Charles S. Piercy
West Virginia State Civilian Conservation Corps Museum Association is
proud to announce the induction of Charles Sterling Piercy Sr.
into the West Virginia State CCC Museum Association Hall of Fame Class
of the Fall of 2014. Ceremones took place during the Fall CCC Jubilee
Gathering held at the Quiet Dell United Methodist Church social hall on
October 18, 2014, Quiet Dell, West Virginia. Charles S. Piercy Jr.
accepted the medallion and certificate for the family.
Mr. Piercy was born in Randolph County, near Elkins, on February 8, 1917. He was the son of Abraham Lincoln Piercy and Annis Audra Phillips Piercy. Part of the time, Piercy lived with his Grandmother, Alice for a time. His father passed when he was thirteen.
As the Depression was tightening it's hold on the countryside, the family of five struggled greatly. His sisters were Rebecca Hope and Virginia Ruth, and Shirley (passed at birth), and brothers James, Coy, and Calvin.
Mr. Piercy attended country schools. He finished 8th grade at Coalton Public School in 1930. Later in life, Mr. Piercy acquired his GED at the age of 50.
Mr Piercy signed up with the Civilian Conservation Corps on October 16, 1935. Charles, like many, was inaccurate about his eligibility on the age requirement. He then traveled by train to Fort Knox, Kentucky for CCC training. Charles was assigned out West to Camp Palisades, C 2548, Colorado, where he learned to operate heavy equipment. He started out on the jackhammer, then heavy earthmoving equipment. Photographs show Mr Piercy operating a dozer out there. According to documents, his CCC supervisor, William Cutter rated him as “satisfactory." He was transferred to another camp, Camp YNP-2 Yewona, California, working pick and shovel detachment. Then, he was assigned to Camp Delmus, Pioche, Nevada, and then to Sequoia Natinal Part and Yosemite National Park projects. Piercy later was assigned back to Fort Knox, Kentucky, March of 1936. During this first CCC stint, he had his monthly allotments sent back to his sister, Rebecca. According to his son Charles Jr “Dad's eyes were really opened up. He was inspired by the beauty and majesty of Sequoia and Yosemite. He took note of many important projects the CCC was involved. Piercy said, his Dad considered staying out West, but changed his mind. While serving out West, Charles documented his adventures with a rare and wonderful scrapbook and photograph collection.
In late1936, Piercy left the CCC. He returned to Randolph County for a time, but, was again unable to find meaningful and steady work. Mr. Piercy rejoined the CCC in 1937 and this time was assigned to Camp Hutton (F22), Randolph County, West Virginia. There, he was working the fire trails, operating a road grader and other pieces of heavy equipment. He also operated a bulldozer working fire trails in the Monogahela National Forest. At Camp Hutton (Huttonsville, West Virginia), he served as “crew leader” and his marks were “satisfactory”. Mr. Piercy's CCC discharge papers say he left camp on December 9, 1937.
He then came back to Randolph County. There was again limited work. He worked for a bricklaying company for a time. Piercy then went to work for the Elkins Tannery, Kigler Leather Company. Chrles Jr reported: “Dad said this was by far the hardest work he ever did in his life. Dad called it the “most stinking job in the world.”
Charles again, enrolled in the CCC for the second time. He was assigned to travel out West to Three Rivers, California. There he worked clearing trails, building cabins, and performing forest fire duty. There he kept a prized photo album and documentation. “My Dad said it was hard work, but, in one of the most beautiful places in the World. Dad was always proud of the crucial work of the CCC.” commented Charles Piercy Jr.
Mr Piercy married Julia Elva Collett (September 3, 1915-December 29, 1999). They had one son, Charles S. Piercy Jr. on August 19, 1938. Charles Jr. has served as Acting President of the West Virginia State CCC Museum Association since 2006. Later, Charles went to work for the Western Maryland Railroad. His job was “Car Knocker”. He could weld, burn rivets, operate crane and other heavy equipment which he credited the CCC. He retired June 10, 1977.
After retirement, he prided himself in the upkeep of his home. Charles enjoyed working with machinery, having a good garden, and loved to hunt and fish. In 1993, our he developed serious health problems. He died on March 20, 1993.
Photos to follow.