Brownwood's First Scout Troop - 1911

The Daily Bulletin of Brownwood, Texas reported the following story on it's front page December 9, 1911. 

Boy Scouts Organized
Scout Master Tommie Thompson Meets With Boys
Two Patrols in the Field
Good Time Is Promised the Youngsters When Final Arrangements Are Completed

"A meeting was held at the home of Robert Walker on Fisk Avenue on yesterday afternoon for the purpose of organizing a Boy Scout club among the younger boys of this city.  The organization was perfected by the election of officers for Patrol No. 1, which is composed largely of youngsters on this side of the railroad.  Of this patrol Robert Walker was made leader and Boyer Scrimgeour secretary.  Messrs. Lloyd Tunnell and David Sweet, from across the railroad were present and were delegated to get up a patrol over there.  These youngsters got busy at once and have a company of eight boys who will meet with Patrol No. 1 on next Friday at the home of Lloyd Tunnell on Irma street.  At this meeting officers will be elected for Patrol No. 2.

"The club is formed under the direction of Scout Master Tommie Thompson, and he is planning a great time for the youngsters during the spring and summer months of next year.  The boys expect to take many joy hikes and as soon as they have been properly drilled will likely engage in contests such as will give them good scout service.  It is possible that several patrols will be organized within the next few weeks."

Patrol No. 3 Organized and First Hike

The third patrol of the first Brownwood Troop was organized about three weeks later, December 23, 1911, with Samuel Humphreys as the leader and Yantis Robnett as secretary.  All three patrols went on their first hike on December 27, 1911 into the country.  There were twenty-four Scouts on the hike, accompanied by their Scoutmaster Tommie Thompson. 

On February 22, 1912, the third patrol enjoyed Washington's Birthday by taking a ten-mile hike around the city.  They gathered at the home of W. C. Robbins, Scoutmaster, prior to taking the hike.  Apparently they had changed Scoutmaster sometime after the first of the year. 

Third Scoutmaster Within Six Months

Dr. John D. Power became Scoutmaster of the troop sometime prior to the time he took them to a week's long summer camp on June 10, 1912. at Camp Power.   He was the first Scouter in the Comanche Trail Council to receive the Silver Beaver Award, the highest honor a local council may bestow upon a Scouter "for outstanding service to youth."

He received his certificate of commission by the Boy Scouts of America, dated February 7, 1914, No. 815.  The certificate read "Having met the requirements prescribed by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America is hereby appointed to serve as Scout Master #815, Troop #1, Brownwood, Brown, Co. Tex. for the year ending September 30th, 1914."

Rev. Power came to Brownwood in 1904 as rector at St. John's Episcopal Church.  He worked in Scouting for twenty-five years prior to his death on October 23, 1937 at the age of 91.  He was 66 years old when he became Scoutmaster. Dr. Power was born in Witerton, England, April 16, 1846.  At the age of five, he and his parents moved to Yorkshire, where he received his education at St. John's College, York.  For eighteen years he served in the public schools of England. The Brownwood Rotary Club honored him on his 90th birthday with a special program complete with cake and all the trimmings.


Pictured to the right starting in the back row are:
Boyer Scrimgeour
Roy Walker & Rufus W. Peavy
Tom Wilkinson, Gayle Waldrop, Sam Humphreys, unknown
Ebin Junkin, unknown, Ed Henley, Lloyd Tunnell
 ( Henry Ford, Nat Lou and Friend Wallace also in picture)

This photo was taken in front of the Carnegie Library, Brownwood, June 10, 1912,  by Rev. Power, of the twelve Scouts who took a twenty mile hike to Clear Creek  to spend a week camping at Camp Power.  According to Rev. Power, "The party started out at 7:50 o'clock and walked steadily for an hour, after which they took a fifteen minutes' rest.  At 10:30 they stopped for lunch and a long rest, which put in them condition to travel farther.  Setting off again they came very near completing their journey by 4:30, but some of the number were too tired to walk the last mile and gladly availed themselves of the opportunity offered by Mr. Henley to ride.  Seven, however, spurned all offers to ride and walked steadily along beside the Scout Master to the very end of the journey.

"The first work by the boys was the putting up of tents, then there was a break for the water.  Swimming time is limited to fifteen minutes and at the expiration of that time each and every lad had to leave the water and spend like time on the banks before they could return to the water.

"This morning the youngsters were put through a primary military drill and then allowed to go swimming.  Quite a bit of work has been mapped out for the youngsters while they are having their fun and when they return to the city they should be eligible for the tenderfeet class of Scouts."

One of the greatest treats, according to the Scouts, was the visit of the Girl Scouts on their last full day in camp.  Miss Agnes Power took a party of girls to Brookesmith, where they were met with vehicles and taken to the camp to spend the day.  "Uncle Tom" Ragan provided fish for lunch. They had fruit and things sent down from town to make the day a regular picnic for all in attendance.

On the last day, Saturday, June 15, some of the Scouts left Camp Power at 6:30 in the morning and hiked back to town, arriving about one-o'clock.  Not all the Scouts could hike that far and came home on the train the night before. 

Troop Active Until 1918

For the next two summers they had their summer camp at Flat Rock Crossing on the Jim Ned.  In spite of the red bugs and lack of rain they had a good time fishing, swimming, playing games and working on their advancement.  They learned to cook by watching Uncle Tom Ragan cook their meals right before their eyes. They took turns helping to cook and clean up.   The camps were held in June of 1913 and 1914.   They spent about a week in the camp with Dr. John Power and various other leaders coming out to help with  advancement and other activities.

              Photo taken at Camp Powell
They took a  thirteen mile cross country hike to Zephyr on February 22, 1913 with their Scoutmaster, Dr. John Power, and his guardian angel "Snooks."  Some eighteen Scouts made the hike with Power and they caught the night train back home.  Those that went on the hike were:
Patrol No. 1:  Boyer Scrimgeour, captain; Rufus Peavy, Roy Walker, Henry Ford, Edward Henley.
Patrol No. 2:  Edward Lake, captain; Jimmie Robnett, Yantis Robnett, Friend Wallace, Charles Mallow, Joe Cauthorn, Bill Armstrong, Samuel Humphreys.
Patrol No. 3:  Cecil Follard, Robert Trimm, Walter Gilmore, Bill Camp, Miles Malone

Boy Scouts Had Pleasant Time

Last Week Spent In Camp on Camp on Jim Ned: 
Routine of Camp Life Very Interesting
(Story in Brownwood Daily Bulletin - June 17, 1913)

"The Boy Scouts of Brownwood enjoyed last week camping at Flat Rock Crossing on the Jim Ned.  In spite of the red bugs and a little rain the boys all had a real, old fashioned good time.  The camp was situated on the other side of the creek in a bend where the fishing was ideal and a great deal of shade and protection from the rain was afforded by large trees.  Each boy in camp caught his share of fish and had more than his share of a good time.  All the boys are deeply indebted to Dr. Power, the much loved scoutmaster and also to Uncle Tom Ragan who kept the whole camp delighted with war stories and jokes.  The scouts do not attempt to express to them their deep gratitude and thanks for the pleasant camp, fine cooking and all the fun of the week. 

"Uncle Tom, with the assistance of two boys who were appointed each day, did all the cooking.  He taught the boys how to cook by preparing the food right before their eyes and all.  The Scouts say that they are wiser coming back than they were going out.  Dr. Power kept up the strict order of camp and daily program was followed each day. The boys got up at six o'clock and were ready for breakfast at six forty-five.  Dishwashing at seven thirty, or rather each boy washed his own dishes when he finished eating.  Everyone was free then except the ones who were cooks for the day.  At eight o'clock followed inspection of the boys' tents, which had to be clean and in order.  At ten thirty swimming and at twelve dinner. 

"After dinner the boys were free again, except the ones who had to cook. This time was taken up in sleeping, games, scouting about the neighboring country and fishing, and at three o'clock everyone came trooping for a swim.  After swimming the boys cleaned up camp and after that loafed around until supper.  Supper was at six and 'camp fire' at eight.  'Camp fire' generally lasted until nine or nine thirty and the 'lights out whistle' was blown at ten.  Watch was kept all through the night, the first watch coming from ten to eleven, the second from eleven to twelve, and so on.

"The camp was entirely a success and this success was due to Dr. Power, the beloved scoutmaster, and to Uncle Tom Ragan, who fought the Yankees.  To these two men the scouts of Brownwood express their deepest gratitude and thanks for making things so enjoyable and for doing so much towards the welfare and comfort of every one in camp."

Bags of Pecans

The Troop was allowed out of school by the Superintendent of Schools on October 26, 1914 to gather a hundred pounds of pecans to help Brownwood ship 500 bags to European children on a Christmas Ship.  They spent all day, along with their Scoutmaster, Dr. Power collecting the pecans and by that night had collected enough to finish the bags. 

Possum Hunt

In February 1915, some thirty-one Scouts along with six adults when on an all night Possum hunt.  No report on whether or not they treed any possums!  We do know that they hiked some seven miles that night. They left the Chamber of Commerce rooms at 7:30 and returned about 12 o'clock.  Rev. John Power, Rev. Briston Gray, Maury Hall, E. E. Kirkpatrick, Walter Ford and Proffessor Winebrenner made the trip with the Scouts.

The following Scouts were in the hunt: Roland Allbright, Harry Armstrong, William Armstrong, Dee Baugh,  Will Camp, W. Z. Clak, Hollis Farbrough, Herbat Farrim, Cecil Follard, Roy Gingrich, Edward Grady, J. R. Harrell, Walter Hodson, Woodle Hodson, Albert Hoffman,  August Hoffman, Tillman Johnson, Vaughn Johnson, Will Johnson, Harry Knox,  Winfred Owen, Mac Prentice, Virgil Rogan, Hervey Mason, Roy Rogan, Robert Roberts, Charles Tidd, Lance Whaley, Friend Wallace, Harry Wiley, William Howard Wilson.

Boy Scouts Admitted To Athletic Contests Of Local Colleges

Will Wear Uniforms And Assist In Policing During The Games
February 9, 1915

The Chamber of Commerce announces today that arrangements have been made with the athletic authorities of the two colleges here whereby all Boy Scouts will be admitted free of charge to all ball games and athletic contests held in the parks during the present year.

the announcement will cause great joy among the Scouts and will no doubt result in recruiting several new scouts.  Each scout, however, when he attends the game or contest will be required to wear his scout uniform and to carry his pole and to assist, if necessary, in policing the grounds and helping to keep the crowds back.

Secretary Kirkpatrick says that the Boy Scouts constitutes one of the most valuable organization in the city and that the Chamber of Commerce will, at all times, do everything in its power to promote the welfare of the scout organization and to encourage the boys in their work.

The athletic authorities of Howard Payne and Daniel Baker colleges, when approached on the subject of permitting ali Boy Scouts in uniform to attend the games free of charge heartily consented and expressed a willingness to help in any manner possible

The Chamber of Commerce has found occasion to use the Boy Scouts as special police and an information bureau during the last two Free Fall Fairs and found the boys, not only capable and efficient, but courteous and willing at all times and they add quite a feature to the businesslike appearance and attractiveness of the fair.

   Photo taken at Clear Creek Bridge - 1912 
For the third time in a row, in October 1915,  the Scouts served as volunteer police and information bureau at the Brownwood "Free Fall Fair."  They also represented "Soldier Boys" in the French Section of the Children's Parade during the Fair.

On October 29, 1915, the Troop went on a hike and overnight camp; at Blue hole on Willis Creek.  They arrived after dark, set up camp, built a fire, ate and sat around the fire "telling stories, cracked jokes, played tricks and sang national hymns."  Taps was at ten o'clock but as the Scoutmaster related there was a great deal of disturbance all night.  In fact, the next day, he told the troop that he would never take them on another campout!   Of course, we know he did. 

Those making the trip were Rev. John (Father John) Power, Maurice Hall, Fred (Sponduliks) Grady, Harry (Knoxy) Knox, Edward (E. B.) Grady, Gardener (Goggies) Thomas, Will (Beans) Johnson, Lance (Handsome) Whaley, Douglas (Dug) Duke, Harvey (Puck) Mason, Clifford (Scruples) McQueen, William (W. Z.) Clark, Winford (Imp) Owen, Humphrey (Dagoe) Churchill, Dee (Fatty) Ball, Herbert (Boliver Cag) Ferris, George (Sorreltop) Webster, Marion (Corpus) Moon.

Big "Free Fall Fair" Responsibility

By the fall of 1916 the Troop had gained a lot of respect in town.  The local school board gave all students Thursday and Friday off for the Free Fall Fair.  However, "the members of the troop of Boy Scouts will be dismissed Tuesday morning to remain out of school until the following Monday morning.  Scout and Patrol duty of the troop on each and every day of the Fair.  Special permission was given the members to be absent from school by the superintendent," according to the Brownwood Daily Bulletin on October 2, 1916. 

The Scouts will patrol the streets and maintain the Bureau in the corner of the Arcade building.  There were forty Scouts in the troop at the time.  They had planned on camping out at the Fair in tents for the week and expected to have the Brady, TX Scout troop come visit during the event. 

Story in Fort Worth Star-Telegram

October 17, 1916
Brownwood Rector Isn't a "Fighting Parson," but He Is Leader and Trainer of Efficent Boy Scout Trooops

Brownwood, Texas Oct. 17 - Rev. John Power, rector of St. Johns' Episcopal Church of this city, isn't exactly a "fighting preacher," but he's right on the jb when it comes to working the local Boy Scout into an efficient organization.

For several years Rev. Mr. Power, despite the fact that he is well past the prime of life, has devoted most of his spare time to training the scouts.  He has brought the organization up to a membership of forty alert wide-awake lads. 

Clad in khaki trousers and flannel shirt, he directed the boys as they patrolled the streets during the fair parade last week.  The kiddies did excellent work, too.  It was amusing to see a four-foot boy with an eight-foot staff turn back an encroaching automobile with a grave admonition to "please keep the street clear."

When Rev. Mr. Power is ot with his boys you wouldn't guess him to be a cleric unless perhaps you caught a glimpse of the tiny gold cross he wears as a watch fob.  He accompanies the scouts on long hikes and set a pace that keeps the best of them on their mettle.

Troop Planted June Corn in 1917

In the spring of 1917 the troop planted June corn and beans on some land owned by Brooke Smith on Center Ave.  The money earned from the produce was to be put in the treasury of the Scouts.  They were depending on rainfall for moisture as there was no water near the site of the garden. 

The Scout help with the Red Cross work in Brownwood in May and marched in a Patriotic Parade during World War I in April of 1917 and 1918.   In 1917, they had 1,200 citizens march in the parade.  Not bad for a little community of 10,000 people during World War I.

All information for this page was taken from the Daily Bulletin and the Brownwood Daily Bulletin from 1911 to 1918 and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 1916.  Last Updated:  May 2, 2009
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