Sea Scouts for older boys was st|arted in the Boy Scouts of America in 1912, but did not become a part of the West Texas Scouting scene until the 1930's. By then, local lakes were being built, boats were becoming more available, and the various councils were looking for new ways to keep the older boys in Scouting.
The boys could either belong to a Sea Scout Patrol within their own troop, or join a Sea Scout Ship which was separate from all the troops. Sea Scouts had their own advancement program and a boy could advance through the ranks as Apprentice Sea Scouts, Ordinary Sea Scouts, Able Sea Scouts, and Quartermaster.
Sea Scout Patrols
Sea Scouts - Chisholm Trail Council
First Sea Scout Ship Organized - 1930
Scouts who were present at the meeting and became charter members were Fred Ross, Jr., Charles Smith, Burl Williams, Jim Leavell, Kenneth McFarland, Kenneth Medders and Ed McCurtain. The committee was made up of B. A. Nance, Bryan Payne and C. M. Prater.
Second Sea Scout Ship - 1945
By 1946, the Junior Chamber of Commerce had purchased a sailboat that could seat fourteen passengers that was built by R. C. Barton. The boat was first launched on Lytle Lake. Over the years the group won six first places in six major bivouacs, including three from a Tri-State Regional meet at Lake Texoma. The trophy was a ship's bell from the U. S. S. Lexington.
Doyle Gray became the new
skipper of the ship in 1950 and was succeeded by Jimmy Higgins in 1951.
Sea Scouts - Concho Valley Council
First Sea Scout Ship Organized - 1930
The group met on Thursday nights in Troop 4's cabin in the Log Cabin Village. By February 8, 1931, under the leadership of Fire Chief Parker the group had manufactured more than 50 canoes and several flat boats and had set them afloat on the Concho and Colorado rivers.
In March of 1931, the Sea Scouts were given a den in Troop 4's cabin. Another Sea Scout Ship, with Jim Atkinson as Skipper, was organized in the council during the Spring of 1934. Ship 13, of San Angelo, with fourteen boys, was for First Class Scouts, 15 years of age or older. The boys built a hut on Lake Nasworthy where they kept one sail boat. The ship was sponsored by the San Angelo Lions Club.
In early 1935, a second Sea Scout unit was organized by the Scouts of Troop 49, Iraan, with Fred Nixon as Skipper. They organized the SHIP PARAGULT.
Loses Sailboat to Flood
By 1937, there were several Sea Scout units in existence: Sea Scout No. 13, San Angelo, nine members, Ed Brown, Skipper; Sea Scout Ship 3, San Angelo, five members, E. L. Starkie, Skipper; Sea Scout Ship 2, San Angelo, five members, J. W. Harrison, Skipper.
The only Sea Scout Ship to participate in the March 5, 1937, Boy Scout Circus held at the Municipal Auditorium in San Angelo was Ship 13. They participated in Event No. 7, Senior Scouting. On June 13, 1937, members of Sea Scout Ship 3, commanded by Earl L. Starkie, skipper, presented the opening flag ceremony at the dedication of Carr Village at Camp Louis Farr.
The Sea Scouts were all members of Sea Scout Patrol Crane which consisted of Bob Wooldridge, Jack Porterfield, Bill Bradley, Reginald Cook, coxswian; Joe Benson, yeoman and Jack Ligon, Paul Hemphill and Frank Benson. The patrol was sponsored by the B. O. Wood Bible Class of the First Presbyterian Church of San Angelo. Troop 10 organized a Sea Scout Patrol in February 1938, with nine members. Skipper Walter Teague was at the helm.
The Boy Scout Circus, held May 6, 1938, at the High School Stadium in San Angelo, featured many more Sea Scout Ships and Patrols than the one Ship that participated in the 1937 Circus. Sea Scout Ships 72, 73, 76 and 77 of Del Rio participated in the Historical Pageant and Indian Lore parts of the Circus. Sea Scout Patrols of Troops 3 and 10, San Angelo; Troop 49, Iraan; and Troop 72, Del Rio; participated in the Senior Scouting part of the show.
A story, given in the Boy
Scout Section of the San Angelo Standard-Times on February 8, 1939, listed
only four Sea Scout Ships in the Council. They were Ship 3, San Angelo,
Pat Conway, Skipper; Ship 10, San Angelo, Walter Teague, Skipper; Ship
49, Iraan, Varn Brownlee, Scoutmaster; and Sea Scout Ship 72, Del Rio,
Boyd W. Lovelace, Skipper.
Several Sea Scout units from the Council participated in a Regatta held June 9-15, 1940, at Eagle Mountain Lake, near Fort Worth. The Ships were from San Angelo, Del Rio, Iraan, and Eagle Pass. Events held at the Regatta included sail boat races and model boat races. On the final night, they had a Sea Scout ball and a Bridge of Honor, better known to Scouts as a Court of Honor.
The San Angelo Standard-Times listed the following Sea Scout Ships in its February 9, 1943 edition: SS-71, Del Rio; SS-76, Del Rio; SS-5, San Angelo; and SS-91, Eagle Pass. By February 8, 1949, only SS-71 of Del Rio with 10 members, was listed in the paper.
Sea Scouts - Comanche Trail Council
Ships Organized In Iraan and Breckenridge - 1935
Later that year, the first Sea Scout Ship was organized in the Comanche Trail Council up in Breckenridge, TX. In August 1935, a group of Scouts from three troops in Breckenridge and one from Cisco came together and organized the first Sea Scout Ship in the Council. They were SSS “Texan,” ship 40, sponsored by the Breckenridge Lions Club. Russell B. Jones was the Skipper. Jones had been in the American Merchant Marine under Captain F. W. Mein in 1926. At the time he was Manger of the Texas Electric Service Company in Breckenridge. The principal of the high school, John F. Bailey, served on the Ship Committee. W. F. Thorpe was 1st mate and Lester Clark served as 2nd mate. The following year, Thorpe became Skipper.
The group met on Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m., in the Senior High School gymnasium. As noted in the "General Information" of their charter application, the nearest body of water was thirteen miles away. Nine boys, ages 15 though 17, were members at charter time. Charles Brown and Crowell Werner were both Eagle Scouts. James C. Rominger of Cisco, a Life Scout, was also a member and is living in Breckenridge today. Other charter members were Bernard Clegg, Howard Hill, Alfred McCaleb, Jay Ray Nix, Clarence Potter and Phillip Shaw. They put on a demonstration at the January 25, 1936 Council Annual Banquet in Brownwood. This group was awarded first place as the most outstanding ship at the first Ninth Regional Sea Scout Regatta held in June 1936 in Fort Worth.
Rigging A Dinghy
The ship went on to launch another sail boat in August 1936 called the ALTAIR on Lake De Lafosse. During the early part of the year the group put on a demonstration at the Council Annual Meeting on January 25, 1936. That fall they visited the Texas Centennial in Dallas and ended the year with a theater party.
1936 the ship made application to the Boy Scouts of America to acquire
a 12 oared whaleboat. According to their application, the boat was to be
shipped by Humble Oil and Refining Company, Baytown, TX, via Navy Oil Tanker
Selinia, with arrangements made through Admiral Tauasig. As
far as we know they did not receive this whaleboat!
Two of the canoes dropped out about half way, so only three canoes made the entire trip. They took three weeks to get there and had parents drop off supplies at designated places along the river. Needless to say, they did not attempt that trip again.
The ship spent a lot of time on Lake Brownwood, camping along the shore and on an island in the lake. At the time, the dam was closed off to the public, but they had a key to the lock and went over to the other side of the dam, which was undeveloped at the time, and camped out many nights. They had a sail boat and used it on the lake.
It was reported in the Brownwood Rotary Banner, on August 19, 1964, that "PDG Bob Blake, advisor of the First Methodist Church Sea Explorer Ship No. 1 and five members of the ship returned Friday from a four-day Gulf cruise aboard a Coast Guard cutter, sailing from Galvesto to Brownsville, Matamoros, Mexico, and other points."
Harold Wohlford was the first Sea Scout to earn the Quartermaster Award in the council, and it was presented to him at the Council Annual Banquet on January 27, 1940. He was honored at the 1937 North District Sea Scout Regatta as the Outstanding Sea Scout from the Texan and received a bronze medal from the sponsoring organization for this honor. He was a crew leader for two years and one year as Chief Petty Officer. In 1940 he was made Third Mate of SSS Texan, #40 at the age of eighteen.
The only other Sea Scout to earn the Quartermaster Award in the Comanche Trail Council was Marshall Bittick of Ship 11, Brownwood, in December of 1950.
Sea Scout Units
1 - 5/31/59 - 5/31/65 Sponsored by First Methodist Church, Brownwood,
William G. Lynn, Skipper
were never more than thirty Sea Scouts registered at any one time in the
Council, and they disappeared all together in the Council by the end of
1980. Several of the Sea Scouts and their Skippers are still active
in Scouting today in other capacities and remember fondly their white uniforms
and hours on the lakes in their small sailboats.
Sea Scouts - Buffalo Trail Council
A newspaper story had the folowing:
Midland Scout Unit Arrives In Miami
"Dewayne Mosley, assistant leader of the group, talked by telephone to Mrs. Mosley this morning and said the group has taken possession of a 52-foot ketch and hopes to depart for a week-long trip by early Friday.
"The group left Midland Saturday.
"The ketch at present is tied up in a protected channel, awaiting the return of favorable weather. Mosely said the Midland youths spent Wednesday helping others to bring their ships into the protected channel.
"Explorer Ship 51, sponsored by the Midland Jaycees, is a unit of the Chaparral District, Boy Scouts of America."
For a story about Sea Scout Ship 111's 243 mile hike to Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch from Big Spring go HERE.
Information for this page taken from Panjandrum A History of Scouting in the Concho Valley Council 1911 - 1941 by Frank T. Hilton, 1990, the Brownwood Bulletin, June 12, 1930. Ninety Years of Service, A History of Comanche Trail Council 1910-1999 by Frank T. Hilton, 1999, and A History of Chisholm Trail Council Boy Scouts of America, a thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate School of Hardin-Simons University by Claude Olen Willis, August 1952. Our thanks to Wallace Craig for providing us with Sea Scout Ship 51's trip to the Bahamas in 1966.