Winslow CCC Camp 541 – Part 2

The Keeton family has been so generous with their sharing for my blog stories. Their ancestors lived and worked in the area with mine. My Mammaw always talked about the crush she had on Ed Keeton. Pappaw John and Kitty told stories on each other until they were both gone.  I sure miss their generation and wish I had listened more.

Perry Keeton shared these photos of his father, Lawrence Keeton from the CCC camp in Winslow.










Winslow CCC Camp 541

Today I decided I needed to have a little get away.  Just a day trip.  So I picked a cemetery in Sullivan County for a Kennedy ancestor that I did not have a grave picture for yet.  Rich and I took off.  GPS led us straight to the church.  A brand spanking new church with no cemetery in sight.  Apparently the coal mines brought out the old church and the cemetery is still there on active coal mine land somewhere.  Not something you just drive up to on a random Saturday afternoon.  Being from Pike County, I totally get this.  We enjoyed a picnic and visited the Lynn graves in Bicknell. None of this has anything to do with the CCC camp but….

A few days ago I had received an email from Shannon Hart who lives in Texas.  Her dad had served at the Winslow CCC camps in 1934 and she had some pictures she wanted to share.  She had come across this blog and was so nice to have gotten in contact with me.  Today I received the pictures.  She wanted them to go to someone who would appreciate their history.  What a treasure!!  I was as excited as a kid at Christmas.

She wrote:  “So glad I have found a new “home” for the pictures.  As I said they were in my dad, Herald Wilson Jones album.   Daddy was born in Herrin, Illinois, July 3, 1918, died in Temple, TX October 2, 1993.  He had talked a lot about the CCC camps.”

Winslow’s camp was out by where the ADM is now.


CCC 1934 My Buddy & J


1934 CCC Camp 541 Winslow, Ind.


These are the leaders


Number 3 barracks


Number 4 barracks


Number 5 barracks

Thank you again for the pictures Shannon.  Now, can my readers identify anyone in them?  Put your answers in the comments.  If you have any area photos to share, let me know.

Other Winslow CCC photos can be seen at: . I saw no photos here but there was information about our camp.  .  John Dedman has this history and a few other photos on the Winslow Eskimo website

This one is a history of the Pike State Forest Fire Tower and it is now a preservation project.  This is just a random picture but still pretty cool.



An Author Comes to Town: And He’s From Winslow!

I am just so darn excited when I find a book written by someone from the Winslow area.  I hope it will me someday.

A while back I started following a blog written by Eddie Casson.  Eddie went to WHS and grew up out by the State Forest on a farm.  I remembered him from school. He was a few years older than me and hung out with my friend Nyla Riddle sometimes.  He tells of his struggles growing up gay in Indiana.  The farm stories were such good reading and a piece of our past here at home.  People and places we all know.  Things so many of us can relate to.  He shared these on the blog (at the right on my links) as he was working on his memoir and getting his book published.

His dream finally came true!  He has a book.  He used some of my good friend Amber Ball’s photos in it.  It’s a must read for everyone from the area.


Amber and I met up with Eddie at his book signing at the Petersburg Library on November 7, 2016.  I have my signed copy and am about halfway through it already.  I love the story about Old Hannah and always love Mammaw stories.  Anyone’s Mammaw stories 🙂


Amber Ball, Eddie Casson and me.

Eddies book is available on Amazon.  Kindle unlimited it is free, Kindle or paperback available for purchase.  I think Marge’s Hallmark is carrying some copies also.

Fall in the State Forest

We took a drive out to the State Forest for this years Fall photos.

One day the Old Iron Bridge at Survant will be gone.  The county will be moving it to Petersburg as a walkover bridge.  I am glad they are preserving it, rather than seeing it end up in the scrap heap somewhere.



A stop at Augusta Lake


Waterfall at Augusta Lake


Augusta Lake Reflections




Old Iron Bridge at Survant


River and the Old Iron Bridge


Old Iron Bridge Fall Colors


Old Iron Bridge


River Rocks and tracks at Survant


Fire Barn


Old Fire Tower


Fire Tower Colors

Forest Path

Forest Path

Summertime and The Pike State Forest 1960s Style

Back in the 60s when I was a little girl, our family spent a lot of time at the Pike State Forest.   It was shady and cool.  It was close to home for a get away.

My Mammaw Evans and me at the State Forest 1961

It has been a few years since I have been out there.  The last time I was there, those swings and teeter totters were still there.  It was such a challenge to get the right number of kids on the teeter totter to balance it.  How much time did we spend in that endeavor?  And always begging to be pushed in those swings?  And slicking up the slide with the wax paper from the picnic potato chip bags?  You flew down it so fast sometimes you could not catch yourself and landed on your butt in the soft dirt.

Jimmy and Buck on the slide at the State Forest.
Dad, Karla Sue, Bucky and one of the Corn Corn’s on the swings

Does anyone else remember your dad cutting a grapevine and swinging out over the hollers? Dad carving your names into the trees with his pocketknife and just walking around and reading all the names carved into trees?  And swimming in the river? 

My brothers and I coming back up the path from swimming in the river

The park was always full of people.   You would be lucky to find a place sometimes.   My dad had his favorite spots.  The tables used to be scattered in areas all along the road.  We would walk to the fire tower and watch dad climb it.  Sometimes we would go into the woods to the old Corn cemetery.  We always had a picnic.  Sometimes we grilled hamburgers.  Sometimes we roasted hotdogs.  Sometimes we just had a choice of baloney and cheese or cheese and baloney, as dad always said 🙂    Mammaw Evans would make fresh squeezed lemonade in a glass jar. 

Momma grillin some burgers
Mammaw Evans peeling taters, Karla Sue, Momma and us kids
Our family sitting down to eat

If I am wrong here, someone correct me, but I believe the forest and fire tower were part of the CCC camp’s work in the 1930’s following the depression. 

Dad and Bucky up to something
Stevie and I having fun on the swings at the forest

I miss those days.  I’m sure it was hot and bugs bit us and we had poison ivy, but I don’t remember those things.  I only remember the good times we all had being together.

Where Is Big Red now?

Little girls were fascinated with the big coal machines too.  Especially those of us who grew up in coal mine country.   I read the enduring story of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel more than once at the school library and bookmobile.  Random facts on this timeless classic:   it was written in 1939,  has become a board game, a children’s movie and even a computer game. 

This photo was taken sometime around 1942 or 1943.  My friend, Kaye Walker, shared it with me.  It is of her mother, Phyllis Thompson, as a little girl standing in front of the coal shovel bucket.  Phyllis’s father worked at the mines, but we do not know which one this was.  Phyllis’s parents were Orvan and Mary Davis Thompson.  It’s hard not to appreciate this photo with it’s contrast of the dirty coal mine shovel and the sweetly smiling little girl in front of it.

Phyllis Thompson, 1942 or 1943

Phyllis Thompson, 1942 or 1943

My pops worked at Whirlpool until around 1966 when he broke his back at work.  He could no longer get hired at any of the local plants because of his back injury.  He didn’t sue.  He just worked at what he could on his own.  He started tearing down all of the old coal mine tipples around for the scrap metal and equipment he could sell.  He started pulling up railroad rail from the unused tracks that ran from the old mines to sell for scrap.   We grew up playing around the old mines.  We knew how to be careful of the dangers too.  Old shafts and rattlesnakes are just a few that come to mind.   

One of the few remaining old tipples in Coe, Old Ben.

One of the few remaining old tipples in Coe, Old Ben.

My dad always liked to pile us all up in the car and go for a drive.  One of our driving trips would be to the State Forest and then out of the State Forest from the fire tower to Highway 64.  This was all old strip mine.  Along it was an old highwall of sandstone that had numerous names and initials carved into it.   My dad’s older brother, Billy Joe Lynn, was killed in a car accident in 1969 at the age of twenty nine.  Billy Joe had carved his name in the highwall and dad always stopped there to look at it.  If I remember correctly, it was pretty large letters and must have taken quite some time to do.  Right up the road from this highwall, back in the spoil banks sat an old derelict steam shovel.  It had wooden sides and had been replaced years prior with something much more modern and left to rot.  My dad cut it up for scrap around 1970.  We climbed all over that thing.  We searched the spoil banks for fossils.  This photo of an old steam shovel my Pappa Evan’s had is similar to what that shovel looked like.  These photos were probably taken at Ingle #4 or #8.  Pappa worked at both.  The next photo Pappa had is of a more modern shovel from when the Electric Shovel Company took over.

Wooden Steam Shovel at Ingle #4 or #8

Wooden Steam Shovel at Ingle #4 or #8

Electric Shovel Company digger

Electric Shovel Company digger

I was always so thrilled when we were kids and we would drive out on Cato Road to watch Big Red work.  My obsession with Big Red continued for decades.  She was huge!  Her boom length was 200 feet.    She was put to work in 1961-62. 

Big Red Working in the Early 60s

Big Red working in the early 60s

I can remember in high school during the mid 70s when Big Red crossed over Highway 61 in Campbelltown to work on the other side of the highway.  They worked for months building a road for her to walk on.  My friends and I even skipped school that day to watch it.  And we weren’t the only ones!

Big Red in the background at Old Ben:Indiana Historical Society

Big Red in the background at Old Ben: Indiana Historical Society

I remember a few years ago taking the Senior Citizens out to watch the dragline go back across Highway 61 on the Petersburg side of the beltline.  I don’t think they shared my enthusiasm but they were always up for an outing.

What ever happened to Big Red?  Is she still at work out there in the middle of no where?  Did she get sold?  Did she finally use up her usefulness and is now recycled steel some where?  Where is Big Red now?