In the Spring of 1928 there became a need in the Concho Valley Council to organize the older Scouts into a group of their own in order to keep them active.  Many of the older Scouts were dropping out because they were in high school and didn't have much in common with the little Scouts in the various troops. Brice Draper came up with the idea of organizing a group called the "Knights of Zocah."


A boy must have been at least a Star Scout and not under 15 years of age to be in the Zocahs.  They had at least three degrees they could earn, the First Degree, Second Degree and Third Degree.

On March 8, 1928, B. W. Draper called five older Scouts, Harold Albert, Harrison Crotty, Jake Wardlaw, Dwight Hunter, Jr., and Harry Logan, to his office to plan the organization of the junior service club.  Among the first initiates were Ford Boulware, Luther Coulter, Fred Nibling, Ralph Logan, Willard Crotty, Marshal Borders, Bomar Horton and Charles Harris.

Here is the story of the initiation of three of those new members as told by Dwight Hunter, Jr. in the April 1, 1928, "SCOUT NEWS" section of the SAN ANGELO STANDARD-TIMES.  The story was printed thus:

"Whoope!  The Honorable Knights of Zocah started the initiation of three new members into our club.  They were Clovis Rogers, Ford Boulware, and Jerry Nibling.  Little Clovis had to dress up as an Indian and ride a stick horse and yell in every store in town.  At one store he ran into Joe Manning, who, thinking that Clovis was a little off, started to take him in till he saw his alligator ears.

"Bolivar (Ford) was dressed up as a cute little innocent girl in a pink dress, big balloon and sucker, and leading a red wagon with a big doll.  The town is still laughing.

"Jerry was also a girl and had a big pink ribbon on his head and carried a lantern and looked under all the cars.  It was the rule that he should not stop until he was asked by twenty people what he was doing.  He had not come in 3 hours later.

"We wish to announce that any Star Scout fifteen years old is eligible to join.  See any member and get an application.  Let me tell you we have a club and any guy that doesn't get in is sure lost.  Be one of the first in and get to help initiate the others.  Let's go Zocah's - Dwight Hunter."

On April 23, 1928 reporter Dwight Hunter, Jr., reported that the first degree of the Honorable Knights of Zocah was given to four Boy Scouts.

"Fred Nibling was dressed as a preacher with a stiff collar and a black high vest.  Bomar Horton was the 'flower girl' dressed up in a large flour sack and he dance around the wedding ceremony, throwing flour.  Robert Hodges was dressed as the bridegroom with a swallow-tail coat and Bill Shufford was the beautiful blushing bride.  The ceremony was held at every intersection of Chadbourne and was also given for the Camp Fire Girls.  The wedding was quite a success.  "Every applicant of the marvelous club is a sap before he becomes a real member.  All of the saps were notified to be at home in their pajamas at nine thirty and were given no reason.  After they were all collected they were drilled on a little vaudeville entertainment.  They were taken to two parties where they were marched in and almost forced to give the stunt."

On May 6, 1928, it was reported that the regular monthly banquet of the Knights of Zocah will be held Monday evening at 7:30.  All Knights and saps were requested to be present on time.  The Knights of Zocah were to put on the Kiwanis club program Tuesday noon.  Life Saving and first aid were to be the subjects.

When the Scout Village was built, a four room tenant house was remodeled for a club room for the Zocahs. On October 26, 1930, Bill Wright was appointed as the new Sponsor of the group. On January 7, 1929 it was reported that the Zocahs had many social activities. These included a Valentine party complete with dancing, bridge, black jack, checkers, dominoes and fool games.

Monthly banquets were planned in 1929 for the first Saturday of each month in addition to their regular meeting nights.  By then the Zocah Lodge was furnished and  finished in the Scout Village.  During the summer the Zocahs acted as junior assistants at summer camp and helped put the camp over.

They had two house parties planned in 1929, one at the Utilities Club in March and a second at Jake Wardlaw's ranch in May.  During Scout Week, February 8, 1931 a story in the paper reported that  twenty-five Boy Scouts over 15 years of age were members of the Knights of  Zocah, honorary Scout organization which was active in promoting the Scout  movement.  Willard Crotty was president, Charles Harris, vice-president, Sam Scheuber, secretary, and John Logan, treasurer.


Twenty-five Zocahs traveled 6,129 miles through the western part of the United States, in 1932, to attend the World Olympic Games in Los Angeles.  The trip was planned during 1931 and in the early part of 1932 they spent much of their time perfecting the details of the trip that would allow them to see the western United States and the Olympic Games for an average of $52 per person.

Ready to drive to OlympicsThey were able to get five people to take their cars, Brice Draper, Bob Brown, Ed Keyes, Edwin Sawyer, and Doyle Maddux.  Each car pulled a two-wheel trailer so that they could carry everything they needed such as bedding, tents, Vicrolas, baggage, etc.  The trailer that rode behind Doyle Maddux's Plymouth carried the kitchen equipment.  Maddux built a chuck box on the back of the trailer and a  refrigeration box on the front.  They took two Coleman gas camp stoves, a ten gallon cream can to carry water in, and a two gallon milk can to carry milk in.  They also had a two gallon ice cream freezer, which was used quite a lot according to Doyle Maddux.  They borrowed cooking utensils from the kitchen at Camp Louis Farr.  Izzac Walker, who had been a cook at Camp Louis Farr, went along as chef and rode with Doyle.


They all gathered together, with their gear, at the Boy Scout Village in San Angelo on July 24th and checked everything out.  The next day, July 25th they left on this great trip.  Their first night would be in Balmohrea where they arrived after dark, pitched their tents on the side of the road and hit the hay.  They then traveled by way of Van Horn and El Paso and through Las Cruzes on to the Grand Canyon.
Back Row, Standing L to R: Brice W. Draper, former Scout Executive, Edd B. Keyes, Robert Brown, George Delker, Fred M. Nibling, C. O. Charles Harris, Jack Lewis, Doyle C. Maddux, Izzac Walker.
Middle Row, L to R: Harry C. Logan, Roy Vance, Williard Crotty, Luther Coulter, Allen Hood, Edwin Sawyer, George "Red" Shelton, Aldwell Nesbit
Front Row, seated, L to R:  Sam Scheuber, Choice Borders, Harvey Hartgrove, Ledyard Harris, Lea Roy Aldwell, J. M. Borwn, Dick Stengle, J. M. "Marshall" Borders


They hiked down into the Canyon the next morning which was some 5,00 feet lower than the rim where they begin.  Upon arriving at the bottom, they took off their clothes and got down into the water and cooled off.  Being as they took no water of food with them, the trip back up to the top was much slower.  Doyle stated that he had blisters on both feet.

About a third of the way back up they passed a mule train going down.  This did  not help, but it gave them the thought that when they returned, they might bum a ride.  They continued to trudge along slowly and sure enough, late in the day, the mule train returned.  They could not get on and ride double as they had hoped, but some of the boys were able to hold onto the mule tails and finish the hike out of the Canyon.

There were two boys who were so exhausted that they could not walk.  Four of the other Scouts made pack saddles and began to carry them along.  When the boys who were hanging onto the mule tails got back to camp, and told of the trouble, the rest of the men and boys came to help and it was 9:00 that evening before all of them got back to camp.

Doyle said, "It is needless to say that some of us saw a beautiful sunrise in the Grand Canyon and not so beautiful sun set in the Canyon."


From there they went on to Los Angeles by way of Needles and San BernadinoValley.  While at the Olympic Games, they camped in the Boy Scout Reservation in Elysian Park, which had been set up by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America for the many groups that came to see the Olympics.  The park had restrooms with showers, a place to camp and screened-in kitchen buildings that had gas cook plates and kitchen  sinks with hot water.  Everything was furnished free so their costs while in Los Angeles was very inexpensive.  While there, they took trips to Catalina Island, San Diego and the Navy Fleet, Long Beach and other sights in the area.


Following the Olymics, they motored up the coast to San Francisco for two days of seeing the museums, aquarium and parks.  They then turned east, spending part of a day in Reno and Lake Tahoe.  Then they went on to Salt Lake City, Denver, Colorado Springs, Manitou, and Pikes Peak.  Part of the group took a 3-day side trip to Yellowstone Park, while the rest of the Scouts toured Salt Lake City.

Finally, the group returned to San Angelo by way of Amarillo, tired and worn out after having been on  the road for six weeks.


They did have car trouble off and on during the trip, for, in those days, the only paved streets were located in the cities.  The roads between towns were still, for the most part, dirt roads, which were tough on an automobile.  Doyle reported that, in addition to flat tires, they experienced everything from losing a piston, to a broken rear axle, to a  radiator leak, to a broken trailer hitch.  As for the rain, the only shower they had  was when they went over Raton Pass.  Doyle's car was a Roadster, with a jump seat in the back.  Izzac Walters and one of the Scouts road in this open seat.  When it rained, the Scout got in the front and Izzac, as big as he was, crawled down and pulled the lid shut!  After the rain, they opened the back and let him out.


Edwin Sawyer of Sonora was elected by the troop to receive the award for being the best all-around camper.  Sawyer, along with LeRoy Aldwell, also took 16mm movies of the trip and the Concho Valley Council has a copy of this trip on video tape.


Those making the trip were:  Luther Coulter, George Delker, Charles Harris, Fred Nibling, Willard Crotty, J. M. Brown, George Shelton, Marshall Borders, Harry Logan, A. W. Brown, Ledyard Harris, Harvey Hartgove, Roy Vance, Sam Scheuber, Toots Borders, Ed Keyes, Jack Lewis, Allen Hood, Edwin Sawyer, LeRoy Aldwell, Aldwell Nisbet, Dick Stengel, R. F. Brown, B. W. Draper, Doyle Maddux and Issac Walker.

They saw several automobile accidents while on the trip but were not involved in any of them.  Their pictures appeared in most of the daily papers of the cities they  visited and they were mentioned on the National Broadcasting Company's coast-to-coast hook-up with the Coon Sanders Band of Denver.


The Scouts celebrated their return from this trip in typical Zocah fashion by having a dinner party in the Hilton Hotel for their parents and a dance for their friends.  That evening they showed the movie they had made of the trip.


Each year the Zocahs entertained with a house party at Camp Louis Farr.  On August 25, 1935, they had a three-day party at the camp, featuring tournaments, bridge, ping pong, swimming, and an informal dance.  Members of the Zocahs who attended the party included Mark Nasworthy, Sam Scheuber, Vaughan Miller, Jr., Marshall Borders, Harry Logan, Charles Gibbs, Richard Drake, Fred Nibling, Choice Borders, Harry Benson, Bill Tucker, Charles Harris, and Lawrence Harris, Jr.

In addition to house parties, we found stories in the paper where the Zocahs would sponsor tennis tournaments, kite contests, and other sporting events as well as dances and parties.  By the end of 1937, having passed their 10th year with colors flying high, the Zocahs now had nineteen members, with Bill Johnston as President.  By now they were composed mostly of students of Junior College, Juniors and Seniors in High School.  They were meeting each Monday night at city hall.

In 1940, the group took a very active role in athletics.  Teams were entered in the major city athletic leagues, and they won the second half city baseball trophy.  The group had also taken well organized trips to San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi, and Kerrville in past years.  Eventually other chapters were organized in Beaumont, Brady, Bronte, Eldorado, McCamey, Midland, Sherman, and in Austin at the University of Texas.

All members of the Zocahs we interviewed agreed that the Zocahs were a social club designed to keep the older Scouts active and helping out at special events and summer camp.  The club served its purpose well and was the forerunner of the Explorer program being organized in the Council.  The Zocahs were still active in the mid 40's. The officers of the Zocahs for 1940 were H. C. Jones, President; Bill Humlong, Vice-President; Ralph Chase, Secretary; Norman Elrod, Treasurer; and Walter Ray, Sentry.

Information for this story taken from "Panjandrum A History of Scouting in the Concho Valley Council 1911-1941, 1990, by Frank T. Hilton

Last Updated:  January 10, 2003
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