Brownwood Scout Camp

1921 - 1922

The first summer camp of the newly organized Brownwood Council was held for eight days, starting August 21, 1921, at the Ellis Ranch located on the San Saba River some 14 miles west of the city of San Saba.  Some seventy Scouts went to the camp.  It took eight trucks and six cars to take everyone and their gear to the camp.  They left a 7 a.m. and traveled down the lower Brady road to Milburn, then to Richland Springs and from there to Algerita and then out to the Ellis pasture.

Cots at campOn the way down to the camp that Tuesday, several incidents to various motor trucks and automobiles delayed the arrival of the boys and party in charge, at the camping place until one o'clock  They ate and then went for a swim.  The depth of the river was six feet at their swimming hole, but most of it was of wading depth.

Judge E. M Davis was the Camp Director and he was assisted by Cantrell and James L. Childs, Scoutmasters, Knox Chandler, deputy Scout commissioner and James Hiner, Jr., Scout Executive.  Two large automobiles were placed at the disposal of the Scouts and a telephone was located at Mr. Ellis ranch.

The Scouts camped in the opening most of the time.  Here is a picture that shows the cots all lined up for morning inspection.  The camp was very primitive but it did not take the Scouts long to arrange rocks in a straight line and whitewash them.  This was a very popular activity for many years at Scout camps.

Daily Program

The daily program of the Brownwood Scout Camp was as follows:

6:00 a.m.  First Call
6:15 a.m.  Revile
6:20 a.m.  Assembly
6:25 a.m.  Setting-Up Exercise
6:30 a.m.  Morning Dip
6:50 a.m.  Recall
7:00 a.m.  Mess
8:00 a.m.  Air tents, bedding, etc.
8:30 a.m.  Assembly
8:35 a.m.  Scoutcraft Instruction
10:45 a.m. Recall
11:00 a.m. Free Period
12:15 p.m. Noon Mess
1:00 p.m.  Inspection of tents
1:10 p.m.  Assembly
1:15 p.m.  Handicraft
3:00 p.m.  Examination and Demonstration Period
4:30 p.m.  Assembly
4:35 p.m.  Group games
5:30 p.m. Swim
6:15 p.m. Mess
7:00 p.m. Campfire
9:00 p.m. Tattoo
9:15 p.m. Quarters
9:30 p.m.  Taps

 Meals

The first supper consisted of mush and milk, bread and butter, cocoa and cakes.  Breakfast the next morning consisted of shredded wheat, fried mush, fried bacon, coffee or postum.  Lunch was soup, crackers, lambs chops and gravy, boiled potatoes, tapioca, bread, butter and tea.

The next supper was macaroni and cheese, fired potatoes, bread, butter and cocoa.  Other meals included a breakfast of stewed prunes, homey grits, creamed potatoes, coffee or postum, a lunch of lamb stew, buttered beets, bread and apple butter, tea.  One supper included boiled potatoes, succotash, apple sauce, bread, butter and cocoa.

Sunday

A report by Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Petty, who along with other parents, visited the camp on Sunday had this to report in the Brownwood Bulletin of August 29, 1921.

"We found the boys all comfortably tented, with a splendid camp arrangement, plenty to each and nothing to worry about.  We crossed the river on a bridge and it was wonderful to note the substantial nature of their work.  Everything in the camp appeared to be ideal and our visit was very much enjoyed."

After the Scout broke camp that following Tuesday morning they were brought back to Brownwood in automobiles.

Pictures

By September 9, 1921, a series of Sunday afternoon meetings of all the Boy Scouts in town were resumed.  Troop 5 of the Austin Avenue Presbyterian Church was host to the first meeting at which fifty of the best pictures that were taken at camp, showing all phases of the camp life, were to be thrown upon a screen for all the boys may see what the camp was like.  A large turnout of parents and Scouts were expected to attend this Sunday afternoon meeting.

Second Summer Camp - 1922

The camping committee looked at several places to have a summer camp in 1922 and finally decided to go back to the Ellis Ranch.  They set the date of the camp for August 21-28 and the camp fee at $4.75 with a deposit of $1.00 in advance.  The Brownwood Rotary Club appointed a committee to arrange for transportation to and from the camp near San Saba.  Ninety Scouts went to the camp for the eight days.

This year, after having had less than great meals at the previous summer, they arranged to employ "a capable cook" named  C. L. Ferguson to fix "regular army menus" each day.   Judge E. M. Davis once again was in charge of the camp as camp director.  Other members of the staff were J. L. Childs, purchase supplies; Zeno Ingrum, instructor in Signal work; Ed Coston, teach wood work and art; Harry R. Male, first aid, sanitary inspections; J. H. Ragsdale, supervise all athletics and sports and all the adults supervised the swimming.

Each troop was asked to bring an axe, buck saw or cross cut saw, two hammers and all the tents possible.  They left at 6:00 a.m. on Monday, August 21st, and traveled to camp in automobiles and trucks on the Elkins Road through Regency and San Saba to the camp site on Ellis Ranch.  Prior to camp, Mr. Ellis had hired some laborers to cut the weeds at the campsite, another problem they had to deal with the previous summer.

During the first three days of the camp, Mr. Ellis brought meat to the camp from his ranch.  The first day he brought a goat, the second day a fat hog and the third day a beef.   The food was much better than it had been the previous summer and there was plenty to eat.

Program

The schedule for this year was the same as last year except that from 2:00 until the 4:30 swim, boys who were going on exploring trips had to go in groups of not less than four.  Those that did not go on these trips were instructed in merit badge work.  They also let the boys stay up until 10:00 before they had taps, a half hour later than in the previous summer camp.

The younger boys took day hikes, visiting Baker spring and Sloan springs.  One day, Mr. Ellis took the whole group to a cave near camp containing five rooms, one of them large enough to hold 500 people standing up.

On the return trip to home from camp one of the trucks broke down some twenty-five miles from Brownwood.  Some of the boys walked to the nearest railroad point and came home on the train. Everyone arrived home safely.



Information for these pages were taken from various stories in the Brownwood Bulletin.

Last Updated:  January 5, 2003
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