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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Historian, songwriter to present program on Civilian Conservation Corps

At the Deane Center in Wellsboro, Bill Jamerson will be singing songs he has written and telling stories about life in the Civilian Conservation Corps he has been told during CCC reunions and conventions.
Historian and songwriter Bill Jamerson of Escanaba, Michigan will share stories about the Civilian Conservation Corps on Tuesday, May 12 at 7 p.m. at the Deane Center’s Grand Community Room at 104 Main Street, Wellsboro.

He has been giving live programs about the CCC to children and adults since 2002. His is the first program in the Deane Center’s History Comes Alive series.

Jamerson will be dressed as a dollar-a-day boy as he tells stories, plays guitar and sings songs he has written. The information is based on firsthand accounts about life in the Civilian Conservation Corps he has gathered at CCC reunions and conventions. “His stories are as historically important as they are entertaining,” said Kevin Connelly, Deane Center executive director.

During the show, Jamerson will also share video clips from his 1992 documentary film “Camp Forgotten – The Civilian Conservation Corps in Michigan,” which aired on 58 public television stations nationwide and excerpts from his book “Big Shoulders,” a historical novel published in 2007 about the extra-ordinary individuals in the CCC. He went on to write and produce 10 more documentaries.

There are often pleasant surprises at his shows when some of the people attending tell CCC stories and bring photos and memorabilia.

As a youngster, Jamerson developed a love for history by listening to his grandfather talk about life in the lumberjack camps and living through the Great Depression.

From 1933 to 1942, CCC camps operated across the United States, including in Tioga County, Pa.

About 600,000 World War I veterans and 2.6 million young unmarried men, 17 to 28 who could not find jobs enlisted in the CCC public relief program designed to put them back to work. They were given a place to sleep, food to eat, clothes to wear and paid $1 a day in return for the work they did.

They logged trees and planted new ones, built walls and dams and a network of public roadways, and upgraded or built hundreds of state parks across the country. Among them were Leonard Harrison and Colton Point state parks, near Wellsboro.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Children under 12 with an adult will be admitted free.

For information or tickets, call 570-724-6220 or visit For $60, adults can buy a ticket package to attend all five shows in the series. Ticket packages are also available for organizations.

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