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China in Jefferson County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Site of World War ll Prisoner of War Camp

(China Branch Camp)

 
 
Site of World War ll Prisoner of War Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Anderson, February 2, 2019
1. Site of World War ll Prisoner of War Camp Marker
Inscription.  The reduction of the labor force in the United States during World War II prompted the use of prisoners of war as laborers for various agricultural interests. The responsibility of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service at Texas A&M University, the program in Jefferson County was supervised by J.M. Combs, county extension agent. Combs determined the farm labor needs of the county and analyzed the local labor supply to coordinate his efforts with those of the base P.O.W. camp in Hunstville.

The camp at Huntsville, one of the largest base camps in Texas, opened early in 1943. Its first prisoners were members of Rommel's Afrika Korps who had been captured in North Africa. German prisoners came from the European Theater of Operations, as well. Temporary branch camps were established in areas such as China which were too distant from the base camp for daily round trips. The China branch camp opened in September 1944 on this site. The U.S. government leased the property from the Stanolind Oil & Gas Company. Local farmers and others wishing to use the day labor provided by prisoners picked them up at the camp in the morning and
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returned them each night. German soldiers performed general farm labor at twenty-five cents per hour and harvested rice for three dollars a day. They also worked as loggers. In January 1945 there were 148 prisoners at the China camp. At its peak in August 1945, the camp housed 403 prisoners.

The China camp was open only 15 months. It closed in December 1945 and its 350 prisoners returned to Huntsville, then eventually to Germany. At the dawn of the 21st century the only remnant of the China base camp was the water well.
 
Erected 2000 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 11954.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, World II. A significant historical month for this entry is September 1944.
 
Location. 30° 4.122′ N, 94° 20.292′ W. Marker is in China, Texas, in Jefferson County. Marker is on North Broadway, 1˝ miles north of U.S. 90, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: China TX 77613, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 15 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Opelousas Trail (approx. 1.9 miles away); City of Beaumont (approx. 7.7 miles away); Spell Cemetery (approx. 11.1 miles away); Prater Cemetery (approx. 11.8 miles away); French Trading Post
Site of World War ll Prisoner of War Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brian Anderson, February 2, 2019
2. Site of World War ll Prisoner of War Camp Marker
(approx. 12 miles away); West Beulah Missionary Baptist Church (approx. 13.2 miles away); Leo Edward Craigen (approx. 14 miles away); The Mayumi Legacy (approx. 14.7 miles away).
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 6, 2019. It was originally submitted on February 4, 2019, by Brian Anderson of Humble, Texas. This page has been viewed 284 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 6, 2019, by Brian Anderson of Humble, Texas.

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Apr. 19, 2024