources.
“Dad had a love and respect for the outdoors that was unbriddled,” Piercy Jr. said. Piercy passed away in 1993.
Clarence V. Burge was born June 14, 1914, on a farm at Dartmoor in Barbour County. He was one of the first waves of young men and women to join the CCC in November of 1933. The honoree served two stints, one in Kentucky and the second in West Virginia. He was stationed at Fort Knox and London, Kentucky, working on upgrading roads, excavating a lake, and fire prevention. He then reenrolled and was assigned to West Virginia CCC camps: Camp Onego, Camp Alpena, and Camp Parsons. At those camps, Burge told of driving a rock truck, being a lineman and timber cutter. After CCC, Burge served in Africa and Italy in World War II. He was awarded many citations. After World War II, Burge moved to Harrison County, where he retired as a buggy operator in the Consolidation mine at Owens. Burge passed away in 1983.
Paul Daniel was born in Harper, Raleigh County, on Nov. 6, 1917. At 16, after the death of his father, he enrolled in the CCC in July of 1933, upon advice of a social worker. He was proud to wear that World War I uniform issued to him at Camp McKee, Ky., where he worked in timber improvement projects. In 1935, he reinlisted in the Corps and served in West Virginia at Camp’s Price and Droop Mountain, Pocahontas County. There, he cut stone for cabins, walkways, chimneys and foundations. After CCC, he served in World War II. He was wounded at the Battle of Anzio. After the war, he answered the call and preached at numerous congregations, including at Hendricks. The honoree resides in Beckley with his family.
Daniel was unable to attend the ceremonies because of a health issue.
The Association honored Ralph W. Daugherty (posthumously) who was born in October of 1915 in the coalfield country of Landgraff, McDowell County. According to his brother, Raymond, he enrolled at Camp Hardy, Mathias, at age 16, then was transferred to Flagstaff, Arizona. There, he helped conserve the land during the Great Drought on the rich soybean and corn crops farms.
His brother remembers that Daugherty was always proud of his CCC involvement: “Ralph always talked about his experiences out west and the constant dust. How they had to plant thousands and thousands of trees.” Daugherty passed away in Urbana, Ill., in 1982.
The next Hall of Famer, Raymond P. Daugherty, resides at Mathias and was unable to attend induction ceremonies. Raymond was born Nov. 25, 1917, at Landgraff, which is about 10 miles from Welch. He skipped two grades during grade school, thus graduating from Welch High School at age 16. Raymond was offered a scholarship to Emery College, but felt the family did not have the money for the extra expenses.
“My brother Ralph was in the CCC and he told me I should join up.” Raymond commented. “At sixteen, I was assigned to Camp Hardy at Mathias, where we worked as a team to construct the hand carved cabins.” He added. “The family moved to a farm at Mathias after I graduated from Welch.”
He authored three books about his experiences in the CCC; “Tall Tales, But, True,” “Blunder and Blessings – 84 Years of Memories,” and “The CCC And Me.” And, a book about the difficulties of writing the other books called “Chuckles And Grins.”
Orval R. Emery, of Moundsville, was the next honoree. He was born in January of 1920. Their family was feeling the sorrows of the Great Depression, so in 1935, he enrolled in the CCC. Emery was assigned to Camp Hardy, Mathias, near the Virginia border. He worked on the swimming pool, and mainly at the Camp Office where he kept track of CCC activities and project reports.
One of his best boyhood friends at Lost River State Park was Mike Parnicza. According to George Parnicza, Mike’s brother, “Orval was a sharp guy. He and Mike were best friends. He loved his time at Camp Hardy. Orval learned a keen sense of conservation there.”
After CCC, Emery served in World War II as a flight officer and bombarier on a B 29. Parnicza continued: “Oval was a devout Christian, very honest.” Emery retired from the US Postal Service in Wichita Kansas. “He was well-respected for all the many sacrifices he made for his family over the years.” stated Parnicza. The honoree passed away in 2009.
The names of these honorees are being added to the West Virginia CCC Hall of Fame perpetual plaque, which is kept at the West Virginia CCC Museum in the historic landmark Quiet Dell Grade School in Harrison County. More inductions into the West Virginia CCC Hall of Fame will take place at the CCC Fall Jubilee Reunion scheduled for Oct. 19.