Brownwood Scout Council - 1921

On January 22, 1921, the Brownwood Rotary Club, which was only a year old then,  gave consideration to a proposal to organize the Boy Scout work in Brownwood.  This request had been brought before the club some two weeks prior to that time.  A committee was formed to involve others in the community to help organize a Council.  They soon selected a board and a President of the new Brownwood Council.

Council Meets

It was not until July 7, 1921, that the President called a meeting of the new "Second Class" Council. No formal meeting of the council had been held prior to that date.  Several business matters had been pending for some weeks such as outlining the work of the council and taking care of purchasing supplies.  In the meantime the work of the council had gone on under the leadership of James Hiner, Jr.

"Second Class" councils, of which there were some 181  in America at the time, were run by volunteer commissioners who supervised the Scout movement in their community or county.  Some of them employed commissioners or executives.  The Brownwood Council decided to employ a part-time person each summer.

At that July meeting, P. A. Glanville was elected as the new President of the Council and James C. White remained as Scout Commissioner.   Later in the month they began to have a series of Sunday afternoon meetings of all the Scout Troops, rotating between the churches that sponsored troops, and  over 100 boys attend these meetings. By now there were four troops: Troop 1, First Methodist Church; Troop 3, First Presbyterian Church; Troop 4, Coggin Avenue Baptist Church; and Troop 5, Austin Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Sunday Meetings

A decision was made in early August to start having a series of Sunday afternoon meetings of all the Scouts in the city to create more enthusiasm for the Scout work among the boys and to coordinate the work of all the troops of the city.  The first meeting was attended by a hundred Scouts at the First Methodist Church.  The first Court of Honor was held and an investiture ceremony for Second Class Scouts was held.  About twenty Scouts received their Second Class badge at this ceremony. J. B. Moore served as Chairman of the Court of Honor.  By April 13, the preliminary organization of the Brownwood Council was accomplished and they were waiting for receipt of their charter and official papers from the national headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America.  The Brownwood Rotary Club paid the $15 charter fee for the new council.

Three patrols had been organized at the First Presbyterian Church in town.   They were the Eagle Patrol with David McCullough as leader, Bob White Patrol with Bo Muse as its leader and the Fox Patrol with Robert Muse as the leader.  Several troops had already planned for their summer camps at the close of school, each troop planning its own location for that camp.  It had been agreed that the camps would be informal in character and would not undertake to follow the regulation  of Scout requirements.   Each camp was to be regarded as merely a church camp for its own boys and not a regulation Boy Scout Camp.  Most of the camps were to be near Brownwood.

 James Hiner, Jr.

James Hiner, Jr. of Dallas, a former Scout himself, moved to Brownwood in late May of that year to assume the duties of "Play Supervisor" for Brownwood and "Scout Executive" of the new council.  He was to divide his time between the playground and the Scout work in Brownwood that summer. It had been demonstrated in many other cities that such an arrangement was quite satisfactory.  He brought with him several  years of experience in Boy Scouts and playground work and had the unqualified recommendation of the state and district Scout officials. He was able to organize a very active summer program for the local Scouts.

S. E. Chandler was selected as President of the Council and James C. White as Scout Commissioner.

They had three active Scout troops in May 1921.  There were Troops 1, T. H. Cantrell, Scoutmaster, First Methodist Church; Troop 3, Dr. W. B. Gray, Scoutmaster, First Presbyterian Church; and Troop 4, J. L. Childs, Scoutmaster, Coggin Avenue Baptist Church.

A series of city-wide Patrol Leader meetings were held at the Chamber of Commerce during that same period of time in 1921 with some twenty-four Patrol Leaders and Assistants attending to learn organizational skills and First Aid.  By July 1921 there were six Scout troops in Brownwood, each sponsored by a local church.

Summer Camp

By early August 1921 a new chairman of the Boy Scout Camp Committee was selected to plan a ten day summer camp.  Judge E. M Davis took the place of Rev. W. B. Gray who had resigned.   Plans were completed and a Brownwood Scout Camp was held, beginning on Monday, August 22, 1921, at the Ellis Ranch on the San Saba River about 14 miles west of the city of San Saba.  Judge E. M. Davis served as the camp director and they had seventy boys participate in the camp.

During the fall of 1921 the Scouts had Friday night swim activities at Lakewood with several of the troops spending the night.  One of the Scoutmasters, Judge E. M. Davis of the Austin Avenue Presbyterian troop, directed their activities.

Court of Honor

In October another Sunday afternoon meeting and Court of Honor was held at the First Baptist Church in Brownwood.  Twenty Scouts were advanced to the rank of First Class and nine were advanced to the Second Class rank.  The group of Scouts then went over to City Hall where pictures were made for their work with the fire prevention that had been accomplished that fall, and they then consumed twenty gallon of ice cream and huge quantities of cake.  The Scouts certainly lived up to the thirteenth point of the Scout Law that night.  A Scout is hungry!

Members of the Brownwood Fire Department and Boy Scouts appeared in this photo taken in October 1921 by Daniel Studios.  Note the flag for Troop 4.  The Boy Scouts were helping the Fire Department in their annual Fire Prevention campaign.  Photo from the Brownwood Bulletin in 1956.


During February of 1922, the council board met to discuss the organization of the council for the coming year and prepare for the rechartering the council.  The Brownwood Rotary Club again wrote out a check for $15 to pay for the charter.   Six troops were still actively engaged in the program on March 10, 1923, with a total of 181 registered Scouts.  Troops and their sponsors included: Troop 1 (36 Scouts) First Methodist Church, Troop 2 (32 Scouts) First Christian Church, Troop 3 (29 Scouts) First Presbyterian Church, Troop 4 (32 Scouts) Coggin Avenue Baptist Church, Troop 5 (24 Scouts) Austin Avenue Presbyterian Church and Troop 6 (28 Scouts), First Baptist Church.

New Executive

The Brownwood Rotary Club, along with a Mother’s Club, once again discussed the work of the local Boy Scouts and agreed to secure a summer budget of $900, and to hire another  Play Supervisor and Scout Executive for the summer of 1922.  Mr. and Mrs. James L. Childs were employed to work in Coggin Park with Mr. Childs working with the local Scouts in the afternoon. The Scouts had another active summer with baseball teams, Junior Government, merit badge activities and various Scout contests in Coggin Park.

Troop 3 of the First Presbyterian Church left on May 30th for a week long camp on the Ellis Ranch.   The boys, having had a great time at the council's camp the previous year, chose to go to the Ellis Ranch again for their annual troop camp. The council ended the summer's activities by having another Brownwood Council Scout Camp from August 21-28, 1922.  After looking at several different camping sites near Brownwood,  the committee also decided to go back to the Ellis Ranch for their camp even though it was further away.  Some ninety boys went to this camp at a cost of $4.75 each.


On April 11, 1923, the Brownwood Rotary Club devoted an entire luncheon meeting to discuss the local Boy Scouts.  Here are the minutes of that meeting as they appeared in History of Brownwood, Texas Rotary Club, March 19, 1920 - January 1. 1955.

Boy Scouts

"What to do with the Boy Scouts is one of the problems that has been perplexing a number of interested men and women of Brownwood.  The time of year had come when definite arrangements for handling the Scout work during the summer must be made, and it looks like it is up to Rotary to make the arrangements.

"The six Scout troops must reorganize.  The old Coggin cabin that was moved by this club to Coggin Park must be fitted up as a Scout cabin.  A summer program must be outlined, and a directing head chosen.  Summer camp must be arranged.  A lot of other work for the Scouts, including arrangements for a new annual charter and the re-registration of five of the six troops must be attended to.

"At the present time there are six troops, with a total membership of 170.  A year ago there were 153 Scouts in the six troops.  There is room for at least two additional troops, possible for three.

A Suggested Plan

"After a conference with President P. A. Glanville of the Local Scout Council, this plan has been suggested:

"Let the Rotary Club assume the duties and responsibilities of the Local Scout Council, and undertake actively to direct the Scout work of the entire City.  Let the Rotary officers become officers of the Council, and such committees as may be necessary be appointed from Rotary's membership.

Such a plan would give an active organization to direct the Scout activities, an organization which would function.  Rotary is already sponsor for Scouting in Brownwood, must guarantee that the bills are paid and that the work is continued, and it is difficult to do these things so long as a Scout Council is in control and is not functioning properly.

"Mr. Glanville, President of the Scout Council, has been invited to meet with us this week and discuss this plan, to which he gives his unqualified endorsement.  Let every Rotarian think about the matter and come to the meeting with the purpose of offering suggestions for the welfare of Scouting during the summer."

James P. Fitch, the Regional Executive of the Boy Scouts, Dallas, was invited to come to Brownwood in April to spend a week and help get things going.  Unfortunately, he became sick and was unable to make the trip to the city.  This delayed any organization of the Council for several months.

The Rotary Club continued their support and had a series of three benefit baseball games with the local Lion's Club to raise money for the summer program during May and June.  The Lions won the first two games and the Rotarians won the last game.  The games were well attended by the local citizens.

 Troop 3 Continues

A story in the Brownwood Bulletin, May 12, 1923, reported that Troop 3 of the Presbyterian Church was to spend a week on the B. E. Bell Ranch for their annual camp some twenty-one miles south of Brownwood on Clear Creek.  Their Scoutmaster, Mr. H. R. Male, was in charge of the camp of some twenty Scouts.  While camping at the camp the boys hiked to Millburn bridge, over the Colorado River, a distance of 16 miles there and back They returned from camp on June 3, 1923.

Executive Hired

William Johnson, a former Scout in Rev. John Power's troop and now a college graduate, was employed as the Playground Supervisor and Scout Executive on June 30, 1923.  The Rotary Club officers became the officers of the local council and reported the following membership figures:

Troop 1 - 18, Troop 2 - 39, Troop 3 - 31, Troop 4 - 3, Troop 5 - 21, and Troop 6 - 30.

A story in the Brownwood Bulletin on June 30th said “The Scoutmasters who have conferred with Mr. Johnson express appreciation of the assistance being given them in developing their work, and it is expected that within the next two weeks practically all troops will have made ready for re-registration.”

Johnson called a meeting of all Scouts and interested adults for the night of July 2nd at City hall. Unfortunately there is no further record of the results of that meeting nor is there a record in the Brownwood Bulletin of any Scout activity that summer, including a summer camp.

However, there was a story in the paper in late October that said that the Scouts would take part in the Armistice Day parade in Brownwood, so some of the troops remained active.  There were some troops that remained active during the year even though the council did not have a paid person involved in the local area.

A.  J.  Lawrence

A special committee representing Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions Club was appointed by the Brownwood Rotary Club in 1924 and met with Roy Price and A. J. Lawrence, representatives of the regional Boy Scout office in Houston, to discuss the organization of a first class council so that Scouting could be a year-round program.  A budget of $3,500 was considered and Mr. Lawrence was retained as Scout Executive for the city, his salary being guaranteed by the provisional council committee.  Prior to this time the council had been a second-class council, hiring only a summer executive for three months.

The regional office told the committee that they would only consider a first-class council since there were only two second-class councils in the three state area and neither one of them was successful.

Howard Payne offered the use of its gymnasium to the new scout council as temporary headquarters until they could find more permanent headquarters in the city.

The Boy Scouts of Troop 3, who were sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church, were very happy about the prospects of having a first-class council and offered to help with the West Texas Chamber of Commerce convention in May to make the people there feel at home.

A meeting was called for all Scoutmasters on March 6, 1924, in the lobby of the Southern Hotel to do a survey of possible Scouts in the city.  J. Wesley Loftis, Scoutmaster of Troop 6, First Baptist Church, was elated over the prospects that there would be a first class council in Brownwood.

According to the records, there were the following six active troops at this time: Troop 1, Scoutmaster Ragsdale; Troop 3,  Scoutmaster Neale; Troop 5, Scoutmaster Rogan; Troop 6 , Scoutmaster Loftis and Troop 7, Scoutmaster O. B. Stanley.  Troop 7, sponsored by Central Methodist Church, was the only troop on March 22, 1924, that was registered with the National Headquarters in New York.

Apparently supporters of Scouting were unable to raise enough money to retain the Scout Executive as  no activity in Scouting was reported for the remainder of the year.  This is the last mention of anything about the council until the Pecan Valley Council was organized in 1928.

Information for this page was taken from various stories in the Brownwood Bulletin, from the book "The History of the Boy Scouts of America," by William D. Murray, 1937, "History Of Brownwood , Texas Rotary Club, March 19,1920 - January 1, 1955," "Ninety Years of Service - A History of Comanche Trail Council, 1910 -1999," by Frank T. Hilton

Last Updated:  August 16, 2006
Return to Index Page
Return to Councils
Return to Home Page