Abilene Council

"In 1912 a troop was organized at the Central Presbyterian Church in Abilene.  Another troop was formed soon after at the First Baptist Church.  While troops came and went with leadership, Abilene (Texas) had some Scouting continuously.  It was difficult to keep the troops going as each registered directly with the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America and were independent of each other.

According to at story in the Dallas Morning News, dated February 4, 1922, "The ABilene Lions' Club has voted to get behind the local Boy Scout troops and help them in every way possible.  A special committee, composed of the Rev. W. M. Pearce, W. G. Kinsolving, Dr. R. A. Maddox and dr. I. J. Pickard, has been named to assist the local troops in getting reorganized and in carrying on their work.  The Lions will ask the Kiwanis Club to take similar action.

A group of men in Abilene decided it was time to organize a council so that the troops would work together and have a more stable program, as well as leadership.  The Abilene Reporter on June 9, 1922 had the following announcement of a meeting at the Mission Theater, to be held June 16, for the purpose or organizing a council.

"The Boy Scouts of America is 12 years of age.  Just the age when it takes a boy into the organization as a Tenderfoot.  The Boy Scouts of America today is a Tenderfoot, too. Scouting seeks to help boys into right chartered citizenship, seeks to make boys loyal, strong, useful Americans.  Not just citizens of New York or New Orleans but citizens of the Unites States of American.  National Scouting is the summations of its Local Units."

A good group of local citizens attended this first meeting and the local council organization was perfected.  The Abilene Council was chartered that summer as a first class council with its territory the City of Abilene.  James C. Hinsley was listed as the Scout executive.  He resigned after a few month's work and was succeeded by Rev. John W. Price.  Dr. R. A. Maddox, Sr., was the first President of the new council and Rev. W. M. Pearce was selected as Scout Commissioner.

Their first office was located in the Parks Office Building, which was located on the corner of South First and Chestnut streets.

The Dallas Morning News, dated November 1, 1922, in a story, said "The Abilene Gas and Electric Company subsidiary of the West Texs Utilities Company, has given the local Boy Scout council a five-acre tract fronting on Lytle Lake for a permanent recreational center.  Tennis courts, baseball diamond, clubhouse and other facilities are to be provided by the scouts and swimming, fishing and hunting will be premited on the lake.  The contract runs for five years. 

"Eleven trops are now in process of formation here.  Johnnie Price has been employed as scout executive, devoting his whole time to the work."

Although the new council did well, it never overcame the problem of raising enough money.  People were not use to giving to a central organization of Scouting, as they had given their money to the local troops in town.  It was finally decided that, in order to survive, they would have to expand their financial base by include other counties.  They called upon the Regional office for help.

During the latter part of 1925, Carl W. Barnes, who was an executive at Okmulgee, OK, came into Abilene to expand the territory of the council.   Several counties were contacted and a meeting was held at the Stamford High School during February of 1926.   Interested citizens from ten counties attended the meeting.  Of those in attendance, seven of the counties voted to participate in the new council.  Being as this was to be an "area council," the name of the council was changed to Chisholm Trail Council.   It was made up of  Taylor, Shackelford, Haskell, Jones, Callahan, Coleman, and a part of Runnels counties. 

The information above came from "History of Region Nine, Boy Scouts of America, 1920-1967," by Minor Huffman and  from "A History of Chisholm Trail Council Boy Scouts of America," a thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate School of Hardin-Simons University by Claude Olen Willis, August 1952.

Last Updated:  May 7, 2009
Return to Index
Return to Councils
Return to Home Page