Comanche Trail Council No. 479

Brownwood, Texas

"Brownwood (Texas) became a second class council in 1921, listing James Hiner as acting Scout executive.  This second class council functioned for about four years.  In 1927 the Brownwood Area was listed as a new first class council having jurisdiction over the counties of Brown, Comanche, Erath, Mills, San Saba and Lampasas.  In 1928 the name was changed to Pecan Valley Council.

In 1932 the Comanche Trail Council was formed through the merger of the Pecan Valley Council and the Oil Belt Council. The depression had hit both council hard and they decided in a meeting on February 2, 1932 to merge with each council working out is own indebtedness.  Dr. Jewell Daughety was elected chairman of the joint committee for 1932.   On March 1, Guy N. Guirl moved from Eastland, TX to Brownwood to assume the duties as Scout Executive of the newly merged council.  C. L. Pouncey of Brownwood became the Assistant Scout Executive.

A camp committee, headed by Hugh Stewart and Henry Wilson visited the campsites of both councils (Camp Martin of the Oil Belt Council and Camp Billy Gibbons of the Pecan Valley Council) to decided which one of them would become the camp for the new council.  They decided to tear down the mess hall at Camp Martin and move it to Camp Billy Gibbons and have that camp as the permanent camp of the new council.  The dining hall was moved prior to the opening of camp for the summer of 1932.

The first thing that Guy Quirl did upon his arrival in Brownwood was to outline plans for the year.  He told the Scouters and Scouts that there would be a big summer camp, life saving classes, first aid courses and training schools for the Scouters.

Camp dates were set for starting with a noon luncheon on Tuesday, July 19, 1932 and run through breakfast on Tuesday, July 26.  It would be an eight day camp.

The officers of the new council were Dr. Jewell Daughety, Brownwood, President; H. C. Anderson, Ranger, Vice-President; Earl Fairman, Goldthwaite, Vice-President; J. K. Wilkes, Brownwood, Treasurer; and Russell B. Jones, Breckenridge, Commissioner.

Dr. Jewell Daughety, Council President, along with other officers announced that Rev. J. S. Pearce, Cisco, would be the Court of Honor Chairman; Hugh L. Stewart and Henry Wilson, Brownwood, would head up Camping; O. E. Winebrenner, Brownwood, Troop Organization; Roy McCall, San Saba, Leadership Training; R. F. Higgs, Stephenville, Publicity; Rev. Gordon Barrett, Comanche, Health and Safety; Walter Smith, Lampasas, Reading; M. S. Sellers, Rising Star, Rural Scouting; and Will Talbot, Brownwood, Finance.

Members at large of the new Council were E. P. Crawford, Cisco; Grady Pipkin, Eastland; Ray Franks, Dublin; D. R. Fitch, Lampasas; Clarence Dofflemyer, San Saba; and O. H. Yarbrough, Goldthwaite.

Numbers Assigned to Troops in Merged Council

Now that the Comanche Trail Council was up and running, many decisions had to be made concerning finances, unit numbers, training courses, record keeping and activities.  The numbers assigned to troops were determined by the oldest troops in existence at the time.  Troop 1 in Brownwood was older than Troop 1 in Cisco.  So the Council made the Cisco Troop 101.  The same was true for Troop 3 in Brownwood and Troop 3 in Eastland.   The Eastland troop became Troop 103 and is the oldest continuously chartered troop in the council.  Whereas, in Breckenridge, the troop numbers 17 and 18 remained as they were.
 
Early Council Banquet held in Brownwood Hotel...
Early Council BanquetFinances were still a big problem for the new Council even though the two old councils had merged.  The council still had two executives to pay, but only one secretary and only one camp to fund.  Finance drives were a high priority that first year.  A goal of $7,000 was set to carry out the work of the council for the remainder of the year.  Minor Huffman, Deputy Regional Executive from Dallas, came in to help the council organize the finance campaign.

The three executives immediately set out to visit all the towns and to set up finance drives in each one.  They also visited with the leaders in each community to tell them about the plans for carrying on the work of the council.

The twenty men of the new Council Executive Board held their first meeting March 30, 1932, for the purpose of making application for a new charter.  The council received its charter dated July 5, 1932 with the council number 478.   The charter year was to end on July 30, 1933.

By the end of 1932, all of the outstanding debts of the council were paid.  During this time, the Scout Executive did not received his full salary.  But, at the end of the year, in order to start out the new year free of debt, the remainder of his salary was canceled.  For several years after that, the finances of the council were a problem.  James P. Fitch, Regional Scout Executive, sent a letter to the council saying that they had not received a pledge for money  for National in 1934.  He reminded them that they still owed $50.00 for 1930, $100.00 for 1931 and $150 for 1932 on their quota.  He wanted to know what kind of adjustment would insure the payment of the debt in cash.

At the Annual Council Banqet, held January 25, 1936, in the basement of the First Methodist Church, Brownwood, the second and third Silver Beavers were presented to Dr. Jewel Daughety of Brownwood, president of the Council since its organization, and to Russell B. Jones of Breckenridge, Scout Commissioner. The first Silver Beaver was presented to Rev. John Power of Brownwood, first Scoutmaster in the section, in 1932.

Districts

The Council was divided into four Districts for better service.  They were the North District made up of Stephens and Eastland Counties; the East District made up of Erath and Comanche Counties; the Central District made up of Brown County and Rising Star in Eastland County; and the South District made up of Mills, San Saba and Lampasas Counties.

In 1965 the four districts were realigned to make two districts called the Noreast District and the South Central District.  By 1969, the South Central District became the Kickapoo District.

Segments Issued

Segments Issued in CouncilHere are samples of segments used on Scout shirts in the mid 1960's.  We think the gold numbered segments indicate how many years a Scout attended Summer Camp at Camp Billy Gibbons.  The green segments represents attendance at Junior Leader Training. 

The gold segment with a star in the middle, was given to Scouts who worked at the opening of the Douglas MacArther Academy of Freedom in Brownwood.  The Philmont segment was given to Scouts and adults who attended Philmont Scout Ranch.  The Axe if for totin' chip and the Scout Sign (blue and white) was for doing a good turn project on a district level.

The red campfire segments, five in all, are for participation in Camporees. The white tent on red segment is for first year attendance at summer camp.  That is probably why you do not see the number "1" segment on the patch.  The only segment we are not sure about is the one with the red square knot.

According to the segments on this shirt the individual attended summer camp for six years, attended five camporees, three Junior Leader Training events, worked at the dedication of the Douglas MacArther Academy of Freedom, went on at trek at Philmont Scout Ranch, participated in a good turn project and earned his totin' chip.

There was also a blue segment with a white ball in the center which indicated that a person had served on the camp staff.

Quality Council

The Boy Scouts of America had many different ways of measuring how a council was performing.  Over the years many different awards where presented to council for their level of performance.

In the 1980’s the National Quality Council award was created to recognize those councils that achieved certain requirements during their charter year.  The requirements included membership gains, operating funds, long-range plans, staffing, functioning Key 3 on district level and having 55 percent of their units achieving the Quality Unit Award.

The Comanche Trail Council achieved this award for the first time for 1989.  They have also achieved this award for 1990, 1992, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000.  Less than fifty percent of the councils in America earn this award in a given year.

Computers Added

First Computer in officeThe Council added computers in 1990 to record membership in units.  In 1991 the Order of the Arrow records were added to the computer, and in 1992  Advancement Records were recorded on each boy in his unit.  A computer from St. John’s Episcopal Church, Brownwood, was given to the Council in 1994 by Bob Rider and the Council newsletter was created with the use the computer.  The first issue of “Trail Signs” composed on the computer was the April/May 1994 issue.  The “Trail Signs” has been composed on a computer since that date.

The Order of the Arrow bought the council a new personal computer in late 1996 and the first issue of “Trail Signs” was published using the new Microsoft Publishing program for the January - February 1997 issue.

In 1998 the Council office was “wired” for computers so that all membership and finance records could be immediately sent to the National Council. They started using the new finance program in the fall of 1998.  The office officially went online full-time with National in April 1999.  The Comanche Trail Council’s web site address was http://www.bwoodtx.com/bsa.

On The Internet

The Council developed its first home page on the Internet in the summer of 1997 thanks to the efforts of Wayne Tiller and Brownwood On-Line. Wayne designed the home page for the council.  The web site was expanded by Neal Mann, a Life Scout of Troop 14, Brownwood, and Frank T. Hilton, retired Scout Executive, Brownwood, in 1998, to include the News and Notes, Council Calendar, Order of the Arrow, Council History section and Camp Billy Gibbons.  The “Trail Signs” was posted on the web site for the first time in January  1999.

On January 25, 1999, the Council’s web site was one of the first web sites in Texas to be in compliance with BSA National’s guidelines. A link to the site was set up in the local council locator section of the Boy Scouts of America web site.  In 2003 the web site was consolidated with Chisholm Trail Council into a new Texas Trails Council web site.

 Popcorn Sales

Comanche Trail Council was one of the first Councils in Texas to recognize the importance of selling a product to produce income for units and the council.  The Council Executive Board, in 1984,  approved the Council entering into an agreement to sell popcorn from the Weaver Popcorn Company on a commission basis. The product was known as Trail’s End  Popcorn and was an instant success with the units and Council.

The first Popcorn sale was held in the fall of 1984. The only product sold the first year were buckets for $5.00  Prizes of a 19 inch black and white television were given to the top salesman of each district. Other prizes that first year included a patch if one sold twelve buckets, a Boy Scout pocket lite for 20 buckets.  If  Scouts sold at least 100 buckets, they received a Camp Scholarship to Camp Billy Gibbons or a Kodak Disc Camera.

By 1998, packs, troops and posts were selling over seven different products and units were earning over $40,000 in commissions. Units were able to expand their program and were able to provide much more for their boys than in the past.  Many units use the money to pay their rechartering fees for the boys and adults.  Other units use the money to buy equipment and supplies for their leaders. 

Had it not been for popcorn sales, the Comanche Trail Council would not have survived financially in the 90’s.  The income from the Council’s share of the sales made the difference in the council ending the year in the black.  The last year of the Comanche Trail Council, 2002, the Council's share of the sales came to $46,00.

Scout Distributors

In the past, the council depended on local Scout Distributors to stock the necessary uniforms, camping equipment and books for the local units.  Distributors were developed after the Councils were organized.  A partial list of some of those stores that were in the council area is listed below.  The only one still in business is The Hub Clothiers in Breckenridge.   The other stores have either gone out of business or quit carrying Scout merchandise.

J. C. Penney Company, Brownwood
TG&Y, Brownwood
Chastain-Miller, Lampasas
Mullican’s, Lampasas
The Hub Clothiers, Breckenridge
R. E. Cox Company, Stephenville
L & M Store, Stephenville
Blakeney Store, Stephenville
Globe Clothiers, Ranger
Heidenheimer’s, Cisco

Council Offices

The Council office has been located in several different places over the years.  We know that  the Scout office for the Oil Belt Council was located in Eastland in the Chamber of Commerce building and a “desk space office” was maintained in each of the Chamber of Commerce offices in the council.

Scout Office in Courthouse BasementThe offices of the Pecan Valley Council was in the old American Legion Hall in the basement of the Brown County Courthouse.  The Comanche Trail Council, following the merger of the two councils, was for many years in the  same place as the rent was free.   They were in this office until the early 50’s when the space became too small for their use.

The council office was moved to another space which  was located near where the Brownwood Bulletin office is now and behind the Adams Street Community Center at 500 E. Depot  They along with the Girl Scouts in the 60’s rented space from the Red Cross.  It was an old two story building.  The office had to move in February 1965 to 409 E. Lee St. when the Red Cross decided to sell its property rather than stand the expense of moving the building to a new location.

The Council stayed in the building on Lee St. until they had to move to 807 Center Avenue because of the impending demolition of the building that they were in.  They moved  in March 1967 and rented their new office space from Smith Bell.  They remained at this place until they built their new office on East Adams.  The new office was the first office that was built specifically for use as a Scout office and designed with all the features that were needed.
Present Scout Office

The present office, located at 602 East Adams, was built in 1980 and occupied in November 1980.  The land is leased from the city for fifty years at $1 per year.  The office cost $104,826 to build and was built while Eldon Sehnert was Scout Executive.

The council received $25,000, from the will of Cecelia Low Garten, for the purpose of building a new office building.  They saved the money in a bank account, and after three years the United Way was asking questions about why they had not used the money in the operating budget.  So they thought they had best use the money to build an office.

The council had been looking for a site for the office for sometime when someone recommended a block of land, which belonged to the  city, located across the street from the Adams Street Community Center and just a couple of blocks from their present location.  The Brown County Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Comanche Trail Council went together on the project.

Architects James Orr and Jeff Adams, Scouters of Brownwood, drew up the plans for the buildings as a donation. They designed an eye-catching geometric design for the two buildings which were connected by a breezeway.

W. O. Kelcy and Son Paving Contractors Company donated several days of work to clear the block.  Title work for the site was donated by the Conner Scott of Brown County Abstract Company. The land was surveyed by King Land Company and the general contractor was Waldrop Construction Company.

An open house was held by both the Red Cross and Boy Scouts in the new building on Sunday, February 8, 1981.  Troop 39 of Stephenville did the flag ceremony and mothers of Brownwood’s Troop 22 furnished the refreshments.  George Crews and B. C. Drinkard were responsible for gathering up most of the money for the building.  Crews served as Master of Ceremonies at the open house.

Scout Shop

An official BSA Scout Shop was added to the office in August 1991.  For the first time, the Council could now sell Scout uniforms and camping equipment along with the badges and literature they had in stock.  Since that time the Council has doubled the amount of merchandise it keeps on hand for units, leaders and boys.  By 2002, the council was selling over $30,000 worth of items from the trading post. 

In 2003, the office in Brownwood became the Branch Office for the Texas Trails Council.  The Scout Shop part of the office was closed at the end of 2004, and the secretary's job was terminated.  A Senior District Executive still operated out of the office for another three years, but then the council officially closed the office building on February 1, 2007, and moved all the wooden cabinets bolted to the walls, kitchen sink, metal cabinets, desks, tables and chairs either to the Texas Trails Council office in Abilene, to Camp Tonkawa or Camp Billy Gibbons for re-use in another setting.  The signs were removed from the outside of the building and the building was turned over to the City of Brownwood.  The council owned the building but the city owned the property it sits on so they could not sell the building.

At noon, September 4, 2009, the City of Brownwood demolished the former Comanche Trail Council office due to the amount of mold in the building, preventing it from being used by the city.

All the historical documents, photographs and artifacts, plus two display cases of the former Comanche Trail Council, were donated to the Brown County Museum of History at the time the office was closed. This included all the Otena Lodge records.
 
 

| Means by which two great councils were consolidated |
| Consolidation Agreement Between Chisholm Trail Council and Comanche Trail Council

Some Other Comanche Trail Council Pages

| Presidents | Scout Executives | Map of Council | "New" Camp Billy Gibbons | "Old" Camp Billy Gibbons |
| Deed to Camp Billy GibbonsLease Agreement to "Old" Camp Billy Gibbons | Competition | Shows |
| OA Otena Lodge | Oil Belt Council | Pecan Valley Council | Eastland County Council | Eagle Scouts |
| Silver Beavers | Training | Swim Meets | List of First Scout Troops | List of First Cub Packs |

Go to Index By Councils for a list of all the web pages of the Comanche Trail Council.


The quotes above were taken from "History of Region Nine, Boy Scouts of America, 1920-1967," by Minor Huffman,  "The Cisco American and Roundup," September 27, 1928 and "Ninety Years of Service," by Frank T. Hilton, 1999.  We thank Frank Griffin for helping to identify the segments around the council patch.

Last Updated:  June 25, 2007
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