CPS Unit Number 097-31

CPS Unit Number 097-31

Camp: 97

Unit ID: 31

Operating agency: MCC

Opened: 5 1943

Closed: 10 1946



CPS Unit No. 97, subunit 31, located in Dodge County, Wisconsin, was operated by Mennonite Central Committee.

Dodge County, Wisconsin, United States
The people:

The first group of ten men came from CPS Camp No. 18 in Denison, Iowa on May 21, 1942 to begin one of the experimental units.  The manager of the Dodge County Employment Office had visited the camp to select the men. 


These men reported cordial relations with farmers and their neighbors and gathered for a picnic at Beaver Dam Park on June 21, 1942.  In August, ten additional men transferred from Denison to the unit.  The Denison camp director visited the men and handled their expenses. 


Jesse Short, area supervisor for MCC, administered the dairy farm work in the Wisconsin Counties from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Paul Guengerich followed him as supervisor in January 1944, Dwight Yoder in February 1945, and Gilbert Alliman in February 1946.


An MCC representative visited each of the dairy workers once every two weeks to “provide spiritual care . . . and minister to them in any other way possible”. (Letter from Henry Fast to Gideon Yoder, June 16, 1942 in Gingerich p. 191) 


Men attended religious services, often in area churches.  Pastors visited men in the Wisconsin counties sometimes holding meetings in the home of one of the employing farmers, a Mennonite family or in area churches. 


To assist in creating connections for the men dispersed on individual farms, area directors sent the CPS News Letter to each assignee.  In Wisconsin, Jesse Short sent a weekly mimeographed sermonette called Short TalksDairyland Views followed, created to send news about regulations, speaker and event schedules, and news from the different counties.