Southwest Texas Council

 John C. Campbell, acting as the organization executive, organized the Southwest Texas Council in 1926.  The organizational meeting was held in the Strand Theater, Uvalde at 2 o'clock on June 22, 1926.  The meeting was chaired by John C. Campbell with Regional Deputy Executive E. E. Voss acting in an advisory capacity.  Thirty-two men from nine communities came together to organize the new council.

Map of Southest Texas CouncilThe following officers were elected at this meeting:

George Love, Del Rio President
Thomas B. Knopp, Hondo, 1st Vice-President
William Hollis, Eagle Pass, 2nd Vice-President
T. B. Coker, Pearsall, 3rd Vice-President
A. P. Johnson, Carrizo Springs, 4th Vice-President
D. W. Price, Uvalde, Chairman of Court of Honor
Joe Kerr, Sanderson, National Councilman
C. B. Ballantyne, Brackettville, Ranking Scout Commissioner
A. Adamitz, Bandera, Commissioner 
Ernest King, Batesville, Commissioner
Lon Smart, Rocksprings, Commissioner
A. J. Springfield, Leakey, Commissioner

Uvalde was selected as the headquarters for the new Council and John C. Campbell was selected as temporary Scout Executive.  Fred Horner of Uvalde, J. R. Sanford of Eagle Pass, and the chair, were given authority to find a permanent Scout Executive whose salary was set at $3,000.   The first year's budget of $6,500.00 was approved and plans set in motion to raise the necessary monies to carry on the work of the council.  Twelve counties made up the council.  They were Val Verde, Terrell, Kinney, Edwards, Uvalde, Real, Bandera, Medina, Maverick, Dimmit, Zavalla and Frio Counties.

During the Board Meeting of August 10, 1926, J. G. Smyth and Company of Uvalde and Roach-McLymont Company of Del Rio were designated as the official outfitters of the Council.  During this meeting, John C. Cambell, now a Regional Deputy Executive, working out of San Antonio, reported to the board on the work being done in every county except Real.

Scout Executive Employed

Rev. M. M. Fulmer, a Baptist Minister of Hernando, MS, became the first elected Scout Executive of the Council during this board meeting.  He was interviewed by J. P. Fitch, Regional Scout Executive, while he attended Camp Del Rio that summer as a Scoutmaster.  Fulmer had been a Boy Scout for three years in Hernando and had served as a Scoutmaster there.  He was the nephew of Dr. W. P. Merideth, who recently had moved to Del Rio.  Fulmer had come to Texas on a vacation trip and had camped on the Devil's River when he heard about the Scout camp there.

H. B. Palmer became Scout Executive on April 7, 1927, due to the resignation of Fulmer on January 7, 1927, due to a heart leakage.  Palmer served in this capacity for the remainder of council through 1935.

Free Office Space

The council office was provided by J. G. Smyth and Company rent free for the first couple of years.  Upon completion of the new Uvalde County Courthouse in early 1928, a room was provided by the Commissioner's Court for an office. The council was divided into three districts at the January 7th meeting as follows:

District I  - Val Verde, Terrell, Kinney and Edwards County, Julian LaCrosse, Chairman
District II - Uvalde, Real, Bandera and Medina County, K. T. Briggs, Chairman.
District III - Maverick, Dimmit, Zavalla, and Frio County, Chairman unknown.

E. K. Fawcett was elected President of the council at the Third Annual Meeting held January 23, 1928.  He served in this capacity through 1935.

The Beginning of the End

The council experienced financial problems as did most councils during the Depression.  J. P. Fitch, Regional Scout Executive, explained to the board at their December 15, 1933, meeting, that they "had no charter." having failed to renew their charter that year.  He said that they "could continue on a direct service plan from the Regional Office at Dallas, for the time being."

The old charters of Troop 31 of Crystal City show that the troop was chartered with the Region in 1934 and 1935 with the troop number "117."  In 1936, it chartered with the Concho Valley Council and received the troop number "96."

By the February 15, 1934, board meeting, the council had managed to reduce its debt from some $1,800 to a balance of $205.80.  It was explained at that meeting that the former Executive needed the salary and expenses that were more that a year past due.

A story, dated Sunday, February 9, 1936, in the San Angelo Standard-Times stated that "Six counties were added to the Concho Valley Council in January which brings the total to twenty-two and one half counties of West Texas now under the jurisdiction of the council office which is located at San Angelo.  The counties were Terrel, Val Verde, Edwards, Kinney, Real, and Uvalde, formally part of the Southwest Texas Council.

"Included in the transfer were four registered Scout troops.  Two were located at Del Rio, one at Sanderson and one at Uvalde.  Their numbers have been changed as follows:  Troop 1, Sanderson, to troop 60; troop 23 and 24, Del Rio, to troop 70 and 71, respectively; troop 6, Uvalde, to troop 80."

"Del Rio business men have already organized the Val Verde district and raised nearly $2,000 to carry on Scout work during 1936.  E. K. Fawcett, former president of the Southwest Texas Council, is District Chairman."

In the Tuesday, October 27, 1936, edition of the San Angelo Standard-Times, the following story appeared:  "Zavala, Dimmitt and Maverick Counties, near and along the Mexican border, are now affiliated with the Concho Valley Council.  The new territory, with towns of Eagle Pass, Crystal City, Carrizo Springs, Asherton and LaPryor supporting Boy Scout Troops, gives this council one of the largest territories in the United States of nearly 500 councils.

"Active affiliation will not come until November when Troops of this territory will be visited and their activity linked with the Val Verde and Uvalde districts.  Eagle Pass Troop, sponsored by the Rotary Club, will be No. 90 and part of the Val Verde District with Del Rio as administrative center.

"LaPryor, now Troop 93; Asherton, now Troop 94; Carrizo Springs, now Troop 95 and Crystal City, Troop 96, will become members of the Uvalde District with headquarters city being Uvalde."   Bandera and Medina counties later became a part of the Alamo Area Council with headquarters in San Antonio.

First Summer Camp

The first summer camp of the newly organized council was held on the Del Rio club grounds on the Devil's River and was called "Camp Del Rio."  The ten day camp officially opened on August 12, 1926, at 6:30 a.m.  Twenty minutes later the Scouts and prospective Boy Scouts were standing at attention while the flag was raised.  They then had their setting up exercises and a morning dip in the river.

There was a camp band directed by Williams Evans of Uvalde, and of course swimming, hiking, movies, fishing, and games.  There was instruction in swimming, life saving, public health, building fires with out matches, first aid, and boiling a quart of water with the aid of one match in the least possible time.  The Scouts completed their Tenderfoot test during the camp.

There were 136 kids at the camp according to Irvin Fowler of Sabinal.  He told this author the story about a sow with 8 to 10 pigs coming through their tent in the middle of the night and bumping into their beds.  He said the kids yelled as the pigs turned their beds over and then the pigs scattered in all the noise.  For the remainder of the night they all slept out in the open.

Uvalde with twenty-two kids were the largest delegation at the camp, according to Rev. T. A. Schofield.  He said that they were the demons in camp and had put a pair of clean brown socks in the drinking water container before they had been in camp an hour!

The boys enjoyed the Irish Stew best of all the meals served in camp.  To feed the group each day of camp it took 80 loaves of bread, 10 pounds of butter, two sacks of potatoes, 80 quarts of milk, 100 pounds of meat, 600 pounds of ice, and various kinds of vegetables and fruits.  They had 50% more boys than they expected but managed to feed them.  The camp went into debt $618.18.  rev. T. A. Schofield of Uvalde was Camp Director.

Rev. M. M. Fulmer, a Baptist Minister of Hernando was selected as the first Scout Executive of the Council on August 10, 1926, but by January 7, 1927 he had resigned due to a heart leakage and H. B. Palmer took his place on April 7, 1927.  Palmer served as Scout Executive for the remainder of the Council's life through 1935.

Camp Cypress - 1927

The Council selected to have their second camp on the Frio River and called it Camp Cypress.  The camp was held from August 8-17, 1927.  According to Irvin Fowler, who attended the camp as a kid, they had swimming, archery, campcraft, nature and hiking.  One hundred and seventy-five Scouts came to the camp and stayed in twenty-three troop tents that were erected and formed into an oval with eight Scouts in each tent.

The camp was located two and one half miles northeast of Leakey, Texas, on property provided free by J. J. Burdett.   The lumber for the mess hall and tables was furnished by the Alamo Lumber Company.  They rented equipment from the Alto Frio Baptist Encampment for $75.00 for the camp.

The highlight of the ten-day camp was a treasurer hunt held at the close of camp.  The Scouts tested their knowledge of woodcraft by following a half mile trail that had been previously blazed by the camp leaders.  Each Scout carried a peg with him on which they notched each sign they identified.  At the end of the trail, the Scout drove his peg into a mound of sand.

When all the Scouts had finished the trail, the judges scooped away the sand from the pegs and revealed buried sticks that had been previously driven into the ground, each bearing a number.  The Scout whose peg was the nearest to one of these numbered sticks was awarded a prize according to the number.  Prizes were presented to the kids including several cases of soda water, a pair of Scout shoes, a Scout knife, first aid kit, a complete Scout uniform, a watch, a flashlight and a fishing reel.

Sidney Zindberg of Carrizo Springs was presented a harmonica for giving the most unselfish service to Scouting while in camp.  The camp cost $1,596.79 to put on and the income of $1,599.10 left a balance of $2.31 after the camp was over.  At least they did not go into the hole on this camp.

Camp Fawcett on the Nueces - 1928

Early in  1926, at the 3rd Annual meeting of the Southwest Texas Council, president George E. Love explained to the council the need of the council to have its own property for a campsite and that a temporary site would be needed for the coming summer.  He appointed a committee composed of L. Q. McCorkie, A. B. Ewing, both of Del Rio, A. F. Smyth, Uvalde, and W. L. Guyler, of Eagle Pass to select a temporary campsite for the summer and report back to H. B. Palmer, Scout Executive.

J. Q. McCorle, Chairman of the committee, reported back that a site on the Nueces river, one mile from Barksdale and forty-seven miles northwest of Uvalde on the Rocksprings Highway, had been selected as the summer camp for the summer of 1928.  For detailed information on this camp go to: Camp Fawcett.

In December, 1947, 24.39 acres of land of Camp Fawcett was sold to Neal Jernigan of Barksdale in the amount of $609.75 with the granter retaining one half rights to all oil, gas adn other minerals on the tract of land.  On January 9, 1948, another 102.16 acres of land laying south and west of the then Highway 55 was sold to Neal Jernigan of Barksdale for $25.00 per acres, for a total of $2,554.00. This was the land that the airpland landing field was located on. The money was used to satisfy an old debt of the Southwest Texas Council.  The camp was then deeded over to the Concho Valley Council who still owns approximately 173.45 acres of  land known as Camp Fawcett.

Many old Scouters still consider the Southwest Texas Council as "their council" and at times wish it could become a reality again.   Lack of a strong financial base, which does not exist today, was the basis for the closing of the council.  They had a very dedicated group of Scouters who presented a great program for the kids of that area, and still do today.

To read more on E. K. Fawcett, Council President go here.

Information for this page was obtained from Panjandrum A History of Scouting in the Concho Valley Council 1911-1941, Frank T. Hilton, Second Edition, 1990

Last Updated: January 15, 2008
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