Big Spring Troop 1
Mrs. Burney Reagan, a local Big Spring woman, inspired the formation of this troop. She had read in the Ladies Home Journal about William Boyce bringing to America this new movement for boys. Mrs. Reagan had two sons, Paul and Horace, and saw in Scouting the ideals she wanted for her boys. She convinced C. S. Holmes, an assistant postmaster, on the idea, and he became the first scoutmaster. Mrs. Reagan recalled that the nucleus for the troop was a Sunday afternoon Sunday school class Mr. Holmes conducted on the North Side of Big Spring.
Pictured on the left is Walton S. Morison and C. S. Holmes, founder, of Troop 1, Big Spring, Texas. The picture was taken at a scout camp on the Concho in 1930.
The first meeting place for Troop 1 was the Holmes' front yard. Soon after he took the scoutmastership, however, the scoutmaster lost his wife in a train wreck, and was left with two small daughters to raise. He soon returned to the boys as he seemed to find a release in his work with them. He was a mild mannered man in his 50's when he started working the troop. He seldom raised his voice, but could wither a rebellious boy with a look of compassion or disappointment. His inspirational talks at meetings or around the campfires were classic and legendary.
Mr. Holmes formed a North Side Patrol comprised of Mark Harwell, Adrian deGraffenreid, Harold Griffith, Marvin Hood, Paul Corcoran, Joe Wiesen, Harry Morris, and Olin Hull. The South Side Patrol included Paul Reagan, Harry Stokes, Harry Wheeldon, Yale Crawford, Leonard Fisher, Earl Comer, Leland Stone, Tom D. Gilluly, Daucee Kinard, Dewey Kinard, Lloyd Stamper, Norvell Conway, Olin Cannon, Durrah McNew, Carroll Barnett and a Bumgarten boy.
He operated out of the first Scout Handbook which appeared in June 1911, and thus used the patrol system. Within a decade the Wolf, Bull, Eagle, and Beaver patrols became legendary. When he retired from active participation in 1921, J. M. Manual, Y.M.C.A. secretary, took over and displayed a talent for developing leadership. It is significant that more scout leaders and volunteer workers came from the unit during his tenure than at any other period.
One of those who started under Mr. Holes but completed his ranks under Mr. Manual was Walloon S. Moron. It was he who deserves credit for keeping the registration continuous and the unit active. Fred Hopkins succeeded Mr. Manual, but he moved when the depression hit, leaving Moron to carry on, always as leader at summer camp, and in the early 30's as scoutmaster for five years.
Out of the unit have come many professional and business men such as J. J. (Jake) Pickle, 10th Texas District congressman, Joe Pickle, retired editor of the Big Spring Herald, Charles Sparenberg, former comptroller of the University of Texas, Thrust Orenbaum, district highway engineer, Jack B. Hedges, Scout Executive, Harry Wheedle, President of Shamrock; Jim Advise, president of Empire Southern and vice president of Shamrock Oil and Gas, former Mayor Lee Roger, Admiral John Quinine and Captain Robert Haley of the US. Navy, Coney Craig, former publisher of the Corpus Christi Caller Times, Drs. Cloyed Thomas and Thomas J. William son, physicians, Carol Baronet, Wilier Matthew's. Walloon S. Moron, George T. Thomas, attorneys, and H. W. Shitnery, retired city manager of Big Spring/
Through the years Troop 1 has stressed "outing" as the foremost program of Scouting. Boys threw their bedrolls and gear on a buckboard wagon, along with the chuck box, and trudged alongside until they arrived at the George McIntyre Ranch on the Concho River, 40 miles to the south. They spent 10 days to two weeks without outside contact. Britton Hull, father of one of the Scouts, served as assistant and camp cook. The boys camped on McIntyre's, then Johnson Ranch, Rawlings' Ranch, and Camp Connally near Carlsbad on the North Concho, Camp Fawcett on the Nueces, and the Scout Ranch in the Davis Mountains. The City Council of Big Spring also voted to construct a rustic hut for the boys that still stands in the Comanche Trail Park.
TSgt. James R. Smith, Jr., Scoutmaster of the troop from 1954 to 1958, relates when he would take the Scouts on camps at Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch in 1955 and 1957. The 1956 trip was for summer camp. The troop did conservation projects, but had to watch out for copperhead snakes. They took some day hikes and saw turkey, mule deer and other wildlife sightings during the week. And of course, they worked on merit badges while at camp.
In 1957, they had a winter camp from Christmas until New Years Day 1958. They passed through the main camp, after picking up their burros, and went up into the mountains to camp from Sunday to Sunday. They used army shelter halves to sleep under. He used an army poncho, air mattress and sleeping bag. On the trip, they had fog the whole time they were there. They cooked on an open fire for their meals. He remarked as to how quiet it was up in the hills, didn't hear or see anyone else, except for the Scouts!
Smith later served as Scoutmaster
for two other troops, in other states, during his twenty-five years as
a leader in Scouting. As a military man, he traveled all over the
world. He also earned his Eagle Rank as Scoutmaster of Troop 1, on
February 7, 1957, a year before he was shipped out to another base. In
addtion, he became a Brotherhood member of the Tatanka Lodge, Order of
the Arrow. Shown at left is Scout Jim Smith when he was a Boy Scout
The following list details
some of the men who served as Scoutmaster from the beginning until today.
Some of the records were destroyed by a flooded basement so there are gaps
in the records.
At one time, the troop boasted
having produced more Eagle Scouts than any other unit in the Buffalo Trail
Council, which it became a part of in 1928. Troop 1 had the first
four Eagle Scouts in Big Spring. They were Dr. Clyde Thomas, Jr.,
James Jarrel (Jake) Pickle, Dr. Thomas Joe Williamson, and Steve Ford,
Jr. Here is a list of the known Eagle Scouts in Troop 1:
Mr. Holmes and Mr. B. Reagan were among the area's earliest Silver Beaver award recipients. On August 24, 1961, former members from over an area of the county returned to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the troop's chartering. On November 24, 1997 former members returned once again to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the troop's chartering.
The following institutions
have sponsored the Scout Troop:
We want to thank David O'Neill for providing us the material and photo for this story on Troop 1 of Big Spring, TX. Also to former Scoutmaster James R. Smith, Jr. for his story on winter camps. Also thanks to Greg Hartman for updating us on the current Scoutmaster.
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