Draper, Scout Executive of the newly organized Concho Valley Council, in
1927, came up with the idea of forming an exhibition troop of Boy Scouts
to travel to the various towns around San Angelo and demonstrate to the
citizens the value of having a Scout troop in their community. Thus
the Exhibition Troop was created.
The troop was made up of
four patrols of six boys each, one patrol for each of four subjects to
be demonstrated. The Council bought two trucks and a trailer for
the trip. The trailer was fixed up to serve as a kitchen and the
twenty-eight Scouts and adults in the group would ride in the two trucks,
with benches having been built on each side of the bed of the trucks.
The four subjects selected
for the demonstrations were knot tying, first aid, fire building and signaling.
Contests were held among the Scouts to select the very best boys in each
subject for the trip. In mid-August a two-and-a-half day training
camp was held for the "San Angelo Exhibition Troop." They were equipped
with everything that was required for a 10-day camp. Archery equipment
was brought along with other exhibition material. They constructed
knot boards, bridges, bird houses, totems, miniature log cabins, etc. for
the exhibit. They teamed up and fixed up skits showing some part
On August 21, 1927, at 4:30
p.m., on a Sunday afternoon on the Court House lawn, the Exhibition Troop
put on their first public demonstration in a double program which also
featured the DeMolay band under the direction of Harold Broome.
Leave on Trip
The Exhibition Troop left the
next day at 7 a.m. Twenty-two Boy Scouts together with Brice Draper,
Scout Executive in his Buick, Harold Albert, their cook, Reece Albert and
truck drivers finally left an hour and a half later in the two trucks and
a trailer. The trailer contained a stove and complete kitchen equipment
for the trip along with all the camping gear. Dwight Hunter, Jr.
was selected as the troop scribe and wrote several articles in the SAN
ANGELO DAILY STANDARD about their trip. Most of what is written here
is from those stories.
Having left San Angelo that
morning, they arrived at Paint Rock about 10:30 a.m. and there was no one
on the streets. Ford Boulware blew a bugle and soon the streets were
blocked with traffic and people to see what was going on. Following
their demonstration for the Paint Rock citizens, they went swimming in
the river and had lunch. Then they were off to Eden where they presented
a demonstration about 5 o'clock. They pitched camp and put on yet
another demonstration that evening.
At each of these demonstrations
the Scouts put on stunts, showed Scoutcraft in the four areas of knots,
fire building, signaling, and first aid. One of the most interested
exhibits of each show was the speed contest in fire building. The
next morning they went to Melvin where they gave their show and Draper
gave the local Scouts their charter as there was an active Scout troop
in the community. Then they went on to Brady after lunch and pitched
camp and put on a short demonstration to get people to come to their big
show that night on the Court House lawn. Afterwards, they went to
the Ritz Theater where Ralph Logan won a prize.
Wednesday morning they packed
up and drove to Menard and stayed there all day. They gave their
demonstration in the Mission Theater. Harold Albert, who was one
of the leaders on the trip, related to me that the brakes on the old trucks
weren't all that good. When they went downhill, they would get out
and place small logs in front of the wheels to help brake the trucks, placing
one after the other until they reached the bottom of the hill. Then,
Brice Draper would hook up his Buick to the truck and help tow it up the
next hill. And thus they made their way on Thursday morning to Junction.
They went swimming and ate lunch at the Schreiner Park. Following
lunch they paraded Main Street with Ford Boulware blowing his bugle.
They gave their act at the LeRoy theater at 2 p.m. Then they left
On the way to Sonora they drove
by a Chevrolet Coupe that was burning. All the Scouts threw sand
on it and saved the tires. The Scouts bandaged the arm of the young
woman driver and righted the machine which had turned over. The accident
happened on the Sonora-Junction road about seventeen miles from Sonora.
The driver, a young woman, who had been attending school at Leland Stanford
during the summer, sustained an injured arm and another woman and children
in the car were badly shaken up. That night they camped at Camp Allison.
The bugler was so tired that he signaled taps with a flashlight.
They arrived at Sonora at
noon the next day and had lunch at the Fair grounds. They gave a
demonstration at the LaVista Theater before a large crowd.
Then it was off to Eldorado where they gave their last demonstration and
went on the Christoval, where, after much argument, they camped for the
night. The arrived back in San Angelo on Saturday morning.
Winners in Fire Building
Jake Wardlaw held the local
record for starting a fire with flint and steel - three seconds.
In addition he was tied with Harry Logan and Luther Coulter at twelve seconds
in starting a fire by rubbing two sticks together. Wardlaw achieved
a fire in three seconds in a demonstration at Brady, being timed with a
stop watch by Superintendent Peterson of the Brady schools. The tie
in friction fire making was made at Eldorado, after Wardlaw had made the
record three days earlier at Eden.
The signalers used two-arm semaphore
in the daytime and flashlights, whistles, bugles and lanterns with their
dot-dashes at night.
The knot-tying patrol made a
good showing with their speed tests in tying useful knots. They showed
about sixteen knots and puzzled the crowd with their fancy and trick knots.
J. T. Henderson, demonstrated some of these knots at a Troop 333 meeting
in December 1988. He still remembered most of the tricks using knots,
having practiced them all these 61 years.
The first aid bandages and demonstrations
put on by the Red Rooster patrol won the points for the best all around
demonstration on this trip.
Second Trip to Towns
The Exhibition Troop left again
on Wednesday morning, August 31, and gave a demonstration in Sherwood after
a "dandy swim." A small water carnival was held in which the Lion
Patrol won. That night they put on their demonstrations at the Barnes
Theater in Mertzon. The next day they arrived in Ozona at two o'clock
where they had lunch in a church. They pitched camp in the city square
and put on a night performance after seeing the movie "Mr. Wu" at the theater.
Trucks Need Overhauling
Friday morning they started
for Ft. Stockton. On the way down the steep hill between Ozona and
Sheffield they managed to "wipe out" reverse and the brakes on one of the
trucks according to an account by Harold Albert. Upon arrival at
Sheffield they had to have the truck repaired. They had arrived just
before a rodeo being held there and were thus treated to a barbeque and
put on a show just before the roping events. About four o'clock the
truck was fixed and they were on their way to Fort Stockton. After
quite a few flats and a lot of road work they arrived in a sandstorm and
rain. According to J. T. Henderson, they had 26 flats on that trip.
Help With Fire
After a lot of inquiring they
pitched camp in a grassy spot which was rather low, near the swimming pool
in the park. Just then they hear the fire sirens. All the Scouts
started for the fire. Harold Albert stated that the fire was at a
local lumber yard and the Scouts gave valuable assistance to the firemen
in helping to put out the fire. In those days, they still used the
bucket brigade method of fighting fires. They returned to camp and
after sleeping in a hard rain all night they woke up to find the channel
a few feet away from their campsite as the river had risen because of the
rain. They broke camp in nothing flat and pitched camp on a nearby
hill. In a few minutes their original campground was a river.
After lunch they did their
laundry at the spring and went swimming. That night they marched
in formation to the Queen Theater where they gave their performance.
Sunday morning they went to the Methodist Church and took part in the program,
giving their Code of Honor and singing a song. After lunch, prepared
by Reece Albert, they had a big water carnival. The two sides were
the Water Dogs and the Mud Hens. We don't know who won the contest!
The next morning they went
to the oil town of McCamey arriving home Wednesday afternoon. Draper
reported that the group also put on shows in the local theaters at Barnhart,
Rankin, Best, Texon and Big Lake. They also told of buying poor drinking
water at high prices and of a most welcome shower bath proffered by Tom
Cody at Big Lake after two days of sand and dust storms in McCamey and
surrounding towns. The Scouts met with a hearty reception in
all the towns and reported that there was much enthusiasm for Scouting.
The Scout Executive was to return to the towns the last of October to organize
permanent Boy Scout troops.
Membership of Exhibition
According to the SAN ANGELO
DAILY STANDARD the Exhibition Troop consisted of the following Scouts:
Red Rooster Patrol (Signaling) - Jerry Nibling, Patrol Leader and also
chief mechanic of Elizabeth, one of the two trucks. Other members
were Ford Boulware, bugler, Ralph Logan, George Delker and Gordon Buttery.
Buffalo Patrol (First Aid) - Willard Crotty, Patrol Leader. Judd
Pressly, Larue Avera, Jack Thames, Homer Hagertty, and Harrison Clary.
Lion Patrol (Fire Building) - Luther Coulter, Patrol Leader. Jake
Wardlaw, Dwight Hunter, Jr., Harry Logan and George Brockman. Flying Eagle
Patrol (Knot Tying) - Fred Nibling, Patrol Leader. Marshall Borders,
Robert Hodges, Bomar Horton and L. B. Horton, Jr. J. T. Henderson
was also a member of this patrol even though his name was not mentioned
in the paper.
Troop - 1930
A second exhibition troop was
organized in the summer of 1930. In July of that year seventeen members
of what was known as the "Western Exhibition Troop," left San Angelo in
trucks piled high with camp equipment for Fort Stockton where they conducted
a four-day camp of instruction for the Scouts of that area. The troop
left in two sections. The first truck pulled out promptly at 7 a.m.
It was in charge of Luther Coulter and Willard Crotty, two youth who had
gone with the first Exhibition Troop in 1928. The other Scouts of
the section were: Harry Benson, Harold Brown, Delmond Hamner, Charles
Connaly, Douglas Meek and Robert Ringey. Marshall Borders, another
member of the first Exhibition Troop, was in charge of the second section
that left at one o'clock. It was composed of Joe Parks, James Benton,
James Buttery, Edwin Buttery, Bill Erwin, Robert Hardgrave, James Montgomery,
Homer Jordan, Jr. and Herman Swift.
The trucks, which were furnished
by the Household Furniture Company and Marshall Borders, were filled with
camp equipment, tentage, cots, kitchen utensils, and the equipment necessary
to conduct the instruction at the camp.
The troop camped at Comanche
Springs near Fort Stockton. Thursday afternoon, while the Scouts
were standing personal inspection, Sheriff Will Rooney appeared on the
scene with a warrant for all the Scouts and leaders to report immediately
to the Pecos County jail. Sheriff Rooney marched the entire camp
up Main street and into the jail before Judge R. D. Bayless could prevail
upon him to listen to reason. The Scouts were then questioned and
it was learned that a mistake had been made and Sheriff Rooney apologized
for having brought the Scout to jail on false pretenses. In order
to make up for the error, the sheriff then marched the Scouts to a big
spring in back of the jail and treated them to an enormous barbecue with
watermelon and ice cream. The Scouts were ready to be arrested again
The camp closed with an exhibition
of Scoutcraft on the principal corner of Fort Stockton. Several thousand
people from Fort Stockton, McCamey, Iraan and other nearby towns witnessed
the Scouts' demonstration of knot tying, signaling, first aid, bugling,
fire building without matches and Indian Lore. Luther Coulter, Marshall
Borders, Edwin Buttery, Herman Swift and Harry Benson acted as patrol leaders
for the entire camp. Notice was sent to all Scouts in Big Lake, Rankin,
Texon, McCamey, Iraan, Sheffield, Crane and Fort Stockton to be in Fort
Stockton Tuesday, July 15, to join the Western Exhibition Troop from San
Angelo and go into camp on Comanche Creek. We do not know from the
limited press coverage who all were able to participate in this event.
Apparently there was more
than one Exhibition Troop camp in 1930. We know that the Exhibition
Troop joined a group of 25 Scouts from Brady and four from Eden at the
Farm District Camp at Brady in late August. We also know that at
a Court of Honor on Friday night, November 7, Allen Hood, Homer Jordan,
Jr., John and Willard Crotty, and Harry Benson of Troop 1 received the
Camp Award for attending three Exhibition Troop Camps. Harrison Clary
and Robert Ringey of Troop 6 also received the Camp Award.
In a report given in the
ANGELO STANDARD-TIMES on February 8, 1931, they reported that during
the summer of last year (1930), four one-week camps were held in the four
corners of the council -- Fort Stockton, Junction, Brady, and Mertzon.
We assume that the Exhibition Troop was present at all four of these camps,
two of which we have already mentioned above.
Material for this story was taken from "Panjandrum
A History of Scouting in the Concho Valley Council 1911-2001," by Frank
T. Hilton, 2001
Last Updated: January 14,
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