By John M. Arthur
I have just gotten started reading the scouting history and I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it. It brings back so many memories. You might remember that at Wally's wedding anniversary party, I mentioned throwing rocks off a cliff to keep some Breckenridge boys in the cave in the cliff. Well, lo and behold - there is a picture in the "New Billy Gibbons Camp" that shows the water, the cliff, and the rock shelter. There are some scouts in the shelter and some in the water. I do remember that in 1939 or '40 when those of us from Comanche climbed the cliff to throw the rocks, there were no scouts in the water. In fact, I do not remember any group swimming in that hole. We just did not want the Stephenville and Breckenridge scouts to come out of the rock shelter.
Cold Springs, the hole we swam in in Clear Creek was to the southwest of this cliff as I remember. On up above Cold Springs, in which we all swam naked as jaybirds, was the Hamon ranch house and stables. Our troop saw the very good-looking daughters of Jake, I always called it Jake Hamon's ranch, and decided to go flirt with them. After my time in the War, I finished A&M, and went to Breckenridge where I learned what happened to the old camp. I felt sad that we may have been part of the cause of Mrs Hamon bulldozing the camp.
I was surprised to find the picture of the cliff in the "New Camp" section. When I was Scoutmaster of a troop in Breckenridge in '48 or '49, we were told we could not go there. So we did not. But in 1939 and 1940, an all day hike over the hill to Clear Creek and Cold Spring was THE major outing for us. It was on these hikes that we saw snakes, wild game, swam in very cold water, and just cavorted around like wild boys do.
Let me tell one more hike story. I do not remember the year exactly - either '39 or '40 Buzz Cauley, our scoutmaster in Comanche, could not stay the full time, so he made an older scout, Hormel Gilliam, the leader with me as his assistant. Hormel was a big football hero and was right for the part. It was that year that we threw the rocks. Of course, that night at supper we got our butts chewed out and Guy Quirl gave us some serious spats. On one of these hikes, the river was up pretty good and big logs were floating down, so two or three of us handed our clothes and other stuff we did not want to get wet to the boys that were going overland back to camp. We each grabbed a big log and floated to the mouth of Brady Creek, then hiked to the old camp. I am not sure that would have been an approved method of return if we had been closely supervised.
My dad was the scoutmaster of the Comanche troop at camp during the camps's second year. He took us to a camp siteon the north bank about 3/4 mile below the scout camp. I remember the early morning swims in the creek with mother. I think I was 7 and my brother was 4. One night, hogs rooted our food out of the ground where we had stashed it and we had to go home. This was in 1932 I think. In 1938 I was in the group of scouts for the second week camp, and we spent about 3 days in Richland Springs in a feed store because of the flood. Toots Gilliam finally gave up and sent us all home.
I was called out at the old camp for the Kunieh in 1939 or 40 - never made the arrow, and got called out again for the Order of the Arrow at the new camp one year Steve Potts was there. So I have done two "ordeals". During my second one Potts made it a little easier on me.
Thanks for the memories. John M. Arthur
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