|Information for this page was taken from a book titled "A History of
Alpine Boy Scout Troop 41," concept by Charles E. Wade. Included
in the book was information on other troops organized in the area.
Troop 1 was organized in March, 1922, in Alpine, Texas. This was the first troop organized in Alpine. Although the book does not say so, we feel that Troop 1 was the forerunner of Troop 41. This is based on the fact that when the troop joined the El Paso Area Council, the Council already had a Troop 1, so when a new charter was issued the number 4 was added beside the 1 to distinguish it from the troop in El Paso.
Troop 41 was formed in 1924 and was chartered to the First United Methodist Church in Alpine. Troop 41 was honored by the Buffalo Trail Council on February 23, 1995, as the oldest Troop in the council with 71 continuous years of chartered service. Scoutmaster Charles E. Smith accepted the plaque in behalf of the Troop. Accompanying Smith were Charles E. Wade and Genebra Smith. Council President Steve Castle presented the award (pictured on right). The troop, in 1924, was in the El Paso Area Council. In 1936, Troop 41, along with all of Brewster, Jeff Davis, and Presidio counties, was transferred to the Buffalo Trail Council. The transfer of territories did not affect any Troop's tenure of chartered service.
The Organization of Troop 1
Note: The following account of Troop 1 and 41 was written by Charles E. Wade for an 8th Grade (Freshman) High School writing assignment during the 1926-27 School Year.
Let us turn the hands of time back to March of nineteen hundred and twenty-two; back to the days when Sul Ross was first opening its doors for its second spring term. There came a young red-headed professor to teach at Sul Ross by the name of Mr. Stigler. This fine young professor was then destined to start the first Boy Scout Troop in the Big Bend country. This lone Troop in a few years would send fear to the hearts of many a Troop.
In March of nineteen hundred and twenty-two, Troop One received its first charter as a Boy Scout Troop of America. (According to the Vigil Call-Out Ceremony for Charles Eddey Wade at the Tatanka Lodge, 141 OA Banquet on December 17, 1994, the troop was charted to Sul Ross Normal College). At first there were very few boys whom Mr. Stigler could get to join the Troop. The Troop started off with sixteen boys and at first they had a very hard time. All the other boys in town called them "sissies," "babies," or something worse.
After a couple of months, things changed. The boys had a little taste of Scouting and two or three over-night hikes out to the mountains. The boys now found Scouting to be a man-sized job to live up to the Scout Laws and Oath. The mere memorizing of the Oath and Laws and other Tenderfoot requirements were not all. They found they must practice them at school, at home, and on the hikes. At this point, the Troop lost five of its first members, but gained two new ones. Through the loss of members and the boys' hard work, they gained for themselves a real substantial name of honor.
After the Troop had been organized for about six months, Sul Ross gave them permission to use the boys' gymnasium for a meeting room. Here the boys began to learn the first ideas of first aid, especially the bandage work. After meetings, the boys were allowed to play on the mats, and use the boxing gloves and other gymnasium equipment.
As for regular Scout meeting programs during the first year, the Troop did not follow the lines of Scouting as Mr. Stigler did not know enough about the work, and there were no Scout Magazines published then carrying helps for the meetings. The following year saw great steps in the Scout work in Alpine. Mr. Tom Gibbs, Sul Ross' first athletic coach. a young fellow with a B. S. degree, took over the Troop. His first step was to get a Troop Court of Honor. This brought up the rating of the Troop and gave the boys a chance to pass merit badges.
Because of the opportunity, many of the boys were able to advance greatly in Scouting. Nace Clifford and Thomas Skevington advanced almost to the rank of Eagle. Many of the other fellows received as many as five merit badges.
By this time, the Troop's membership numbered some twenty-five boys, many of whom were those who had poked fun at the first group of Scouts. They were now willing to get down and work hard to be a real Scout, and not just a boy wearing a Scout uniform.
The First Summer Camp
To make plans for the first summer camp was a difficult job. Mr. Tom Gibbs' first suggestion was to go to Fort Stockton Lake so that the boys could swim, fish, and ride in the motor boats. This suggestion brought forth a storm of objections. The parents of most of the boys thought up hundreds of things that might happen to their sons. One mother even went so far as to take her son out of the Scout Troop altogether, and with this the last hope of fishing and boating were a thing of the past.
The next place which he thought of that would be of interest was the Prude Ranch at Fort Davis. This place met the approval of most of the boys and their parents, but for some reason, the Troop could not get permission to camp on the ranch. It now became the duty of the members to select a place for the summer camp. The finally decided to go to Grand Canyon of the Rio Grande. Out of thirty-two boys, only fourteen were allowed to make the trip. Mr. Gibbs brought a storm of complaints upon himself from a lot of the parents for planning on taking so many boys out and keeping them away for so long a time.
On May 30, the Troop planned to leave, and on that day everybody met
at Mr. Gibbs' rooming house at five-thirty in the morning. Everything was
ready and all the boys were in the truck when Mr. Livingston, who was going
to the river to fish and show Mr. Gibbs the way, ran his car into the back
of the truck and broke his radiator. Everyone had to pile out and wait
Mr. Livingston got his car fixed, and we started off at ten o'clock.
All went well until we got to Big Hill where everyone had to get out and
push the truck up the hill. This was only one of the troubles during the
day, for every time we came to a hill of any kind, everybody had to get
out and push, often having to let the truck cool-off before going on. This
went on all day, and about nine o'clock that night, they stopped at Sublett's
Store. Mr. Sublett told them they had missed the road to the canyon about
five miles back up the road. Sublett also told them they could stay at
The next morning, everyone was up early, and most of the boys hiked over to the Canyon, which was about five miles away, while the truck had to travel about twenty miles. The boys arrived at the Canyon before the truck. A young fellow by the name of Charles Wade, a "tenderfoot" who was almost afraid to do anything out by himself, soon learned to be a good Scout. This young kid was only twelve and was not liked very well by most of the boys, but the hike helped him to make friends out of all of them.
The seven days of the hike went off with great success; no one got hurt. The only thing that happened of interest was that one of the boys slid down the side of the mountain and tore the seat out of his only pair of pants. Luckily for him, one of his buddies happened to have two pairs of pants. All of the boys enjoyed swimming in the river and trying to catch some fish. Only one fish was caught, but everyone had a good taste of it anyway.
The boys came back by Lajitas and Marfa, with very little trouble except for having to push the truck up several hills. Everyone said that they had enjoyed this trip more than any they had ever taken before.
Scout Troops Organized in the Big Bend Area
The first place that the Alpine Troop leaders thought to establish a new Boy Scout Troop was at Fort Davis. The plans for establishing a Troop at Fort Davis were a big problem. The first thing of importance was a Scoutmaster, and there was no one whom we could find that had enough time, or would take the trouble to start a Scout Troop and work with the boys. But after some time, we finally found an ambitious young man of high ideals, a school teacher, who was willing to establish himself as a leader of a Scout Troop at Fort Davis. This young man was Johnnie Prude, whom any mother would be willing for her boy to follow.
With the Scoutmaster's part settled, the date was set when the Alpine
Troop was to go over to Fort Davis and help organize the new Troop. On
one fine Saturday afternoon during the latter part of February in 1925,
the entire Troop of twenty-five boys loaded into one of Mr. Davidson's
trucks and started out for Fort Davis. Mr. Prude and some twenty-five boys
met us when we arrived at the courthouse lawn about four o'clock.
After supper, Mr. Connell, who was then the Alpine Scoutmaster, started the program off by giving two Scout yells. Then he gave Mr. Prude the Scoutmaster investiture service which is a short summary of the Scout work and what it should do for a boy. Then Mr. Prude picked three boys from his group. These three boys were about the friendliest young fellows I have ever met. The three young Scouts-to-be were placed about then feet apart, and Mr. Connell said to the rest of the boys, "Fellows, you may now pick out one of these boys whom you would like to follow as a patrol leader and go to him."
The boys, sitting on the ground around the fire, arose and formed around the three boys very quietly in about equal groups. They were then seated in their groups and allowed to elect a Patrol Leader and an Assistant Patrol Leader for each group. After his was over, each Patrol was given a handbook so they could select a name for their Patrol. At this time each of the Patrols of the Alpine Troop gave its name and its call. One of the Fort Davis Patrols took the name of the "Flying Eagles" which has about the most beautiful symbol and colors of any in Scouting. After this, the other officers were elected and the meeting was then turned over to the Alpine boys.
The first thing the Alpine Troop did was to give, in play form, the regular order of a Scout meeting for taking in a new member. The regular questions on the Tenderfoot examination were asked, and also the Troop initiation was enacted. For games during the Scout meeting, several tricks such as "red eye," "mop the puddle," and others were played on the Fort Davis boys. The meeting was then closed with the "Scout Oath to the Fire."
Scout Oath to the Fire
Glad are the Scouts when summer is here,
And then at night beneath the camp fire's ray,
Just a group of Boy Scouts 'round the campfire's blaze.
After the closing rite, we then roasted marshmallows and apples over the coals of the Council fire. We also made plans to have a joint meeting the next week -end at Marfa and organize a Troop at that place. About ten o'clock, we bid our new Scout friends good-by and started home, which proved to be a very cold ride.
The following Saturday, we met the Fort Davis boys in Marfa with Rev. M.A. Buhler of the First Christian Church and some thirty boys. We then went out to Mr. Brite's ranch some fifteen miles from Marla where the Marla boys organized a new Scout Troop. After the organization was completed, we spent a very pleasant week-end fishing and swimming.
Taken from the Alpine Avalanche.
Scout Troop Organized
Fort Davis-A Troop of Boy Scouts has been organized here by John Prude,
Henry Gray, and Tyrrel Smith, who were named as a committee by the Sunday
school, which is sponsoring the organization. Mr. Prude is the Scoutmaster.
Troop Become Part of El Paso Council
A certain dislike by the people of Alpine for El Paso played a large part in keeping the Brewster County Troops out of the El Paso Area for some time. The mere becoming a member Troop of the largest area of Scout Troops in the United States was not all. First, there were the problems of money; second, local Scout Executive; and third, the training courses for Scout leaders.
The necessary amount of money was raised to get Mr. J.P. Mestrezat, the chief field executive of El Paso to come to Alpine and arrange things so as to admit Brewster County into the El Paso Scout Council. The organization work consisted of organizing a Court of Honor for use in the entire county. This called for an examining committee of three men to see that all Scouts were qualified for the badges they were to receive. This consisted also in giving proper training to Scouts who wished to receive advanced tests. There had to be a camp director to make at least one overnight hike each month, also to see that the proper official was present on the hike. To the camp director fell the lot of seeing that each Troop had a well equipped first aid box and that it was always full. The program directors place was to see that each Troop in the county made out a monthly program of the meetings and hikes and that this program was mailed to the El Paso Office on or before the fifth of each month. Also, he was to see that some of the Troop committee members met with the Troop once each month. The members for these positions were not as hard to find as for the local Scout Executive, which place was finally filled by Mr. A.F. Robinson. The executive must see that the Court of Honor members functioned in harmony and had regular weekly meetings and reports which were sent to the El Paso office each month. Also, the executive saw to it that each Scoutmaster received his training course each month and that proper aid was obtained from the El Paso office if needed. The executive was also to make at least one visit to each Troop each month and report the same to the El Paso office.
The training courses for Scout leaders brought forth a storm of protest until the chief executive told the Scout leaders that the courses did not cost any money-just a little spare time and postage.
After everything had been settled as to the work of members of the Court of Honor, arrangements were made to pay a certain sum of money due the Scout office for the service rendered by the Scout Executive in his regular quarterly visits to Brewster County.
The entire group of Scouts and Scout leaders were treated to a banquet by the Rotary Club. This banquet was enjoyed very much and gave the Scouts greater encouragement. They felt that someone else besides their Troop leaders were back of them.
With this start and at this time, the Scout Troop settled down to work harder in order to raise their rating within the El Paso Area to a winning Troop that they would be proud to belong to.
Two-Year Pendant Troop
After everything had been arranged and all necessary work settled, new charters were issued to the Troops of Brewster County. The Brewster County Troops at this time set out to show the Area Council what they could do.
Troop 48 made an excellent start, leaving Troop 41 behind for some time. Then abruptly, Troop 48 dropped down until they were completely out. Troop 41 was slower getting started, but held its pace as it went along.
The overnight hikes, the Troop good turns, and individual advancement grew steadily. By the end of the first six months, Troop 41 had pushed itself up to fifth place among the one hundred active Troops in the El Paso Area Council.
At this time, a visit from the chief executive proved very valuable, because he gave information on several important points upon which the Troop was not getting credit. Some of these were the regular Troop committee meetings, subscription to "Boys' Life" magazine, and troop leaders training course.
At this time, there was a change in the membership of the Troop. It lost five of its members, who were not members who would build up the Troop for a better one. They had done their Scouting and were not interested in the advanced work of the Scouts.
The Troop now had twelve members, who were interested in the Troop and were willing to sacrifice some of their time to help build it up. At the end of the next three months, the Troop had lost fifth place since Troops from Las Cruces and Mesilla Park. New Mexico, had earned many more credits. These Troops were not destined to hold these places. With every member of Troop 41 doing his bit, and a Scoutmaster and assistant working all in in unison, this Troop even became a competitor for first place. When the end of the year came and the scores were all tallied, Troop 41 was third.
With this first year's gain, the Troop set its goal for first place, which was accomplished before the end of the second year. The grading was changed and made it even harder for the Troop to make points. but with a good Scoutmaster, the work went on perfectly. All during the second year, except for one month, Troop 41 led the El Paso Council, winning in the end by forty-four points. This made the second year for Troop 41 to win a pendant, and it is the only Troop outside of El Paso to win two pendants in succession.
The Troop now has sixteen members and is in good form, doing excellent work, and holding second place in the council.
First Charter Issued to Troop
Scoutmaster: Forrest A. Roberson 1924-1927
We want to thank David O'Neill, Field Director of the Buffalo Trail Council, for sending this to us. He ran across the book while going through some donations for their council museum in 2008.