1937 National Jamboree

Concho Valley Council

The first National Jamboree of the Boy Scouts was quite a big event for the Scouts of the Concho Valley Council.  One of those leaders that went to the Jamboree was Marvin H. Carr of Sherwood, Texas.  He was one of the Assistant Scoutmasters of Jamboree Troop 26 that went to this first National Jamboree.  He took $10 with him and came home with $7.  Here is his story as told in letters to his wife and two daughters in 1937, plus some photos.


Official Certificate of M. H. CarrJune 25, 1937 Fort Worth, Texas Thursday noon 
Dearest Alta and girls, 
We were waiting for 3:30 and the time to leave. We got here about 6 a.m. Waited until 10:00 for breakfast, thought we would starve but finally got to it and sure did fine. Went through Armour packing plant at 11:00. Will eat dinner at 2:00 and then just wait to leave. I slept about 5 hrs last night. Everything is getting on nicely. Will write a little tomorrow. Donít work too hard. 
Love, Marvin & Dad 

Friday at 10:00 in St Louis 
Dearest Alta & Kiddies, 
We just drove into St Louis and will be here 20 or 30 minutes so I will drop a note. We came by Texarkana & Little Rock. However at night so did not see much. We got into Missouri at daylight. We have been riding along the banks of the Mississippi for the last hr. Sure some river. It seems to be up a little but not much. I canít write on a moving train so canít write much. I sure had a good sleep last night. Folded seats together and rolled out my bed roll. 
Girl, this is some smoky town. Sure is a maze of railroads. We will ride on to Washington over the Pennsylvania lines. We have been on the MP & TP since we left Ft Worth. 

Sure a bunch of Scouts. 13 coaches on our train. I see a bunch of Scouts from somewhere on the platform. Must be St Louis from the parents with them. 

Will mail this if I can here. Love, Marvin 

In Washington Sunday at 5:00 p.m. 
Dearest Alta & Kiddies, 
Arrived in town yesterday at about 11:30 and have been moving in a hurry. We have our camp site. Found a mess tent and kitchen already up with a few shelves and an ice box. A latrine is on our camp site. The site is 290 x 90. We have 9 tents for kids and leaders. We have our exhibit up and ready to go. M.H. Carr on steps of CapitolWe had to assemble our tables. It took about 30 minutes. Busses met us at the train and hauled us out here. We are on an island below the city in sight of the capitol and Washington monument. We unloaded in Virginia. We left Saint Louis and went through Indianapolis, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Baltimore & here. From Columbus to way into Penn was at night so we did not see much. This is sure some country. The rivers are sure wide and lots of water. I looked like I had unloaded a car load of coal. My, I was dirty. The Pennsylvania R.R. burns coal so you see how bad it could have been. 

Here it is Monday morn at 6:00 and I will try to finish and get this in the mail. We went to town yesterday p.m. Went to the top of Washington monument. Lady, that is some pile of rock. Rode the elevator. Could have walked to top but was too far. We are here with the Potomac on both sides lots of little boats and a few large excursion steamers.

I received two letters from you already. You mailed them Friday and I got it the next p.m. at 6. Some service. 

I was afraid old man Asberry would want some extra money. Guess all you could do was pay. (Note: The water well at home had gone dry) 

Seems like you are having a few beans to use. (Note: They sold produce from their garden) 

I am going to have to stop and fix breakfast. Meals are not much trouble and they are sure giving us plenty. 

It rained all day yesterday but the ground is not muddy. There is a heavy coat of grass on the ground. It is heavy cloudy this a.m. like it was yesterday. It rained on us Sat evening. Not much rain but the air is just full of water. 
Bye and love to you, Marvin 

In camp at 6:30 a.m. June 29, 1937 
Dearest Alta and Kiddies 
I am up early this a.m. to write and to straighten out my bank book. I am banker, and to get ready for the boys that I will call at 7:00. We eat at 7:45. The meals are good and little trouble to fix. I wish I had my other suit of work clothes. I am wearing my longs around camp. I dress up to go out of this section. 

We have to fix for some of the region staff. We have Bob Billington, Mr Izley and Jim Fitch, the regional director at home and here also. 

The Jamboree opens today at 6 p.m. There are boys as thick as white folks everywhere and 11 more troops to come to our section today. Things are very picturesque. People have heard of our chuck wagons, mesquite trees, cactus and horned toads from far and near and come to see us, especially the toads. 

The sun shone yesterday but not bright. I am going to take a picture of the camp if it gets bright enough. The films cost 45 cents here. Other things are high at the post. 

We visited the Smithsonian yesterday. Will see a big League Baseball game today I guess. I canít start to tell you about the Smithsonian. It is too big. 

We had a big arena display last night for our section. Ed Shumway in charge. About 700 Texas boys present. 
The weather has been nice and cool. The rain has not been disagreeable because of the grass. Of course it makes things damp. Bit it has been cool . I wish I had a light jacket now but too lazy to go after it. I am wearing my shorts from home yet. Will dress up this a.m. I may have enough undies to last through. Sleeping is fine. No mosquitoes as yet. 

Sweetheart, I will close now and try to drop another note in the a.m. 
I love, Marvin

Wednesday morning, Dearest Alta, 
Well the Jamboree is officially going. We were to be at the opening last night and it was raining so we stayed at tents and went to sleep. We were at flag raising at 9:00. A very colorful ceremony. 

Yesterday afternoon instead of the baseball game we took the ďrubberneckĒ tour. Hired a bus at 70 cents apiece and went over the city. We had a dandy guide and really saw the city. All the government buildings of importance, White house, Capitol and Ambassador row. Zoo, prominent homes and all. 

We have our insignia now. Just pin and ribbons made of felt and change each time. 

I have not sent any laundry but some of it that cam back is terrible. I can do better in cold water and if it doesnít look better I will do my own. 

The tour business is very confusing. We never know thirty minutes ahead of times just where we are going. 
I have had the paper sent to you but I guess it will be late in getting there. Save all of them. Am making a few pictures. My feeding end is going on very nicely. 

Hundreds of visitors come through to see West Texas. It is threatening rain but have occasional sun shine. Just thunder heads. Sea Scouts are camped below us. Bye and be a good girl, Marvin 

July 3, 1937 Friday 5:15 p.m. 
Dearest Sweetheart, 
I did not get to write yesterday and have been gong and so busy I have not time to tell all about all of it. Wed. We went to the Bureau of Printing & engraving and Bureau of Investigation. That night we walked back to the arena and saw 25000 boys in one group with their flags and all, some show. Yesterday morn it was the museum of Natural Hist. And p.m. was a baseball game. Washington vs Boston score 3-2 Washington. This a.m. in camp to straighten up odds and ends and to write. Not too much sight seeing in camp. Visitors all the time. Some one has to stay here all time but there is always some one that wants to so that works o.k. It is one mile and half to gov. triangle where we start seeing things. Saw capitol, Library of Congress, Shakespearean Library and slums. We have been walking a lot. A taxi is 10 cents if we get as many as 8 in the taxi. We have a region display tonight. Mt Vernon in the a.m. and Annapolis tomorrow evening. It is nearly supper time so I must kiss off and write later. 
Love, Marvin 
M. H. Carr at Mt. VernonSaturday 5:45 p.m. Dearest Sweetheart, 
Received your letter of Tuesday today. I hope you donít feel so blue today. It seems all was wrong. I have written every day but one. I donít know why the letters are so slow getting there. I get your letters in 24 hours. 

So it is more trouble with the (wind)mill. Do what you want to but I believe leave it until I get home. I will be glad to get back to take care of everything. 

We went down to Mt. Vernon by boat this a.m. About 1500 on one boat. The bunch went to Annapolis this p.m. It was another dollar so I stayed in camp and went to town. Got a haircut and watch crystal. My old crystal was about out. They are not back yet and may not be until it is late. 

I am feeling fine and lots to eat. I have an eye headache a little now not bad. The weather has been fine. My sheet and canvas and raincoat has been barely enough to keep warm under. They say that is strange for it is supposed to be hot. It rained again this morning about sun up but cleared off and has been fine all day. 

I am going to clean up, shave and put up and put on clean clothes if I get them back and try to get to church in the morning. We had service here last Sunday. 

I guess I will be back in Angelo either Monday or Tuesday about 7:00. We have a 12 hr wait in Ft. Worth 
Bye and love and kisses Marvin 

Sunday 3:00 p.m. Dearest Sweetheart, 
Sunday p.m. and all boys sitting around writing letters, sleeping reading and entertaining visitors. Had a big dinner, rice, fried chicken, pea soup, green beans, ice cream. Boys & girls, lots to eat. 

John E. (Robbins) and I went to church this a.m. and sure felt at home. Saw John Paulís (Gibson) mother and dad. Rita Foster, Robert Coffman, Bro McMillan preached. Saw Susie Randolphís sister, a Mrs. Mitchell. The people were very friendly. The church is about 5 miles from here so we rode a taxi 35 cents each. Robert Coffman brought us back. He is here as secretary to Rep (George) McMahon from somewhere in North Texas.(Colorado City). These fly can certainly bite. 

Airplanes are flying over all the time almost any time you look they are in the air. Tri motors, 4 motors, biplanes, and Zeppelins. They pass over this point to N.Y. and north & east. If you have received a newspaper, you see where we are. 

We get the San Angelo Standard every day but of course 48 hrs. late. 

I am glad my letters are getting home and you are feeling better. Why donít my girls write to me? 
I am not sure that this will get off today but I think it will. I hope I get one after while. If nothing happens I will be in Angelo tomorrow morning I will let you know later. If you see the Scotts tell them Billy is getting on fine. He lost his hat but his Uncle came down and bought him another . (Personal note: Billyís son, is now the scoutmaster for two Marvin's great grandsons). 

We go to mass convocation tonight at the arena. I guess I will go down if I donít have to pay bus fare. I am down to $7.00 now. Maybe I will make it o.k. I had my shirt and shorts laundered. They looked fairly well. It is sure hard to find souvenirs here that look suitable. 
By and love & kisses, Marvin 

Monday 1:30 p.m. Dearest Sweetheart, 
Nothing doing today. It has rained all morning so I stayed in camp. Part of the boys went to Arlington cemetery to the Unknown Soldiers tomb for the flower ceremony. I stayed around, napped and talked with the boys. (Personal note: The Mertzon troop took part in the ceremony at The Tomb last Sunday, July 29, 2007, and great grandson Dylan Tate took part in laying the wreath). I stayed around, napped and talked with the boys. 

A cruiser in the harbor fired a 21 gun salute at 12:00 noon about 100 yards from us. 

I forgot to tell you yesterday that after services yesterday Bro. McMillan married a couple before church was dismissed. 

Last night we went to a mass convocation at the central arena. Some show but not much religion. Heard a Jew, Catholic, Mormon and Protestant. We will go in tonight to hear the Marine band and watch the fireworks. 
I didnít get a letter yesterday but was not so disappointed for I had two the day before. 

I do not find so much to make pictures about. I have snapped two. I may look around for another one or two. I am having one or two negatives developed that I want. 

Well, Sweetheart, I canít think of much to write. You should be getting the paper and it will tell you a lot. 
Bye, love, and kisses Marvin 

Tuesday 7:00 Dearest Sweetheart, 
We went up to the fireworks last night. Certainly was some display but nothing more than I saw at Dallas and Austin when I was in school. Rode up and walked back. 

We rode to town this a.m. Went out to Arlington Cemetery and Tomb of Unknown soldier. Passed Leeís Mansion and then back into town and through the Smithsonian for about three hours. We had sandwiches fixed and did not come home for lunch. 

Went to the Philatelic Agency and looked over the government collection. It was good. Did not buy any stamps. Went to three collectors shops. I spent about 75 cents. Sure saw some stamps. (Note: He collected stamps) Got back to camp at 5:00. Had good supper. Been a pretty day and had good sunshine this p.m. 

I am going to the section arena tonight to see what kind of stunts they put on. I had an invite to the stamp meeting but I could not get off. I have not received my special yet. 

I sure could read the girlís letter and glad to get it. Gene must stay well and be able to help. 
Love and Kisses, Marvin 

We go to the main arena tomorrow p.m. and stay until after the show. Will take our supper in sandwiches. We put on our big show. President Roosevelt will visit us. Thursday we see the president and Friday we get to packing. 

July 8, 1937 Wednesday afternoon 
Dearest Alta & Kiddies, 
All the boys but one are in the arena and practicing for the big Stunt tonight. I am guarding camp with the help of one boy. I will not get to see the big show tonight but I donít feel bad. I am missing a lot of hot work up there now getting ready for it and someone had to stay here. 

I have been trading some. Sold some of my cactus for 25 cents and two horned toads at the same price. I found them loose in camp so I just sold them. We have had several visitors today. I am going down in the morning when we review the president along Constitution Avenue. We will start packing tomorrow afternoon and loading on the train. Plans are now that we leave here between 4 & 8 Friday and into Ft Worth Sunday a.m. Angelo Monday morning at same time. 

They serve us in paper plates & cups. Issue a box of dishes for 36 every evening. It is more than we need and can use so I am saving them. I have 300 or 400 ahead by this time. I am going to try to bring them home. I donít know what luck I will have. 

Still feeding us as much as ever. All we can eat. It is hot today. Real Washington weather I am told. Sure glad we will be leaving in a day or two. We have not had any mosquitoes yet. If it gets hot for few days they say we will. I have not received any mail in two days now. Hope nothing wrong.. Bye & love, Marvin

We want to thank Frances Carr Tate of Tarzan, Texas  for providing us this photos and the copies of the letters of her father, M. H. Carr.

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