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About forrest747

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    high school math teacher
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    Currently finishing up the 2nd edition of the "General History: Boy Scout Troop 11, Houston, TX 1920-2020." Troop 11 is Houston's oldest continuously chartered Boy Scout Troop. Houston's first Troop 11 began in 1914 and produced Houston's first Eagle Scout but is thought to have died out in 1918 due to the Spanish flu. Much research so have lots of info on Houston's early scouting program: 1910s-1920s.
  • Biography
    Houston Boy Scout Troop 11, 1973-1980.
    ASM Troop 11, 1986-1990.
    Aquatics Staff, El Rancho Cima summer camp, 1977, 1978, 1980.

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  1. ... or just in Houston, TX. My research has touched on Houston's early scout troops. Many had nicknames: Troop 2, "the Black Cats"; Troop 4, "the Eastwood Texas Rangers"; Troop 5 "the Bob White Troop"; Troop 8, "the Sharks"; Troop 10, "the Sycamores"; Troop 16, "Houston's Pride'; Troop 20, "the Indians'; Troop 24, "the Pirates". The nicknames sort of made sense. Troop 16 won the early Field Days. Troop 8 won the swim meets. Troop 24 was affiliated with a Sea Scout Ship, "the Jolly Roger." OK, fine. But there was a practical reason for the nicknames because it took a Very Long Time for a troop to be assigned a number. Since the troop had no number, they used a nickname instead. Use of nicknames solved a very real problem for Houston's early scout troops. Question: For 1910s scout troops, were Troop nicknames common across the USA, or are early troop nicknames unique to Houston, TX? (Yes, I know that many troops today have nicknames.)
  2. Skeptic, My experience is very different. My best sources were the newspapers. Houston's COH newspaper articles give a complete listing of earned merit badges and scout ranks (two attached). For Houston scout meetings, the troop scribes wrote up each week's meeting to be printed in the paper (one attached). Very cool to know exactly what happened at my troop's meetings from 1914 to 1924. Never asked my local council for anything because they donated 45 linear feet of historical records to the Public Library Archives. Most helpful were the Eagle scout records and the Annual Reports. Council records were not especially accurate. Council records state that Peg Melton became Houston's first Eagle scout in 1916; newspapers report that he earned his Eagle in 1918. Council records report a particularly gruesome 1922 summer camp drowning; newspapers report this happened in 1925 -- for an entirely different scout. For council records, trust but verify. George E. Kepple owned the newspaper and helped bring boy scouting to Houston. No wonder that Houston newspapers wrote so much about the boy scouts. Everyone knows the country's population was moving from rural to city, and boys with "nothing to do" were a problem. Rather than stand around to play mumblety-peg, the boy scouts gave boys a constructive outlet through service, do a good turn daily, respect for the flag, sell Liberty Bonds, remind people to vote, install Houston's first street signs, march in parades, etc. Scouting activities in Houston got a lot of newspaper coverage because scouting kept boys out of trouble and helped serve the community. Sounds like you are in a more rural area, where the newspapers did not give as much coverage to boy scout activities. Many early newspapers have been digitized and can be searched online. On occasion, I have found what I needed online by widening my search to include newspapers of nearby towns. For the 1925 drowning referenced above, the online Houston newspaper archive ended at 1924, while the nearby town newspaper included 1925 and they ran the same story. Do not limit yourself to newspapers. Public libraries, and libraries at colleges and universities have collections that include "boy scout" items. Search for "boy scouts," you'll get a lot of hits.
  3. From the Troop 11 History, Houston, Texas (1990), sponsored by First Presbyterian Church. "OSCAR HIBLER BECOMES SCOUTMASTER The troop committee recruited church member Oscar Hibler to become scoutmaster in January 1949. Mr. Hibler had been ASM of Troop 16 at Sutton School. Troop 11 had been without a scoutmaster for three months. When Mr. Hibler took over, Troop 11 had fifteen active scouts and two active visitors. As Mr. Hibler recalls, the boys refused to wear uniforms and only wanted to play. His strong emphasis on scouting principles caused many to leave. Recruitment became a priority. Recruiting from within the church, Mr. Hibler increased enrollment to 32 members (4 patrols). Mr. Hibler is still grateful to the national scout office for lowering the enrollment age to 11. This really helped his recruitment efforts! At first, the boys thought cooking to be too much work and brought junk food on camp-outs. Mr. Hibler soon decided that each scout could bring along only six soft drinks per camp-out. To test this new rule, young Robert Blaine brought along six quart bottles, not exactly what Mr. Hibler had intended." The age limit changed in 1949.
  4. No History Committee nor a council historian. Minor Huffman's 1985 history is the only published book. SHAC does not know what to do with the unsold copies of Minor Huffman's "Sam Houston Scouts." I am told the extra copies sit in a closet somewhere. I am surprised the SHAC History is not available in the Scout Store, which is right there in the SHAC Service Center, about 40 yards from that closet. Nelson Block is a Houston scouter. For the last thirty years, Nelson has published the Journal of Scouting History, but that is for all scouting topics: local, national and world scouting.
  5. Coming late to the party, but I will add the Scouting Histories that I know of. 1) http://www.westtexasscoutinghistory.net/ Original focus was on West Texas, but it has grown to include early scout troops from all over Texas. Very good site, especially for those interested in "which Texas scout troop is the oldest...." Lots of photos. 2) Jack Linn, "Sam Houston Area Council History," 1964, unpublished typewritten manuscript. Texas Metropolitan Research Center (TMRC), Special Collection RGF-7. The TMRC is also known as the Houston Public Library Archives. Chapter called "In the Beginning" describes Houston's early scout troops, especially when each began. Minor Huffman's SHAC History "Sam Houston Scouts" borrowed generously from Jack Linn's. Linn relied on folks' memories, so not all of his information is accurate.
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