The Big Four (Revised)
Every now and then, we here at VirtualBoxwell make mistakes. The joy of research is realizing that what you THOUGHT was correct at one point, turns out to be incorrect with a bit more digging. Fortunately, new discoveries help change the existing story and allow us to write new narratives.
That’s the case this week. Back in April of 2018, we posted the below color photograph of “the Big Four.” After some recent research in the Nashville Banner, it turns out that half of these individuals were incorrecty identified. From left to right are F. Murrey Acker, E. B. Stahlman, Ward Akers, and Representative J. Carlton Loser. The Scouts folding the flag in the background are Melton Abernathy, Thomas Smith, and James Seay.
The line up makes sense, once put in context. These four men were posing outside Stahlman dining hall on the day of the Reservation’s dedication ceremonies, July 9, 1960. F. Murrey Acker was president of the council and gave the primary dedication address. Stahlman, whose brother James was the event’s master of ceremonies, read letters, telegrams, and messages from dignitaries who would not be present, such as Governor Buford Ellington and Senator Al Gore, Sr. Ward Akers himself was absent from the program that day, allowing the volunteers to run the show.
J. Carlton Loser was the Tennessee’s representative from Nashville to the U.S. Congress. He had been instrumental in passage of the special act of Congress that allowed the Council to purchase the core Boxwell property from the Corps of Engineers, securing the title for construction. While the specifics of what he said do not appear to have not survived, the papers did note that when Loser rose to speak, he was greeted with a standing ovation. His work was known and appreciated.
Later that month, Loser came back to Boxwell and toured the whole property with Akers, Ackers, E. B. Stahlman, James “Foxy” Johnson, and Scout leader Paul Huff. He had a hot dog with Scouts at Parnell, visited the Ski Dock (Boat Harbor), and attended flag lowering at Stahlman. Of the Scouting project, Loser remarked, “I’m glad to have had a part in this great project. The greatest contribution to our nation is made through the training of young people engaged in such activities as Scouting.”
Dedication, July 9, 1960. F. Murrey Acker, E. B. Stahlman, Ward E. Akers, and Rep. Carlton Loser [updated March 2020]