CPS Unit Number 024-02
Unit ID: 2
Operating agency: BSC
Opened: 4 1942
Closed: 9 1946
Total number of workers who worked in this camp: 89
CPS Camp No. 24, subunit 2, Williamsport Maryland.Digital Image © 2011 Brethren Historical Library and Archives. All Rights Reserved.Aug. 26, 1942
CPS Camp No. 24, subunit 2, Williamsport Maryland.Digital Image © 2011 Brethren Historical Library and Archives. All Rights Reserved.
CPS Camp # 24, Hagerstown, MarylandBox 1, Folder 15. MCC Photographs, Civilian Public Service, 1941-1947. IX-13-2.2. Mennonite Central Committee Photo Archive
CPS Camp # 24, Hagerstown, MarylandPhoto # 46 Box 1, Folder 15. MCC Photographs, Civilian Public Service, 1941-1947. IX-13-2.2. Mennonite Central Committee Photo Archive
Aug. 26, 1942
CPS Camp No. 24 Subunit 2, a Soil Conservation Service camp in Williamsport, Maryland on the Brethren-owned Hopewell Farm, was operated by the Brethren Service Committee. According to Eisan, it opened in April 1942 and closed in September 1946.
This special project was created through cooperation amongst the Brethren Service Committee, the Soil Conservation Service of the US Department of Agriculture and the Washington County soil conservation district.
Directors: Q.A. Holsopple, Ora DeLauter, Lawrence Fitzwater, Myron Miller
Approximately thirty-five men operated the unit. The men, when entering CPS reported a mix of Brethren and other denominational affiliations.
Williamsport was one of five similar CPS units engaged in soil conservation work in the area. Mennonite Central Committee provided overall supervision of activities common to all five of the units.
Men performed a variety of soil conservation measures on co-operating farms in the district—building fences, contour plowing, ditching, soil analysis, and help in gathering in crops. One of the men served as the farm manager.
Since the farm was in a run-down condition, the men restored it to full use through demonstration projects. Those projects included contour farming, pasture improvement, dairy testing, breeding pure-bred hogs and dairy cattle, bee-keeping, poultry-raising, poultry- culling, egg production, butchering. In addition the men performed carpentry, masonry, and electrical wiring to keep the farm buildings in good order and fully functioning.
Each unit retained local autonomy and was free to proceed on matters that were of concern to them only. At this unit, the men gained practical experience in a demonstration project developing modern approved agricultural methods combined with a course of study about rural life.
The men lived in the farmhouse and adjacent buildings, improving and maintaining them. They also assisted in growing much of the food consumed at the camp.
They participated in religious activities in the near-by communities, most attending the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren. Some assignees participated in the activities of other denominational groups.
The men gained practical experience on the Brethren-owned Hopewell Farm (180 acres) and in conservation work on neighboring farms. In off-duty hours, they worked toward the creation of a Brethren center for the practice and study of effective rural living. This involved many activities—classes, speakers, field trips, as well as study groups in pacifism and reconstruction, farm accounting, farm management, spelling, Bible, first aid and the teachings of Jesus among others. The activities culminated in a special School for Rural Life held at the Hopewell farm.
Many men also worked in town or on neighboring farms in off hours to supplement their small CPS monthly allowance.
For more information on the School of Rural Life, educational program and religious interests, 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. 264-269.