Comanche Trail Council

Final Week
Third Summer in "New" Camp Billy Gibbons

Boy Scouts Begin Final Week in 'New' Camp Billy Gibbons
Bulletin Staff Writer
July 9, 1949

CAMP BILLY GIBBONS , July 9 - Boy Scouts of the nine mid-Texas counties of the Comanche Trail Council are winding up the final week of the summer camping season at the "new" Camp Billy Gibbons in the western San Saba County.

Camp will end Friday with around 250 boys having enjoyed the facilities of the scenic, wilderness camp on the huge Gibbons Ranch during the past three weeks.

The 18th year for a camp at Camp Billy Gibbons, it is the third year at the camp's new site.

The new campsite, on Brady Creek, is five miles upstream from the area used from 1932 through 1946.

In 1946, following difficulties with the owner of the land on t which the original camp was located, the camp was move to a 100 acre site deeded to the council by Mr. and Mrs. John Gibbons.

(Pictured on the left is the new flagpole base at Camp Billy Gibbons that was dedicated to the late "Uncle Billy" Gibbons, San Saba county rancher.  Left to right, front row, is Bill Lynn, skipper of the Brownwood Sea Scout Ship, and Fred Allen, Evans, ship officer; back row, Burts Kennedy, Oran Newman, Jr., and Norman Fisher.)

The Scouts now have, in addition to the campsite proper, access to 53,000 acres of picturesque ranchland for hikes and other activities.

A staff of 10 is on duty during the entire camping season to handle administration, check on health and safety precautions, supervise activities and feed the Boy Scouts.

Q. N. Quirl of Brownwood, council executive, is in overall charge of the camp, spending most of this time there during the season.

Steve Potts of Eastland, council field executive, is camp director.Lee Tesson, Riceland Springs, is marksmanship and archery director, Charles Riggins of Stephenville is waterfront activities director and Cooper Robbins, Jr., of Breckenridge has charge of activities and is campfire director.

(Pictured at right is Thomas Lee Alston pulling an arrow from the cnter of a target on the archery range as Glenn Gober watches.  Both boys are members of Troop 34, Richland Springs.)

C. L. Burns, Brownwood school principal is in charge of the commissary, as he has been for many years, seeing that the Scouts get plenty to eat and a balanced diet.

Two professional cooks, Doc Pirtle and Wallace Harllee, and their helper, Bub Pirtle, all form Coleman, handle the cooking.  Burts Kennedy has charge of the canteen.

Headquarters for camp activities is the big native stone and concrete mess hall.  The building houses the kitchen, dining room, office, canteen and a small "hospital."

Butane gas is used for cooking and perishable food is stored in a big walk-in refrigerator.

The water supply, carefully tested, comes from a deep well atop a hill near the mess hall.  Tests are run on the water by the Brown County water Improvement District's filtration plant laboratory.

Health of the Scouts is closely watched by the permanent staff and by scoutmasters and other adult leaders.  The Scouts must have a physical examinations before they go to camp.  To be on the safe side, since several days may elapse between the examination and arrival at camp, they're given a re-check their first day at camp.

Re-checks this year were given by Dr. James Spalding of Brownwood for the first week and by Dr. R. C. Felts of San Saba for the final two weeks.

Rifle marksmanship is conducted under the strict rules of the National Rifle Association and rifles are allowed only at the range, which is under careful supervision.  The range is located from the rest of the area, with a high bluff providing a backstop for the targets.

Guards holding Red Cross lifesaving certificates are on duty at both swimming holes and the buddy system, under which swimmers are paired and keep a constant check on each other, is rigidly enforced during swimming sessions.

(Pictured at right areCharles Riggins of Stephenville, waterfront director, watches as two Stephenville Scouts, David Cunyus, left and Jerry Flowers, check in tags on the buddyboard.)

The day begins at Camp Billy Gibbons with first call at 6:20 a.m. breakfast is at 7, lunch at noon and supper at 6.  Lights out is at 9:20 p.m. and "Taps" is sounded at 9:30.

Between first call and "Taps" there are many activities - marksmanship, swimming, life-saving instruction, Indian lore sessions, handicraft periods, firs aid lessons, fishing, archery, merit badge and other advancement work, hikes, cleaning camp areas, stunts, council fires, retreat ceremonies, etc.

The Scouts camp by troops, sleeping under tents in areas selected by individual troops.  They show considerable ingenuity in improving their campsites, building elaborate walkways and gates.

Council ring, campfire and stunt night activities are centered at a natural amphitheater at a bluff just over the hill from the headquarters area.

The bottom of the canyon forms a natural auditorium, with terraced float rocks for seats.  A grassy plateau on the opposite side of the bluff provides a stage.

(Pictured on the left, left to right, are Don Anderson, Doug King, Johnny Colling, Jr., Jimmy Spalding and Dan Amis, all members of Explorer Post 48 of Eastland.  And on the extreme right is Cooper Robbins, Jr., of Breckenridge, director of the camp's activities program.)

Here, too, is held the colorful ceremony at which specially selected scouts are informed of their acceptance into the secret Order of the Arrow.

Scout troops, using Camp Billy Gibbons are those from troops in Stephens, Eastland, Brown, Comanche, Erath, Throckmorton, Mills, Lampasas and San Saba counties.



READY FOR SUPPER - Part of the Bangs Troop No. 27, all spruced up and waiting for chow call at Camp Billy Gibbons, is pictured here in the troop area.  Left ot right arre Charles Sparks, Pete Owens, James Lewis Segrest (seated) Charles McDonald, Scoutmster Excell Segrest, Doyle Graham and seated, wayne Lewis and James Smith.

We thank Dabney Kennedy for sending this article from the Brownwood Bulletin to us.

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