Scout Columns In Local Papers

Comanche Trail Council

Stories about Scouting in this area appeared as regular news stories in the local papers starting in 1910 in Comanche and then in Brownwood in 1911.  Most of the early stories were turned in by the troop itself and dealt with a campout or other activity of the troop.  No stories appeared in the paper about troops outside of the local community until after councils were formed.

After councils were chartered, the local Scout Executive, or someone designated by him, would write up a story and mail it to all the newspapers in their territory.  Within a few weeks after the Pecan Valley Council was organized in 1928, the Brownwood Bulletin carried a masthead titled “Scouting In Brownwood.”  It appeared infrequently along with regular single stories about Scouting during the next several months.  In October 1929, a new masthead titled “News of the Local Boy Scout Troops” appeared a couple of times, but soon died out.

By 1931, in The Cisco Daily News there appeared a regular masthead titled “Keeping Up With the Boy Scouts.”  This masthead sometimes covered only one subject, but most of the time covered many different stories.  For instance, the February 25, 1931, column announced an upcoming “Regional Meeting,” a paragraph on “Pioneer Troop 16,” another story on “Summer Camp” and yet a fourth story on “Scoutmasters to Meet.”

Newspaper masthead

When C. L. Pouncey became Acting Scout Executive of the Pecan Valley Council, he wrote a weekly column with the masthead reading “Boy Scout News” and “Pecan Valley Council” under that title.  This masthead continued in the paper until May 4, 1932, when the council’s name was changed in the masthead to “Comanche Trail Council” reflecting the new name of the newly merged councils.

scout masthead

Although the same news stories were mailed by the Council office to all the newspapers, each paper had its own style masthead.  The Stephenville Empire-Tribune from April 24, 1931, through December 1933, used a masthead that featured the words “Boy Scout” with a saluting Boy Scout on each side.  Other papers in this area used similar mastheads.

Scout column masthead

The June 2, 1934, Brownwood Bulletin featured a new masthead titled “Boy Scout News” with “Comanche Trail Council” underneath in smaller print.  This masthead featured a Boy Scout turned sideways.  The masthead was used for several years until on May 11, 1938, they changed it to show a Boy Scout blowing a bugle in front of a pup tent with the sun just coming up over the horizon.  The new masthead was used until November 1940, when for a short time a simple masthead that read “Boy Scout News” appeared in the paper.  That soon gave way in 1941 to just regular news stories again appearing in the paper with no mastheads.

These various columns in the newspapers usually appeared weekly.  The troop scribes or others would turn in the news of their activities to the council office or to the newspaper itself.  Some troops were more diligent than others about writing up the news of their activities.  For several weeks one would see news only about one troop while at other times the activities of several different troops would appear in the column.

Council Newsletters

The Oil Belt Gusher was a mimeographed publication put out by the OIl Belt Council on November 1928.  D. E. Lennon was the Editor and Clark Coursey was Editor of Lone Scout Department.  In an Editorial of this first issue read as follows:

"Say fellows what do you think of Our Now 'Gusher' - of course we realize it isn't so much yet but wait 'til we get our Troop Reporters & Journalists organized and working then we'll show you a 'paper wot is a paper'!!!!

"Mr. Quirl has asked me to act as Editor of the Troop Scout Dept. and I accepted because I knew I could depend on you scouts to help me put it over by sending in all the news, gossip, inventions, new games, and stunts, etc.  Then too, don't forget there's a Merit Badge for Journalism, also.

"Clark Coursey, the big Lone Scout, Journalist of Rising Star has consented to handle the Long Scout Department so rest assured that, that end of the job will be put over 100% (Your'e supposed to take a bow Clark!)

"All right, fellows three big HOW'S for the 'New Gusher'!
E. E. Lennon
P.S. Don't eat too much Thanksgiving dinner."

We do not know how many other issues were published, but we want to thank Pat Coursey, Brownwood, for providing us a copy of this newsletter.  Clark Coursey was his father who later became the editor of the Brownwood Banner, a local newspaper in Brownwood.

Several different council newsletters appeared at various times during the Comanche Trail Council’s history.  The first known newsletter appeared on September 8, 1939, Vol. 1, and was titled “Scoutmaster.”  It was a legal sized mimeographed paper, one page, that went out to all the Scoutmasters.  The paper gave information on a First Aid Meet, Rallies, Courts of Honor, Pre-School Camp, Uniforms, Scoutmaster Resigns, New Scouts and other brief stories on what was going on in the council.  It is possible that additional issues of this newsletter were mailed out to leaders, but only one copy could be found.  This first issue was in the scrapbook of A. R. Hochhaulter, Scoutmaster of Troop 5.  He kept the newsletter because it announced that he was resigning as Scoutmaster to attend The University of Texas of Austin.

The Bugle Call

In 1954, the council issued a weekly newsletter, called "The Bugle Call," to promote summer camp and other activities of the council. . We know of nine issues of the newsletter, which not only told about summer camp at Camp Billy Gibbons, but also gave information on district swimm meets, reregistration notes, Order of the Arrow events and "Notes From The Field."  The newsletter was printed on legal size mimeographed paper, one sided, and was mailed directly to Scouters. We do not know if the newsletter was continued after the nine issues.  Go HERE to read the July 19, 1954, issue of the newsletter

Comanche Trail Scouting News

The next Council newsletter, that we know of, was published on February 1, 1963 as Vol. 1 No. 1 and was called “Comanche Trail Scouting News.”  John H. Pounds, who had just become Scout Executive of the Council, was looking for a way to get the news of the council out to the volunteers.   Pounds had come from Capitol Area Council, Austin, and one of his duties there was to publish their Council newsletter.  He had just the right publication in mind for his first month on the job.

That first issue covered the need for Summer Camp Staff, Manley Webb earning his Wood Badge beads, Dr. T. C. Graves promoting the Region Nine Meeting, Summer Camp meetings for Scoutmasters, Lapsed Units, 100% Boys’ Life Units, Units Due to Recharter and that “this monthly publication will be the only notice of meetings mailed to Scouters...”

For some unknown reason, the “Scouting News”  went through Vol. 4, No. 11 in December 1967 and then reverted back to Vol. 1 for the years 1968 and again in 1969. We have no issues of the “Scouting News” from 1970 through the beginning of 1977.

Trail Signs

By March 1977, the name of the newsletter had been changed to “Trail Signs” and remains so until the last issue of December 2002.  The volume number and issue number were not listed in the paper until the January-February issue of 1997 when the council began went to using a computer to compose the newsletter.

Volume 65, Issue 1, was designated for that first computer generated issue. That volume number was determined by counting off from when the Comanche Trail Council was formed in 1932.  The paper is mailed to all registered Scouters in the Council and comes out about every two months.   One could read the paper in print form, and as of January 1999,  can also read it online on the council’s website.

These newsletters had been a great resource to the author in pinpointing various events and activities that happened in the Comanche Trail Council over the past thirty-five years.  The council office kept all of the issues bound together in three-ring notebooks.

The last issue of "Trail Signs" was published in November - December 2002.  Go HERE to read the last issue of the Electronic Newsletter.

Material for this page came from "Ninety Years of Service," Frank T. Hilton, 1999, as well as other sources.

Last Updated:  February 3, 2006
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