Site updates, December 31, 2015

It’s that time again.  As we move into 2016, we have made some minor changes to the site.

First, a new banner image.  The original photo is below. It is Camp Stahlman Dining Hall in the snow, 2010.  The photo is by Steve Belew, who was Head Ranger at the time.

Second, the copyright dates have all been updated for 2016.

Our regular two series, “From the Archives” and “Naming the Unknowns,” will resume this week.  As always, there are things in the works.  We’ll keep you updated!

Stahlman, snow

Original for the new banner image. Photo by Ranger Steve Belew in 2010.

From the Archives, December 27, 2015

Boxwell the Farm: Row Crops

Here is our final installment on Boxwell the Farm. We’ve looked at the cattle, the hogs, and the tobacco. This week is row crops, mostly corn.

Before we discuss the corn though, we were reminded last week of an important detail that we have thus far neglected to mention: Ranger Bobby Smith. While the staff were involved in many aspects of the farm, such as building fences for the pigs, repairing cut cattle fences, or helping to harvest the tobacco, this whole operation was managed by The head Rangers: first Coleman Wright and then Bobby Smith. It is worth letting those details sink in for a moment because they reveal what a truly different world being a ranger was in the 1960s and early 1970s. It was mowing and maintanence, but it was farming and ranching and selling too. It was finding people who weren’t just good at making sure the HVAC worked or could repair tractors and cars, but could maintain the health and well-being of livestock and crops. It is fair to say this was an awesome responsibility.

The row crops could be found exactly where you would expect them to be: in the field to the left of the road leading to Akers’ Cabin/Fehrmann Training center. Crops were planted here regularly for many years. However, you could also find corn intermittenly at Clarence’s farm (The Camporee Area) on both sides of the road coming into the area. Much like the other farming aspects, the corn was not kept for use on the reservation, but was sold as a revenue source for the Council.

Corn wasn’t the only thing grown on the way to Fehrmann/Akers’. Over the years, this field also saw sunflowers as well as beans and millett. Farming was a life blood for the reservation and a wholly different world from the camp that exists now!

This is the last post for 2015. Have a happy New Year and we’ll see you next year!

Boxwell Farm: crops

The image here displays ALL the farming areas of Boxwell. Red is cattle, blue is hogs, green is tobacco and yellow is row crops.

Naming the Unknowns, December 23, 2015

Naming the Unknowns, Dec. 23, 2015
We will resume the Naming the Unknowns series in January 2016. For this week, we simply wanted to say “Thank you.” After spending some time reviewing this series over the last few months, the participation has been great. You’ve been able to fill in quite a few holes!  Thank you for helping to complete Boxwell’s history!
We’ll pick back up with Naming the Unknowns on January 6, 2016.

From the Archives, December 20, 2015

Boxwell the Farm: Tobacco

There was cattle (red). There were hogs (blue). And there was also tobacco (green). On some level, the tobacco shouldn’t be a huge surprise as Tennessee has been a huge tobacco state almost since its inception. Nevertheless, the idea of tobacco being grown and sold from a Scout camp seems a little off somehow.

Still, there it was. Down by the pig farm, there was approximately an acre and a half of land where tobacco was grown and harvested. The tobacco here was actually irrigated off of Akers Lake, so it would grow regardless of rain or shine. According to Larry Green, there was pump with six inch pipe running off of it. The pipe was run down throw the field with fingers off of it to water the plants.

Generally, the tobacco was harvested by three full timer rangers: Punkin Green, Bill Harris, and Farmer Bush. Staff members were often enlisted to help with this work as well after camp was over.

According to Kerry Parker, there was also a tobacco bed in the back part of Camp Murrey. This was a much smaller field than the one by the pig farm. Here, tobacco seedlings were grown to then be moved to the main field or sold to other tobacco farmers. Green suggests there was another field by Purnell Road.

The tobacco was no longer grown by Boxwell after 1976, but the reservation held on to the land (and the other lots secured by Akers, totaling about 3 acres), referred to as a tobacco base (how much land the Department of Agriculture you were allowed to grow tobacco on), for many more years, which was rented out to local farmers. As Green explained, “We did that [renting out the tobacco base] up until 1995… In fact, the year I became Reservation Director, the Scout Executive, which was Ken Connelly, said to me, ‘You know, Larry, do we really, as Boy Scouts, do we really need to be raising tobacco, or be associated with tobacco? And I said, ‘Well, it’s up to you.”

So, despite bringing in five or six thousand dollars a year, the tobacco base was let go and Boxwell got out of the tobacco business.

Next week: Row Crops!


The areas in green show where the tobacco was at Boxwell.

From the Archives, Addendum

Boxwell the Farm: Pig Farm, Addendum

We need to make a correction. We did some more research on the pig farm and wanted to add some clarification.

The pig farm WAS accessible from Tyree Access as we stated last week, but the area was much smaller than noted. The original pig farm was almost immediately inside the Tyree Access gate. In fact, the old pig farm barn is still there and actually in pretty good shape. But the area did not cover near as large a space.

However, about 1967 or 1968, the original pig farm was closed and the pigs were moved to Clarence’s farm in the modern day Camporee area. The pig farm was in a small area close to the lake and it remained here until the pig farm was “closed.”

When the farm was “closed,” the Reservation got rid of the pigs, but in reality that meant they moved literally next door onto a farm that Farmer Bush ran. Farmer Bush also had a pig farm out by his house on Purnell road.

The map here better reflects the pig farm areas.

Tomorrow: Tobacco!

Pig Farm 2

Here is the corrected map for the pig farm(s) at Boxwell.