On the north side of NC 22 halfway between Ramseur and Franklinville are these two quartz columns that mark the one-time entrance to Randolph County’s only Civilian Conservation Corps camp.
The western column has a carved stone inserted in the quartz which appears to be something more like soapstone; the carved writing has deteriorated and been partially vandalized, but seems to read “Civ Co C/ 340 C/ NC.SCS 20G/Ramseur.N.C.”
If those hieroglyphs were all we had to go on, we might still be wondering if this was any more than a standard entrance to the modern subdivision that now stands down “Camp” Road. There are no other structures still standing to tell a story. Luckily, a couple of notes in the Franklinville section of The Courier (published in Asheboro), explain further.
“Randolph County gets a C.C.C. Camp. This camp will be located on 90 highway, on a 10 acre tract of land opposite Central Service Station, midway between Ramseur and Franklinville. The camp will consist of 11 buildings, including an office, commissary, and barracks, and will accommodate 226 men. The houses will be built by local carpenters and are expected to be ready for camp by July 15 at which time they want to begin work if the farm erosion extension is officially confirmed. We are glad to have this camp in our community, which is centrally located in the new erosion extension.” (June 6, 1935)
The camp was apparently built on a 5-acre tract which the federal government must have leased from J.H. Burgess, who had inherited it after the dead of his father John H. Burgess in 1905. In 1962 Burgess sold the 4.89 acres to W.M. Cox, proprietor of Ramseur Building Supply, who subdivided it into twelve lots known as “Forest Hills” subdivision (Plat Book 10, Page 120). Camp Street runs along the western boundary of the property, and Forestview Street marks the eastern boundary.
A note from the May 12, 1936 Courier tells us that the camp had been built and was in operation doing soil conservation work :
M.F. Cheek has done much work on his farm two and a third miles south of Franklinville. This farm was formerly known as the George York place and joins the late A.J. Curtis home place. Since Mr. Cheek bought this property about eight months ago, more than 20 acres have been cleared. By private work and the aid of the CCC camp, the farm has been mapped, terraces run, pastures built, and land selected for the most suitable crops. The farm is on the headwaters of Curtis Creek and several acres will be run in pasture. Mr. Cheek expects to build a dwelling house and a large feed barn this summer.
M.F. Cheek bought the first of three tracts in this property from the heirs of George York in September, 1935 (DB 268, P425). When he sold out in June, 1943, there were three tracts totaling 124 acres (DB372/459). The 1978 deed in the chain describes the property as being “in Franklinville Township…approximately two miles west of the town of Ramseur, on the road known as Holly Springs Road…”
I’m sure that somewhere (probably in the National Archives) there is a lot more information about this camp, and maybe someone else will track down its entire history one day.