Part of what makes Boxwell so great are those moments that capture the simple innocence and fun of youth. In that spirit, we keep it really simple this week.
Here is Amy Russell, daughter of Stahlman Program Director Garland Russell, at Camp Murrey in 1973. Young Ms. Russell located below the dining hall and showerhouse. In the modern day, she is near to the two larger cabins. At the time, she was on the road to the “Horseshoe” or “the Hole” where the adult staff and families stayed.
Big smile on her face, Ms. Russell is proudly showcasing a snake she caught while at Camp Murrey that summer.
Camp Cooks have a long history of importance at Boxwell. From 1921 to 1949, Walter Whittaker was the cook at Linton, the Narrows, and the first year at Rock Island. Pearl Schleicher was camp cook at Old Hickory from 1962 to 1994. Ike Davis was another great Boxwell cook.
Davis began working at Boxwell with the Rock Island Boxwell. His first summer with the camp was Whittaker’s last. And like Whittaker, Davis had a long history as a cook for Scout camps. In fact, as The Nashville Tennessean explained, Davis was on his 35th year as a “faithful colored” cook at a Boy Scout camp. The previous experience, as best we can gather, was in Davis’ home of Wheeling, West Virginia.
And this is where the mystery begins. We know very little about Davis. He came from West Virginia. Maybe. He may have come from Arkansas with Akers. He had a brother, Lovey. Maybe. He may not have had a brother, but just a good friend named Lovey. We don’t know when he was born or when he died. And honestly, we aren’t even certain how many years he was at the Rock Island Boxwell!
We do know that he had quite an impact while he was there. He cooked all the meals himself; there was no cook staff beyond Davis (potentially Lovey). This meant he was preparing about 600 meals a day. He made great pancakes and he stayed in a tent by himself near the dining hall tents (across the road from the modern all-season showerhouse).
Perhaps the best description of Davis came from one of Ward Akers’ sons, James. As the “boss’ kid,” many steered clear of James, but not Davis, who Akers described as “like a grandpa.” Davis “was a hoot” and taught Akers how to hambone, a skill he continue to entertain with for decades into the future. Davis told funny stories and “made camp really fun for me,” Akers recalled. Even this isn’t much, but it shows how much one person can make a difference.
The photos this week is of Ike Davis, peeling potatoes at the old Fielding Yost Lodge. The building is gone now, but if you’ve seen the buttercups in the spring, you know the spot.
We have a real treat this week (we hope). Here is the “partial report and recommendation” of the Names and Memorials Committee of the 1959 Boxwell Development Fund Campaign. In other words, this is the memo that tells how the camps got their names. As this is a document and potentially difficult to read, below is a transcript.
May 25, 1960
Mr. F. M. Acker and Members of the Board Middle Tennessee Council Boy Scouts of America Nashville, Tennessee
Your committee on Names and Memorials has met on several occasions with the executive staff and wish to make this as a partial report and recommendation.
So many have contributed so much to the success of the location of our new Reservation and to Boy Scouts through the years that your committee had found its taks a most arduous one in expressing recognition for the many contributions to the Reservation and to the program of Scouting. However, there rae several who are recognized by all of us for their significant efforts and favor to the boys of Middle Tennessee.
For this reason we desire to make this partial report at the time of the dedication, reserving further recommendations as the Reservation further develops.
Heretofore by oral motion, on a previous occasion at this Camp site, it was directed that these grounds and area be designated BOXWELL RESERVATION in honor of the mnay years of service and financial contribution of L. G. Boxwell whose hobby in life has been boys and best expressed by his sincere dedications to the Boy Scouts of America and the Middle Tennessee Council. We note here this action as a part of the record.
Mr. Wilbur Creighton, Sr. has contributed much of his life and means to the scouting program over a long period of years, during a part of which he was President of this Council. His most recent contribution was building the road into and over this Reservation. To inspire the many young boys and men who would travel this road made by him, we would recommend that this road be named Creighton Lane.
Your committee in studying the years of contributions of time and means to the scouting program recognizes one of our Board members who has served for more than twenty years as Treasurer of the Boy Scouts of America, has attended all activities of the program for many years, has demonstrated a dedicated heart to the program of scouting on many occassion. Recognizing Mr. E. E. Murrey we therefore recommend that Camp A, the Training Center (Family Camp) be designated as Camp Murrey.
This present Boxwell Reservation on which we meet has been acquited through the efforts of many people, but it was necessary for one person to have the dedication of desire and effort to enlist the interest of the many.
Mr. E. B. Stahlman, at this own expense and a sacrifice of much time through his interest in the boys of Middle Tennessee undertook successfully every act necessary to enlish the aid of members of Congress, the United States Senate, the Department of Army, and many civic leaders of Middle Tennessee to put possession and title to the Boy Scouts of America, Middle Tennessee Council.
His drive in this effort brought about the further impostion on his time and energy to head the drive for capital funds that resulted in these servicable and attractive buildings under construction and to be constructed for the future use of boys to whom he had been so dedicated.
It is recommended that Camp B. be designated Camp Stahlman in honor of the outstanding effort on the part of Mr. E. B. Stahlman that has made this occasion of dedication possible.
our committee in studying the records of our Council discovered that through the years one of our citiznes has contributed substantially and anonymously to the program of the Middle Tennessee Council of Boy Scouts of America.
That while he desired through many years to remain anonymous in his contributions, his dedication was so obvious to anyone studying the history of our Council that we should demand of him the right to render some honor to him as an inspiration for future generations of the concern of this man for the youth of Middle Tennessee.
Your Committee, therefore, recommends that Camp C be named Camp Parnell in honor of Mr. R. L. Parnell who has contributed very much over a period of years to the Boy Scout program.
Another gentlemen who presently does not reside in our community, has had a long history of contribution of time, effort and money to the program of the Boy Scouts of America. Although he had not been in our midst of late, he had sizeably contributed to the capital improvements of this Reservation. For many years he was Chairman of the Camp and Activities Committee of the Council and has at all times had an outstanding interest in the camping program of this Council.
In recognition of his outstanding contribution of so many years it is the recommendation of the Committee that Camp D be designated Camp Light in honor of Dr. Rudolph Light.
Let it be said in fairness to these men that in their modesty they resisted the efforts of your committee in selecting these names and it became necessary for the committe to inform them that these recommendations would be made over their protests, if necessary.
Their protests signify the accuracy of judgement of your committee in selecting these individuals who we honor on this occasion.
There are many others who had made outstanding contributions of time, energy and money to this project, dedicated to the program of scouting who must and will be recognized by fitting memorials in our camp area.
Your committee requests the privilege of holding under advisement for future recommendation the plans that we are developing for significant recognition of many dedicated men in the history of our scouting program.
Your committee, as it performs its duties, will carry out the memorials arranged in the capital funds campaign as we further develop Boxwell Reservation.
With this reservation your committee moves the adoption of this report and the approval of these recommendations.
Staff week is officially upon us. The 2022 Boxwell Camp Staff comes together this week and begins their preparation for the summer. This wil involve setting up their respective camps, trainings, and often long meetings. It will also involve an LBD.
An LBD is a Lost Bather’s Drill. Here the staff runs through the process it would utilize in the event there was an actual lost Scout in the lake. In an earlier time, this involved in a grappling hook. In more recent periods, it has involved sweeping the different swimming areas over and over.
Here is a the Camp Parnell staff in 1993. They have have completed one sweep and are preparing to do another. Waterfront Director Joey Boyd is in the group to the left of the photo.