CPS Unit Number 001-01

CPS Unit Number 001-01

Camp: 1

Unit ID: 1

Title: Onekama

Operating agency: BSC

Opened: 6 1941

Closed: 7 1941


CPS Camp No. 1, a Forest Service base camp, located in Manistee, Michigan and operated by the Brethren Service Committee, opened in June 1941 and closed in July 1941. Work focused on fire-fighting in fire season, along with preventative or preparatory work for fire control.

Manistee, Michigan, United States
Location Description:

The Manistee camp opened in Copemish, Michigan on the site of the Brethren work camp at the Joseph farm and remained open for one month.  CPS No. 1, according to Eisan, was also known as Marilla and Manistee (p. 74).  It moved to a new site at Camp Manistee for a year where it was called Camp Stronach, CPS Camp No. 17.  The camp then moved to Wellston, Michigan as CPS Camp No. 42.  

Camp staff:

Director: Rev. L. C. Bickenstaff

The people:

In general the men at Brethren camps tended to represent a religious mix between Brethren and other denominations.  Men in Brethren camps on average had completed 12.22 years of education at point of entry into CPS.  (Sibley and Jacob p. 171)

The work:

The largest number of Brethren base camps worked with the Forest Service.  Men fought fires in fire season and did preventive or preparatory work for fire control.  They spent many days building roads and trails into back country, felling dead trees known as “snags”, building and maintaining lookout systems. 

Camp life:

Apparently antagonism toward conscientious objectors contributed to some moves of this camp to different locations.  At one point during the life of the camp, when hostilities toward COs were running high enough that some townspeople were threatening to harm the men, Virginia Rohwer, one of the CPS wives who lived in Manistee, moved from Manistee into Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Goossen pp. 63-64)



For more information on work in Brethren forest service base camps, see Leslie Eisan, Pathways of Peace: A History of the Civilian Public Service Program Administered by the Brethren Service Committee. Elgin, IL:  Brethren Publishing House, 1948, pp. 74-84; for life in base camps, see pp. 112-187.  


For more information on women COs see Rachel Waltner Goossen, Women Against the Good War: Conscientious Objection and Gender on the American Home Front, 1941-47. Chapel Hill, NC:  The University of North Carolina Press, 1997.


See also by Mulford Q. Sibley and Philip E. Jacob, Conscription of Conscience: The American State and the Conscientious Objector, 1940-1947. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1952.


Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Camp periodicals database.