Sam Crowther

Sam Crowther was an active businessman and community leader in San Angelo.  He was an ideal person to serve as Scoutmster of the first troop in San Angelo, TX in 1911.  Rice Lynn, a Scout in the the first troop, said  that "Sam Crowther was a disciplinarian but the kids loved him.  He was a fine looking man."

Born in England

Sam CrowtherSam Crowther was born in England in New-les-Willows, Lancestershire, on August 9, 1862.  When he was 7 years old, his father died of hydrophobia, leaving Sam's mother, Elizabeth, a widow with three sons, of which Sam was the oldest.

Sam left home when his mother remarried and went to Liverpool where he sold papers on the streets.  Crowther told the story once, when asked what he considered his most valuable investment, that when he was selling newspapers in the winter in Liverpool he would buy two hot potatoes, wrap them in paper and carry them in his coat pocket.  "They gave out wonderful warmth", he said.  "Then when they no longer gave out heat, I could eat them -- you couldn't beat an investment like that."

At age 12 he signed on a ship (freighter) as a cabin boy and stayed on the sea for many years.  At age 21 he came to Montreal, Canada, with two other friends.  They all wanted to go on to Australia, but lacking enough money they took a train to San Antonio in 1883.  There they found work on ranches nearby and proceeded to break wild horses and ride the range as cowboys.

Town Named Crowther

He was married in 1892, to Mary Lavinia Vining, a teacher in Pleasanton, Texas.  By 1900, he was employed by a group of investors in England as superintendent of a corporation to develop a townsite as a link between San Antonio and Gulf Coast as an extension of the railroad.  Many buildings were built at the site, but due in part to a lack of water, the project failed.  The town of Crowthers does not exist today except for a few buildings.  In 1968, the state erected a historicalmarker on Farm Road 99 between the towns of Whitsett and Callihan honoring the town of Sam Crowther.

By 1906, Sam and his wife, and two sons, John and Robert, had moved to San Angelo, where he bought the Wylie Hardware store.  It became Crowther Hardware and was operated from 1907 to 1922.  It was located on Chadbourne street where is now located the West Texas Utility building   Later, he founded the Crowther Supply  Company at 117 Bird street.

During the time he was in San Angelo, he was a member of the San Angelo School Board for twelve years, six years as its president, was city alderman and county parole board chairman.  He served as first president and charter member of the San Angelo Kiwanis Club, a member of the Business Men's Bible Class, amd taught Sunday school in the First Methodist Church.  He was Worshipful Master of San Angelo Masonic Lodge, president of the Texas Hardware and Implement Dealer's Association, County Trustee.  He was also president of the San Angelo Rifle Club, signer of the city charter, and a government volunteer weather observer from 1907 to 1937.

Scouting Career

In August of 1911, he was appointed National Committeeman of the American Boy Scouts.  In 1934 he was awarded the Boy Scout Silver Beaver Award for "distinguished service to boyhood." He stayed active in Scouting over the years.  He was not only the first Scoutmaster in the area but later served as a merit badge counselor for Seamanship and Weather Merit Badges, was a member of the Court of Honor and served as troop committeeman for Troop 7, a position he held at the time he received the Silver Beaver.

Probably one of his most noted services to boyhood, as stated on the application for Silver Beaver, was : "For the past 10 years, Mr. Crowther has appeared before the court in behalf of juvenile delinquents and has accepted hundreds of boys on probation, making weekly reports to the court as to their conduct."

Text taken from Panjandrum - A History of Concho Valley Council, 1911-1941, by Frank T. Hilton, 1990

Last Updated:  January 9, 2003
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