CPS Unit Number 008-01

CPS Unit Number 008-01

Camp: 8

Unit ID: 1

Operating agency: MCC

Opened: 6 1941

Closed: 4 1943

CPS Camp No. 8, a Soil Conservation Service base camp located southeast of Marietta, Ohio and operated by the Mennonite Central Committee, opened in June 1941 and closed in April 1943. The men worked in the sixty-eight acre Forest Service nursery containing between twenty-five and thirty million pine seedlings.
Marietta, Ohio, United States
Location Description:

This Soil Conservation Service base camp was located four miles up the Newport Pike and seven miles southeast of Marietta, Ohio overlooking the Ohio River.  The Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and Brethren Service Committee (BSC) jointly operated the camp from its opening in June 1941 until May 1942 when MCC assumed full responsibility for the camp.  It closed in April 1943


Originally, the BSC and the MCC shared responsibility for two Forest Service camps: Marietta and CPS Camp No. 21 at Cascade Locks.  The joint arrangement proved to be administratively inconvenient so Marietta became an MCC camp and the BSC assumed full control of Cascade Locks.

Camp staff:

Directors: David Wedel, Quintus Leatherman, John Schmidt

Dietician: Ruth Schmidt

Matron: Mrs. Quintus Leatherman

Nurse-Matron: Mrs. Robert Eschleman

The people:

The men at the camp when entering CPS reported both Mennonite and Brethren denominational affiliations along with a mix of others as well. 


The majority of men in Mennonite camps reported their occupations as farming and other agricultural work when entering CPS, with twelve percent reporting technical and professional work and eleven percent business, management, sales and public administration.  Men in Brethren camps reported a more diverse set of occupations when entering CPS with twenty-nine percent declaring farming and other agricultural work, eighteen percent technical and professional work, and sixteen percent business management, sales and public administration work.  (Sibley and Jacob p. 172)

The work:

The men worked in the sixty-eight acre Forest Service nursery containing between 25-30 million pine seedlings.  They sowed seeds, cultivated seedlings, transplanted young trees and prepared them for shipment to Ohio forests and farms.  “In 1942, three million trees were shipped from the Marietta Nursery.”  (Gingerich)

Camp life:

The Mennonites emphasized four goals in educational programming:  instruction in Mennonite heritage and mission, clarification of Christians’ relationship to state and community, deepening spiritual experience, and “promoting personal growth by teaching skills with occupational benefit for the men”. (Keim p. 87) These goals were translated into a three month study of Mennonite heritage, and all were strongly urged to participate.  An educational director in the Mennonite base camps worked with the educational secretary in the MCC headquarters. 


The Brethren also emphasized the educational program with a particular attempt to tailor it to the men’s interests. 


Both of the operating agencies were open to change in the programs as the CPS program evolved.  All were interested in providing training for post war relief efforts as an on-going concern of the National Service Board for Religious Objectors.   Justus Holsinger and John Bender, two men at Marietta, transferred from the camp to Goshen, Indiana to assist Dr. M. C. Lehman in preparing materials for the Mennonite intensive relief training school.


The men published a camp paper Whispering Pines from December 22, 1941 through April 1943.


For more information on Mennonite forest service camps, see Melvin Gingerich, Service for Peace: A History of Mennonite Civilian Public Service. Akron, PA: Mennonite Central Committee printed by Herald Press, Scottdale, PA  1949, Chapter XI, pp. 125-148.


For more information on work in Brethren 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, Chapter 3 pp. 75-111; for camp life and educational activities, see Chapter 4 pp. 112-187.


For more information on Forest Service camps see Albert N. Keim, The CPS Story: An Illustrated History of Civilian Public Service. Intercourse, PA: Good Books 1990.


See also 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.