CPS Unit Number 113-01
Unit ID: 1
Title: Minnesota Experiment Station
Operating agency: BSC
Opened: 8 1943
Closed: 8 1946
CPS Unit No. 113, an Agriculture Experiment Station unit based at the University of Minnesota and conducted in four subunits near or within the cities of Grand Rapids, Duluth, Waseca and St. Paul, Minnesota, opened in August 1943. Operated by the Brethren Service Committee, the unit closed in August 1946. The men worked on experimental farms, raised livestock, conducted crops studies, and participated in experiments with small grains and corn.
The projects from the Agriculture Experiment Station at the University of Minnesota, were located in four subunits widely dispersed areas across the state at Grand Rapids in north central Minnesota, Duluth in the far northeastern part of the state, Waseca in southern Minnesota, and St. Paul adjoining Minneapolis on the north bank of the Mississippi River.
Directors: Herman Drabenstott, Wilbur Long, Gene Dice, Carlton Ring
Men in Brethren camps and units tended to report diverse religious affiliation when they entered CPS, usually with about half of the men reporting affiliation with Brethren groups. Men in Brethren projects reported considerably more education and professional experience than those who enlisted in the Army and Navy, and entered CPS with an average of 12.22 years of education. (Sibley and Jacob p. 171)
More men in both Mennonite and Brethren camps entered CPS from rural areas rather than urban areas. Men entering Friends camps more frequently did so from urban areas. Twenty-nine percent of men in Brethren camps reported their occupation as farming or other agricultural work upon entering CPS. (Sibley and Jacob p. 172)
At Grand Rapids, the five men performed many tasks at an agriculture experimental farm and school attended by fifty high school age boys interested in agriculture. The school operated for a five-month term. The farm of four hundred acres with two hundred acres under cultivation included well furnished buildings and equipment. One man worked in the dairy department, one as a general farm laborer, one taught commerce while also performing office work and caring for a small flock of chickens. The school raised dairy cattle, horses, hogs, sheep and poultry.
The experiment station in Waseca, devoted to livestock and crops study, encompassed nearly six hundred acres bordering the town. The men made hay, threshed grain, built fencing, drove tractors and teams and fed stock. They treated seed and also picked, shelled and sorted corn. At one point, two men worked as field laborers with various crops pollinating plants. One served as an agronomist, making tests related to crop yields, keeping records for the small plots. One served as a horticulturist and one as a dairy herdsman.
Men in Duluth worked with the dairy herd and performed general farm operations.
At St. Paul, an average of four to five men worked with small grains and corn. They helped weigh samples and compare results in seed testing and crop breeding. They planted, cultivated, harvested and threshed the grain.
During the life of the unit, the men completed 9,832 person days of project work, according to statistics found in Selective Service Form DSS 52. (in Eisan p. 236)
At Grand Rapids, the men lived in a dormitory with other employees. The men could access the library, gymnasium and shop in off-duty hours.
At Waseca, men received an allowance which they used for room and board rather than living at the station.
Men in Duluth lived at the university farm house along with some of the other employees. The university also provided meals.
Men in St. Paul, like at Waseca, received an allowance in lieu of room and board.
For more information on Brethren agricultural units 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, Chapter 7 pp. 239-272.
See also Mulford Q. Sibley and Philip E. Jacob, Conscription of Conscience: The American State and the Conscientious Objector, 1940-47. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1952.
Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Camp periodicals database.