From the Archives, May 3, 2020

Stahlman Rainbow

Have you had a rough 2020 so far? Coronavirus and quarantines and home schooling and home working and whatever else stressing you out? Here’s your small little dose of happy to make things better!

This week is about as simple as it gets: a rainbow. Following a good “Boxwell dew,” here is a rainbow as seen from Stahlman’s assembly area, the OA Lodge seen down in the left corner. It may not be the best rainbow you’ve ever seen at Boxwell, but it is one of the few you’ll see in a photograph!

If you’re a Boxwell staff member, don’t forget to tell us where you for the Centennial Commemorations! Please follow and forward this link: http://www.virtualboxwell.org/2021_staff_reunion.php

Rainbow

Rainbow from Stahlman’s Assembly area

Council Centennial, April 29, 2020

The Middle Tennessee Council

A funny thing happened in January 1949: the Middle Tennessee Council formed. Not the first MTC. That one had collapsed in 1930 as we discussed before. This was the new MTC, the one still with us today, born from the Nashville Council.

Ward Akers had come on as Scout Executive in September 1947 and spent his first year getting the lay of the land. Some things changed–Boxwell was still at the Narrows, but the program looked different–while others seemed very similar to how they had been under Anderson. Tillman Newsum was still active; Talmadge Miller was still the Assistant Executive.

But Akers and the Council were reading the tea leaves. The Council was serving approximately 5,500 boys, but 65,000 were of Scouting age. To reach these boys a reorganziation was needed. Indeed, understand that of the Council’s 36 county service area, fully 25 counties did not have a Scouting program. Begun in 1948, a reorganziation by districts began. Davidson County was organized into four districts; the area immediately outside of Davidson into another eight districts.

These changes culminated in January 1949. At the annual meeting held at the Maxwell House on Friday night, January 28, 1949, another new district was announced. The hiring of five new professionals was announced, bring the Council staff on par with others in the nation.

And following a vote of the Board, the Nashville area Council was re-christened the Middle Tennessee Council.

MTC

Nashville Banner photo by Walter Morgan, Jr. Here the Council preps for the annual meeting the following evening, Friday, January 27. 1949. Shown here are (l-r) are Dr. Walter Courtenay, Floyd E. Laney, L. B. Stevens (Council President), and Ward E Akers (Council Executive).

Wilbur Creighton, Jr. and Leland Johnson, Boys Will Be Men: Middle Tennessee Scouting Since 1910, Middle Tennessee Council: Nashville, 1983, pg. 119
“Nashville Area Boy Scout Workers To Hold Annual Council Here Friday,” Nashville Banner, January 27, 1949, pg. 4
“Area’s Scouts Number 5,500, Council Told,” Nashville Banner, January 28, 1949, pg. 1
“Scout Recruitment Program Urged for Midstate Area,” Nashville Tennessean, January 29, 1949, pg. 2

From the Archives, April 26, 2020

The Last Reunion

The last Staff Reunion was held in 2014. Indeed, the Staff Reunion in 2014 was the 5th such reunion with the others occurring in 1983, 1989, 1999, and 2009. The 2009 Reunion was the only one that wasn’t organized by a core group of staff alumni and the only one not held during summer camp.

Most all of the Reunions have followed a similar format, trying to recreate a day at camp. The idea has been that with former staff members returning with their families, the former staff may want to give their children and spouses a taste of what their lives were like, including shooting sports, boating, and some sort of dinner and campfire program. The 2014 Reunion was unique in that it also had an archiving dimension: it had a station to record camp stories and a station to scan old camp photos. You can read up on the previous reunions here: http://www.virtualboxwell.org/staff_reunions.php.

The patch seen here was designed specifically for the 2014 Reunion. It utilizes a map of the Old Hickory Boxwell and the Boxwell Reservation design originally created by Public Relations master Chuck Creasey. It listed the names of all the camps at Old Hickory Boxwell, but not the previous Boxwells themselves. The design was used as a patch and a t-shirt for the 2014 Reunion. In fact, the design was popular enough that a slightly modified version became the design for the 2019 Staff hat.

So, why promote this particular patch this week? Because the 2021 Reunion is right around the corner. This Reunion will celebrate the centennial of Boxwell–ALL the Boxwells. And later this week, we’ll start our drive to find former staff members in order to have the biggest staff reunion ever. We hope you’ll join us in our efforts. See you in 2021!

Reunion Patch

2014 Staff Reunion Patch

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.