The Passing of Ron Oakes

The VirtualBoxwell Team is sad to announce the passing of Ron Oakes. Ron was Stahlman’s second Camp Director, joining the Boxwell staff for the 1962 and 1963 seasons. He had been a Scout himself, a member of troop 174 out of Sparta and eventually started his professional career under Ward Akers in 1960 as the DE for the Central District. He rose to Director of Field Service before securing his own council in 1976, the Pine Burr Area Council in Hattiesburg, MS. He later joined the Regional Staff out of Atlanta, serving 34 years as a professional Scouter.

Ron Oakes passed away Monday, June 28, 2021.

You may read his obituary here:

On This Day, June 28

On this day–Tuesday, June 28, 1921–the site of the very Boxwell was chosen. The site was the Samuel S. Morton farm in Linton, Tennessee. Morton had married into the Allison family, which owned a great deal of farm property in the area. Linton itself was on the old Harding Road (today Highway 100) between Bellevue and Fairview. The first Boxwell had no permanent buildings, camped 60 Scouts, and used four acres of the Morton farm.

Linton Campsite
From _The Nashville Banner_ August 28, 1921. The caption reads: “The Scout Camp and One of the Troops which occupied it.”

On this day–Tuesday, June 28, 1938–the very first Order of the Arrow elections were held at Boxwell at the Narrows of the Harpeth. The OA Wa-Hi-Nasa Lodge had been formed earlier in the year also at the Narrows. This was the first selection of new members from the Scouts who were in camp at the time. Elections during camp were the norm for many years.

Narrows of the Harpeth Camp Boxwell SIgn

From the Archives, June 27, 2021

Boxwell Music, Repost Round-up

It’s time for another “blast from the past.” This month we take another quick look at Boxwell Music and Musicians. Most of this round up comes from a series that ran in April 2018, but we’ve thrown in a few other bits for fun.

Boxwell Music, Part I ||
Boxwell Music, Part II ||
Boxwell Music, Part III ||
Boxwell Music, Part IV ||
Boxwell Music, Part V ||
Boxwell Music, Part VI ||

Tom Parker ||

Roman Reese & Cory Younts ||

Walter Whittaker ||

Zumba! ||

On This Day, June 26

On this day–Sunday, June 26, 1949–the Rock Island Boxwell (referred to briefly as “Boxwell III”) opened for its first week of camp. The adult staff had been working since June 12 preparing a crib for the waterfront and prepping the camp in general. The stated objective was to hold summer camp at Rock Island for one summer. Clearly, Boxwell stayed longer. 1949 was the last summer that Ward Akers served as a Camp Director.

Rock Island Waterfront
This the Rock Island Waterfront. The boxed in area is known as “the Crib,” a bottomed swimming area for the Caney Fork River.

On this day–Thursday, June 26, 1969–Edwin W. Craig died. Craig was the founder of WSM radio. The station was actually an advertisement product of National Life and Accident Insurance; the call letters stand for “We Shield Millions.” But more importantly, WSM became a platform for another Craig invention: The Grand Ole Opry. The Opry became a nationwide hit of a radio program and Craig continued to excel in his work with National Life and Accident out of Nashville. Craig died in 1969 and was never a Scout, but his love for the outdoors led his family, particularly the guidance of his son C. A. “Neil” Craig II who was a long time friend of Ward Akers and associate of the Middle Tennessee Council, to contribute to the 1972 Capital Campaign to build the 200 Scout resident camp, Camp Craig. Camp Craig was to preserve the Craig legacy.

Portrait of Edwin W. Craig

On this day–Thursday, June 26, 1975–after an initial rejection, the Metro Planning Commissioner approves the plans of the Middle Tennessee Council for the Jet Potter Center. The initial plans were rejected because the building was mostly business in a residential area. After plans were redrawn to include more community space–specifically 51 percent of the floor space to “community activities”–the board unanimously approved the plans and construction began later in the year.

Potter Center, 1975
An artist’s rendition of the Jet Potter Center, 1975. Gresham & Smith, Architects; Foster & Creighton, construction.

On This Day, June 24

On this day–Sunday, June 24, 1951–the Rock Island Boxwell opens for its third summer. For the first time that we know of, women served on the staff that summer. Mrs. Jean Murdock and Mrs. Tom Pedigo both served on the kitchen staff. The arrangement from the existing record is a little fuzzy, but here are the things we know. Ike Davis was still on board as the camp cook. Murdock was the “leading dietitian,” implying that Pedigo served in this role as well. A youth staff worked for the women, implying that Davis was simply the cook, but the women ran the kitchen that summer. There is no other mention of the two women working at Boxwell is succeeding summers.

No photos exist of Murdock and Pedigo. Here is the one photo we have of Ike Davis.

Ike Davis
Cook Ike Davis with his wood burning stove at Rock Island, ca. 1955. Scouts unknown.