Civilian Conservation Corps

In 1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt conceived and created what would become the single most productive conservation effort in our history: the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The unemployment brought on by the Depression caused the Emergency Work Program to be established, and thus, the CCC was born.

Unemployed US citizens would be used to serve in constructing, maintaining, and performing works of a public nature. These included forestration of land, fire prevention, floods, and soil erosion as well as maintenance or repair of paths, trails, and fire lanes. Also, the program was useful in the restoration of the depleted natural resources and in performing useful public works. The program relieved the widespread distress of the times.

From 1933 to 1942 the CCC employed nearly 100,000 men in Michigan.

CCC camps were built throughout all of Michigan. The state is reaping rewards even yet from the invaluable work done by the young men in the forests, parks, and the public works. Camp Pori No.682 near Mass; Camp Bonifas No. 460 near Watersmeet, Camp Kenton located one mile north of Kenton; Camp Sidnaw in Sidnaw; Camp Jumbo, located two miles south of the Ottawa Lodge, and Camp Fort Brady at the Soo.

Over 200 young men from Hamtramck were sent to Camp Steuben No. 669 which was located between Munising and Manistique. This was the first enlistment in 1933.

The following young men were selected as L.E.M.'s (Local Experienced Men) for Camp Steuben: Albert Anderson, Lawrence Barney, Theodore Bessen, Slim Kebaugh, E. Ray Knivila, Walter Koyn, Victor Murto, Elton Peterson, Reino Suhonen, Harris Thompson, Donald Vaughn, Ed Wagonis, William Wiitanen and others from Interior Township—For Camp 682 Mass: Andrew Besonen and Camp 460 Watersmeet: Arne Besonen.

The men wore khaki uniforms. An Army officer was in charge of the camp. The Forest Service handled the work schedules.

The young men were awakened to reveille by the bugler at six in the morning. A Captain was in charge of the camp: a 1st Lieutenant was in charge of the mess hall; and another lieutenant was the camp medical officer.

Some young women met and married their future husbands from these camps.

Education in the C's was voluntary. Courses and programs were offered, but enrollees could not be ordered to take them. Most boys took advantage of the opportunities to learn; some took vocational training and others academic training.

In December 1942, 1,400 Army troops from Camp McCoy Wisconsin, moved into seven abandoned Western U.P. camps for winter maneuvers. During the World War II years, some 425,000 prisoners of war (Japanese, Italian, and German) were brought to the United States. They were kept at some 35 base camps and more than 300 side camps. Between 5,000 and 8,000 Germans came to Michigan and five of the PW camps were former CCC camps in the Upper Peninsula.

The end of the CCC came as the nation's economy improved. The private industrial sector competed for man power as well the military which swallowed men as they foresaw imminence of World War II on the horizon. By June 30, 1943, the Civilian Conservation Corps was only a page in history, but left a job well done and many young men with a better perspective on life.

Civil Defense

Left to Right: Governor Williams, Paul Sliger, John Wakevainen, Lew McDonald.

In 1944, people from Interior Township attended a seminary on Civil Defense Demonstrations at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

The purpose of the meeting was to learn what to expect in the event of a surprise attack on a city.

A tour was conducted to show makeshift hospitals, first aid stations and kitchen facilities. Mock bombing raids were reenacted.

People from throughout the State of Michigan were in attendance including Governor G. Mennen Williams, Paul Sliger, John Wakevainen, Lew McDonald and Ray Knivila.

American Legion Post

When World War II came to an end and the servicemen from Interior Township returned home, many of them joined the Veterans of World War I organizations in the nearby towns as we did not have a local organization. On April 14,1946, 23 local veterans gathered at the local school to organize our American Legion Post. Here to help us organize were Dave Rahm, Department Vice Commander, and John P. Collins, 12th District Committee man who acted as chairman for the meeting. Other officers present from Iron Mountain, Negaunee, and Joe Elliott, commander of the Ottawa Post of Kenton.

Officers elected for our Post were Urho Heikkala, adjutant; George Kaare, commander; Reino Soder, senior vice commander; William McDonald, junior vice commander; John Besonen, sargent of arms; Hugo Koski, finance officer; Wilho J. Perttula, chaplain; and Alvar Besonen, historian.

It was decided to name our post "Trombley-Pulkas Post 494" in memory of two men who had given their lives in service of their country. The school gym and athletic field were to be named for two others, Joseph Cameron and Thomas Heikkala who also lost their lives. The Post charter was received and dedicated on April 27, 1947. The plaque for the gym and athletic field was received and dedicated October 26, 1947. The township had memorial monuments constructed at the Agate and Trout Creek cemeteries and presented them to our Post with dedication on November 27, 1946. An auxiliary unit to the Post was organized in 1947 and has been very active.

After holding our meetings at the school for five years, we purchased the old Co-op store, repaired it, and dedicated it April 29, 1951. In 1978 the Ottawa Post of Kenton was disbanded and many of their members joined our Post which was a welcome addition. In the fall of 1969 the Post purchased Cameron's Bar, renamed and operated it as the Community Bar. It was sold in 1979 and the proceeds were used to remodel and enlarge our present home, which has been a real asset to the Post and community. Our membership numbers in the sixties with six charter members remaining as members of the Post. The Post and Auxiliary take part in community activities, National holidays, and especially on Memorial Day we have services to remember our departed veterans.

Women's Auxiliary Unit #494

The Trombley-Pulkas American Legion Auxiliary Unit #494 M started on March 4, 1947. The first officers of the Unit were installed by Mrs. E. Westnedge of Kalamazoo, Michigan. She was the mother of Doro Cameron, who was installed as the first President.

The first officers were:
PresidentMrs. Dorothy Cameron
Vice-PresidentMrs. Doris Jean Ponozzo
SecretaryMrs. Gladys Thompson
TreasurerMrs. Greta Sliger
HistorianMrs. Joyce McDonald
ChaplainMrs. Mary Staff
Sargent at ArmsMrs. Elaine Carlisle

The Executive Committee Officers were: Mrs. Elna McLaughlin, Mrs. Esther Saari, Mrs. Hazel Sliger.

Other Charter Members were: Mrs. Fanny Kahkonen, Mrs. Helen Sloma, Miss Bette Sliger, Miss Ruth Cameron, Miss Dorothy A. Cameron, Miss Eleanor Nelson.

The present officers are (1988):

	President	Mrs. Gilda Russell
	Vice-President	Mrs. Siri Lundberg
	Secretary	Mrs. Eleanor Bessen
	Treasurer	Mrs. Alice Thompson
	Historian	Mrs. Patricia Coss (now deceased, 1996)
	Chaplain	Mrs. Verna Pentilla
	Sargent at Arms	Mrs. Ina Johnston
The American Legion Auxiliary assists the American Legion when called upon to do so. It performs many community services and participates in several programs connected with the Veteran Hospitals. A special activity is the selling of poppies, handmade by veterans, in memory of those who gave their lives for our country. The Auxiliary joins the Legion Post to present Memorial Day programs at the Agate, Trout Creek and Kenton cemeteries. A meal is served at the Legion Hall, for all veterans, their families and guests, following the cemetery services.

Veterans Of Interior Township

The following list of men and women of Interior Township have served in the Armed Forces. If we have inadvertently omitted any name, we apologize.

Anderson, Raymond; Aslin, George.

Backa, Bernard; Backa, Carl; Beil, John; Bell, Orval; Bennett, William; Besonen, Alvar; Besonen, Arne N.; Besonen, Arthur; Besonen, Arvid; Besonen, Bernard; Besonen, Darrell; Besonen, David E.; Besonen, Dennis; Besonen, Edwin; Besonen, Henry; Besonen, Jeff; Besonen, John; Besonen, Matt; Besonen, Robert; Bessen, Ernest; Bessen Roy; Bessen, Theodore; Bonin, Robert; Bonin, William; Bosio, John; Bosio, Melvin; Boston, Sam; Brown, Kenneth; Brown, Lesley; Brownell, Richard.

Cameron, Edward; Cameron, Joseph E. *; Carlisle, Bernhardt; Carlisle, Claude; Carlisle, Marldean; Carlisle, Robert; Christen, Alfred; Christen, John; Cody, Henry; Cody, John; Coss, Gilbert. Sr.; Coss, Richard; Coss, Sidney; Cottenham, Chester; Cottenham, Edward; Coyle, John; Crnkovich, Matt; Cronkright, Gary; Cronkright, Richard.

Devowe, David, Jr.; Devowe, Gerald; Dishaw, Earl; Dishaw, Raymond; Ditzhzy, Joseph; Dove, Eugene.

Garrick, Charles; Garrick, Earl; Gunderson, Calvin; Gunderson, Merlin; Gustafson, William.

Hardes, Leland; Hautamaki, Bruce; Hautamaki, Eugene; Hautamaki, John; Hautamaki, Wilho; Heikkila, Thomas *; Heikkila, Toivo; Heikkala, Uno; Heikkala, Urho; Heinonen, Eino; Heinonen, William; Helsius, Albert; Helsius, David, Jr.; Helsius, Edward; Helsius, Frans; Helsius, Jon; Helsius, Marvin *; Helsius, Raymond; Hemming, Daniel; Hemming, Ernest; Hietala, Andrew; Hietamaki, Robert; Hietamaki, William; Hiitola, William; Hiitola, William, Jr.; Hukkala, Jack.

Jarvi, Reino; Jarvi, Toivo; Jarvi, William; Joensuu, Rev. M. N.; Johnson, Arvo; Johnson, Meivin; Juhola, Charles; Juhola, Michael.

Kaare, Arvo; Kaare, George; Kaare, John; Kaars, Jack; Kahkonen, William; Kallio, John W.; Kallio, Paul; Kallio, Raymond; Kananen. Danny; Kananen, Robert W.; Kananen, Ronald; Kangas, Reino; Kantala, Arne; Kariainen, Alfred; Kariainen, Alvin ;Kariainen, Arvo; Kariainen, Charles; Kariainen, Charles, Jr.; Kariainen, Ernest; Kariainen, Kenneth; Kariainen, ToBve; Kariainen, Willia; Kettunen, Jack; Klosno, Steve; Knivila, Allen; Knivila, Bruce; Knivila, Elmer; Knivila, Walter; Kohtala, Reino; Kohtala, Theoda; Kopsi, Daniel; Koski, Hugo.

Laitala, Jacob; Laitala, John; Laitinen, James; Laitinen, John; Laitinen, Stanley; Lakanen, Reino; Lakanen, William; LaPonsie, Wilfred; Larson, Ernest; Larson, Roy; Laurila, Rueben; Laurila, Wallace; Leaf, James; Leinonen, Arthur; Leinonen, Jacob; Leinonen, Robert; Lelvis, Fred; Lelvis. Jerrv; Lundberg, Ferdinand, Jr.; Lundberg, Robert; Lundberg, Uno.

Maata, Arne; Madden, James; Maki, Ernest; Maki, James; Maki, John; Maki, Phillip; Maki, Robert; Maki, Roger; Malin, William; Manning, Benjamin; Manning, Ronald *; Mareno, Paul; McDonald, Donald; McDonald, William; McLaughlin, Bruce; McLaughlin, Jack; McLaughlin, Jim; McLaughlin, John; Mead, LeRoy; Merila, Charles; Merila, Elmer; MiBlu, David; Miilu, Norman, Jr.; Miilu, Robert; Miilu, Russell; ~o; ure; Moffltt, Edson' Moffitt, Edward; Moffitt, Edwin; Moilanen, Arne; Moilanen, William; MversS Dallas; Myers, Dorety; Melson, Walter.

Niemi, Eino; Niami, Ero; Niemi, Reino; Nuutinen, George; Nuutinen, Toivo.

Olgren, Arthur; Olgren, Jan.

Paivarinta, Charles; Paivarinto, Isaac; Paivarinto, Waino; Paivarinto, William; Pelkola, James; Pelkola, Reuben; Perttula, Daniel; Perttula, James; Perttula, Reuben; Perttula, Steven; Perttula, Timothy; Perttula, Wilbert; Perttula, Wilho; Peterson, Dale; Peterson, Kenneth; Piirto, Arne; Piirto, Eino; Piirto, Reuben; Pinkerton, John; Pittsley, Edward; Pittsley, Hollis; Porter, George; Porter, Jack *; Pulkas, Andrew; Pulkas, George; Pulkas, Walter *; Ralston, John; Richardson, William; Roxbury, John; Russel l, Jon; Russeli, Michael.

Saari, Niilo; Saari, Rudolph; Sallmen, Harold; Salonen, Ernest; Salonen, Robert; Seppanen, Reuben; Seppanen, Wesley; Seppi, Francis; Seppi, Frank; Sharrard, Steve; Sjogren, John B.; Sliger, Bernard; Sliger, Charles; Sliger, William; Soder. Reino; Staff, Jack; Sterns, Herbert; Stein, David; Stein, William; Suominen, Hugo; Suominen, Reino.

Taeger, Gerald; Taeger, Robert; Tahtinen, Donald J.; Tahtinen, Roy R. J.; Thompson, Harris; Thompson, Tod; Timonen, Heino; Tooley, George; Trombley, Edward *.

Vaughan, John.

Wakevainen, Theodore; Walls, Wilbert Jr.; Weber, Eugene; Weber, Mose; Wicklund, Ralph; Wiitala, Elmer; Wiitanen, George.

* Died in Service

Barnbrook, Iris (Carlisle); Harju, Gertrude; Hietamaki, Mary; Lundberg, Lila; Niemi, Tyyne; Richardson, Eunice; Walls, Marian.

World War I

Allen, Harry; Allen, Raymond, W.; Anderson, Albert; Anderson, Carl; Cameron, Duncan; Catterson, Monroe; Catterson, Walter; Dove, Bernard; Dove, Herbert; Ellis, Melvin; Gingrich, Wayne; Milier, Arthur *; Sexton, George; Singleton, Alfred; Thompson, Elmer.

** Last survivor; died 4/28/85; age 90.

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Created by Lynn V. Boston. Last update 24-Feb-1997.