Boxwell Greats: Claus “Dutch” Mann
Given his segment on “Tennessee Crossroads” this week, it seemed like an appropriate time to visit the long distinguished career of Claus “Dutch” Mann. While many may not be aware of it, Mann has a long, distinguished career at Boxwell.
A native of New York born in the 1920s, Mann had already had a full life by the time he came to Boxwell. He had been involved in Scouting as youth, enlisted to fight in the Second World War as a paratrooper where he saw action in Italy, and went on to enter education where was eventually a school principal. But it was at Camp Stahlman in 1964, where he joined our story. As he explained in an interview, “Yeah, 1964 they asked me to go ahead and take over the range because they found out that I had been Post Range Officer before I retired at Fort Campbell, so I knew a little bit about running ranges.”
For the rest of the decade, Mann remained the Range officer at Camp Stahlman’s rifle range. In 1971, Mann became part of the cohort at Stahlman that ran the new “Commissioner” system. Along Jerry Barnett, Kerry Parker and Tom somebody (no one seems to remember!), Mann’s Commissioner staff wore white socks–part of the way the different staffs distinguished themselves. There is also a story from the period about how Barnett, Parker, and Mann took an old Army staff from the Compound (Army gifts to the BSA was a regular occurrence then), dressed up as Generals, and held an inspection! And in 1971, that Dutch created the Gizmo, a tradition still with Boxwell today!
Mann continued on staff for the next several years. He was there for the Great Staff Strike in 1976 and spent most of the decade as Field Sports Director. At some point during the 1970s (we don’t have a good record on when), Mann moved to Parnell staff. He came back to Stahlman briefly in 1980 as Activity Yard Director, but returned to Craig as Field Sports Director following. He was also part of the group that organized and ran the first staff Reunion in 1983.
For more “modern” staff members, it was in 1986 when Mann took over as Handicraft Director. For the next ten years (on and off), Mann served as the Handicraft Director in 1986. It was during this period that Mann carved plaques for the Directors at Parnell/Craig. These continue to be one of the most treasured items of former Staff members.
Mann’s carvings are what most people today remember him for. In addition to the plaques, Mann spent part of the summer of 1992 carving a totem pole for Parnell (pictured below). Indeed, he was responsible for the plaques carved for the 2014 Staff Reunion!
After leaving Boxwell in 1996, Mann spent his retirement looking for new things to do. He eventually began working at the winery in the Tennessee Crossroads segment, where he remains to this day. While gone from Boxwell for almost 20 years now, for 40 years, Mann was not only a constant figure at Boxwell, but was often seen as the moral backbone of the staff. He is truly one of Boxwell’s greats.
If you’re curious, here is Mann’s Tennessee Crossroads segment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UgAxhKQOe8
I remember this well!
oh, and that is great segment on him – watched it a few months ago!
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