Council Centennial, April 22, 2020

Nashville Council Leadership

By the mid-1940s, the Nashville Council had grown and because of this growth, there was a need for more professionals. William Anderson’s Nashville Council was always a very simple structure. For the most part, it was himself, a secretary, and the Executive Board. By the late 1930s though, he began to add more professionals. The district level Scouting we know today, however, did not come until Ward Akers reorganized the Council. Who were these other men?

James Gribble was the first additional professional. He came to the job of Assistant Scout Executive exactly the way we all like to believe it happens for all professionals. Gribble was a Scout, first attending Boxwell at the Narrows of the Harpeth in 1930. He established himself at camp, becoming a junior leader (youth staff) in 1932 and returning in this position every summer through 1936. In 1937, he became Camp Director and in January 1938, he became Anderson’s first Assistant Scout Executive. Part of Gribble’s position was to run Boxwell and it was under Gribble’s leadership that the Order of the Arrow came to Nashville. Gribble left his position as Assistant temporarily during World War II, but he returned to Assistant Scout Executive after the war and remained in this position until Ward Akers came on. At this point, Gribble basically disappears from the record. It is unclear what happened to him from 1948 forward.

Talmadge Miller was, first and foremost, a school teacher. He later became a principal in Davidson County schools, but his heart was always with teaching children. In his connection with Scouting in general, he was the Scoutmaster of Troop 18 out of Nashville. He came into Anderson’s orbit through Boxwell, joining the staff as the Waterfront Director after the camp moved to the Narrows of the Harpeth. He served as either Waterfront Director or Camp Director of the Narrows Boxwell every year from 1932 to 1947. He joined the professional staff as an Assistant Scout Executive in 1943 shortly after Gribble departed to serve the U. S. Navy. He stayed through the arrival of Akers, leaving Scouting in August of 1949 to become principal of the Rosemont School (later the Margaret Allen School) in Nashville.

Tillman Newsum had been a Scoutmaster of Troop 32 out of Woodbine Presbyterian in 1929 and then an Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 3 out of East End Methodist Church since at least 1933. A full on Scoutmaster by 1940, Newsum had been involved as a volunteer leader at the Narrows for years, even being one of the adults inducted in the first group of OA members in 1937. In October 1945, he was hired as the first field executive with the Council and stayed on until at least 1950. After 1950, Newsum disappears from the newspaper record.

Charles M. Cooper was the sole African American on the Nashville Council staff. He headed up the James Carrol Napier (or J. C. Napier) Division of the Council. As the Council was segregated, the Napier division under Cooper served the needs of all the African American Scouts in the council. With an education from both Tuskegee Institute and Tennessee State College (today TSU), Cooper had been involved with the Napier division as a Scoutmaster since the late 1930s. He served as a volunteer Commissioner for the district before being hired on full time as a field executive in October 1943. A large part of Cooper’s job was to recruit and expand on black Scouting in Nashville as well as to run Camp Burton in the summer. Cooper stayed on throughout Anderson’s years, but did not last long in the Akers administration. He resigned in May 1949 for reasons unknown.

The photo here we’ve used before, but shows the transfer of power from Anderson to Akers. Miller and Gribble are both here, but Newsum and Cooper are not. Nevertheless, these men represent the high water mark for Anderson’s years as Executive. By the end of the Second World War, Anderson had a camp, two Assistant Executives and two field executives, and a secretary Bernice Rives. The Nashville Council served just under 9,000 Scouts upon Anderson’s retirement in 1947.

Akers, Anderson, Gribble, Miller, Murrey

Back Row, L to R: treasurer E. E. Murrey, Assistant Scout Executives James Gribble and Talmadge Miller, and George Simpson, deputy regional executive of Region V.
Up Front: Ward E. Akers and William J. Anderson

 

Gribble: “Camp Boxwell,” Nashville Tennessean, June 25, 1930, pg. 16; “Camp Boxwell Officers are Elected,” Nashville Tennessean, July 18, 1931, pg. 13; “Boy Scouts of America,” Nashville Tennessean, June 19, 1932, pg. 8 Magazine Section; “’Best Scout’ Honored,” Nashville Tennessean, July 12, 1932, pg. 5; “First Aid,” Nashville Tennessean, July 16, 1932, pg. 12; “Keeping Dry in Rain, Scouts Show Selves Good Campers,” Nashville Tennessean, July 2, 1933, pg. 13 Magazine Section; “Nashville Scouts’ Own Page,” Nashville Tennessean, June 17, 1934, pg. Tennessean Magazine 13; “Nashville Scouts’ Own Page,” Nashville Tennessean, July 21, 1935, pg. Tennessean Magazine 13; “Walter, Whose Rolls Scouts Like, Is Booked Again as Boxwell Cook,” Nashville Tennessean, June 6, 1937, pg. Tennessean Magazine 16; “Nashville Scouts’ Own Page,” Nashville Tennessean, July 18, 1937, pg. Tennessean Magazine 16; “Gribble Made Scout Aide,” Nashville Tennessean, December 10, 1937, pg. 34; “Gribble Returns to Scout Post,” Nashville Tennessean, February 27, 1946, pg. 16; “L.B. Stevens Heads Boy Scout Council,” Nashville Tennessean, January 9, 1948, pg. 15.

Miller: “Nashville Scouts’ Own Page,” Nashville Tennessean, June 17, 1934, Magazine section pg. 13; “Nashville Scouts’ Own Page,” Nashville Tennessean, August 4, 1935, pg. Tennessean Magazine 15; “Group of Boy Scouts Leaves for Camp today,” Nashville Tennessean, July 7, 1947, pg. 3; “Talmadge M. Miller Named to Scout Post,” Nashville Tennessean, September 2, 1943, pg. 21. “Nashville Scouts’ Own Page,” Nashville Tennessean, July 11, 1937, pg. Tennessean Magazine 16; “Nashville Scouts’ Own Page,” Nashville Tennessean, July 16, 1933, pg. Tennessean Magazine 13; “Boy Scouts Win Swimming Honors,” Nashville Tennessean, August 17, 1938, pg. 14; James Hughes, “80 Scouts Finish Camp Trek Livened by Snakes, Skunks,” Nashville Tennessean, July 2, 1946, pg. 10; “Boy Scout Executive Miller Named Rosemont School Head,” Nashville Banner, August 5, 1949, pg. 8.

Gribble: “Camp Boxwell,” Nashville Tennessean, June 25, 1930, pg. 16; “Camp Boxwell Officers are Elected,” Nashville Tennessean, July 18, 1931, pg. 13; “Boy Scouts of America,” Nashville Tennessean, June 19, 1932, pg. 8 Magazine Section; Here is another example of the gray zone that existed the first year or two of this program, “Boy Scout Elect at Camp Boxwell Monday,” Nashville Tennessean, July 5, 1932, pg. 4; “’Best Scout’ Honored,” Nashville Tennessean, July 12, 1932, pg. 5; “First Aid,” Nashville Tennessean, July 16, 1932, pg. 12; “Keeping Dry in Rain, Scouts Show Selves Good Campers,” Nashville Tennessean, July 2, 1933, pg. 13 Magazine Section; “Nashville Scouts’ Own Page,” Nashville Tennessean, June 17, 1934, pg. Tennessean Magazine 13; “Nashville Scouts’ Own Page, Nashville Tennessean, July 21, 1935, pg. Tennessean Magazine 13; “Walter, Whose Rolls Scouts Like, Is Booked Again as Boxwell Cook,” Nashville Tennessean, June 6, 1937, pg. Tennessean Magazine 16; “Nashville Scouts’ Own Page,” Nashville Tennessean, July 18, 1937, pg. Tennessean Magazine 16; “Gribble Made Scout Aide,” Nashville Tennessean, December 10, 1937, pg. 34; “Gribble Returns to Scout Post,” Nashville Tennessean, February 27, 1946, pg. 16; “L.B. Stevens Heads Boy Scout Council,” Nashville Tennessean, January 9, 1948, pg. 15.

Newsum: “With the Boy Scouts,” Nashville Banner, March 24, 1929, pg. 7; “Scout Awards Made at Court of Honor,” Nashville Banner, January 19, 1933, pg. 3; John Johnson, “Murfreesboro Boy Scout Troop Reregisters for Thirteenth Year,” Nashville Banner Magazine, October 11, 1936, pg. 14; “Troop 16 Beings Its Twentieth Year with Local Scout Council,” Nashville Banner, March 29, 1940, pg. 11; “Newsum Named Field Executive of Scout Area,” Nashville Banner, October 18, 1945, pg. 15.

Cooper: “Activities of Colored People,” Nashville Banner, February 19, 1943, pg. 25; “C. M. Cooper Heads Negro Boy Scouts,” Nashville Tennessean, June 27, 1943, pg. 10C; “Happenings Among Nashville Colored People,” Nashville Tennessean, May 29, 1949, pg. 11E.

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