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SOUTHWEST TEXAS COUNCIL HISTORY

The Southwest Texas Council, with headquarters in Uvalde, TX, was organized on June 22, 1926, by John C. Campbell, organization executive, with the help of Regional Deputy Executive E. E. Voss.  Nine communities came together for a meeting in the Strand Theater in Uvalde. George Love of Del Rio was elected as its first President and John C. Campbell as temporary Scout Executive.  The Council lasted for only ten years, until it merged with the Concho Valley Council in 1936, but during that time it was a very active council serving ten counties in southwest Texas.

First Summer Camp

The first summer camp of the newly organized council was held on the Del Rio club grounds on the Devil's River and was called "Camp Del Rio."  The ten day camp officially opened on August 12, 1926, at 6:30 a.m.  Twenty minutes later the Scouts and prospective Boy Scouts were standing at attention while the flag was raised.  They then had their setting up exercises and a morning dip in the river. 

There was a camp band directed by Williams Evans of Uvalde, and of course swimming, hiking, movies, fishing, and games.  There was instruction in swimming, life saving, public health, building fires with out matches, first aid, and boiling a quart of water with the aid of one match in the least possible time.  The Scouts completed their Tenderfoot test during the camp. 

There were 136 kids at the camp according to Irvin Fowler of Sabinal.  He told this author the story about a sow with 8 to 10 pigs coming through their tent in the middle of the night and bumping into their beds.  He said the kids yelled as the pigs turned their beds over and then the pigs scattered in all the noise.  For the remainder of the night they all slept out in the open. 

Uvalde with twenty-two kids were the largest delegation at the camp, according to Rev. T. A. Schofield.  He said that they were the demons in camp and had put a pair of clean brown socks in the drinking water container before they had been in camp an hour! 

The boys enjoyed the Irish Stew best of all the meals served in camp.  To feed the group each day of camp it took 80 loaves of bread, 10 pounds of butter, two sacks of potatoes, 80 quarts of milk, 100 pounds of meat, 600 pounds of ice, and various kinds of vegetables and fruits.  They had 50% more boys than they expected but managed to feed them.  The camp went into debt $618.18.  rev. T. A. Schofield of Uvalde was Camp Director. 

Rev. M. M. Fulmer, a Baptist Minister of Hernando was selected as the first Scout Executive of the Council on August 10, 1926, but by January 7, 1927 he had resigned due to a heart leakage and H. B. Palmer took his place on April 7, 1927.  Palmer served as Scout Executive for the remainder of the Council's life through 1935.

Camp Cypress - 1927

The Council selected to have their second camp on the Frio River and called it Camp Cypress.  The camp was held from August 8-17, 1927.  According to Irvin Fowler, who attended the camp as a kid, they had swimming, archery, campcraft, nature and hiking.  One hundred and seventy-five Scouts came to the camp and stayed in twenty-three troop tents that were erected and formed into an oval with eight Scouts in each tent. 

The camp was located two and one half miles northeast of Leakey, Texas, on property provided free by J. J. Burdett.   The lumber for the mess hall and tables was furnished by the Alamo Lumber Company.  They rented equipment from the Alto Frio Baptist Encampment for $75.00 for the camp. 

The highlight of the ten-day camp was a treasurer hunt held at the close of camp.  The Scouts tested their knowledge of woodcraft by following a half mile trail that had been previously blazed by the camp leaders.  Each Scout carried a peg with him on which they notched each sign they identified.  At the end of the trail, the Scout drove his peg into a mound of sand. 

When all the Scouts had finished the trail, the judges scooped away the sand from the pegs and revealed buried sticks that had been previously driven into the ground, each bearing a number.  The Scout whose peg was the nearest to one of these numbered sticks was awarded a prize according to the number.  Prizes were presented to the kids including several cases of soda water, a pair of Scout shoes, a Scout knife, first aid kit, a complete Scout uniform, a watch, a flashlight and a fishing reel. 

Sidney Zindberg of Carrizo Springs was presented a harmonica for giving the most unselfish service to Scouting while in camp.  The camp cost $1,596.79 to put on and the income of $1,599.10 left a balance of $2.31 after the camp was over.  At least they did not go into the hole on this camp.

Free Office Space

The council office was provided free for the first few years by J. G. Smyth and Company until  the completion of the new Uvalde County Courthouse in early 1928.  A room was provided by the Commissioner's Court for an office. Twelve counties made up the council.  They were Val Verde, Terrell, Kinney, Edwards, Uvalde, Real, Bandera, Medina, Maverick, Dimmit, Zavalla and Frio Counties. 

E. K. Fawcett was elected President of the council at the Third Annual Meeting, held January 23, 1928, and he served in that capacity through 1935.

Camp Fawcett on the Nueces - 1928

Early in  1926, at the 3rd Annual meeting of the Southwest Texas Council, president George E. Love explained to the council the need of the council to have its own property for a campsite and that a temporary site would be needed for the coming summer.  He appointed a committee composed of L. Q. McCorkie, A. B. Ewing, both of Del Rio, A. F. Smyth, Uvalde, and W. L. Guyler, of Eagle Pass to select a temporary campsite for the summer and report back to H. B. Palmer, Scout Executive.

J. Q. McCorle, Chairman of the committee, reported back that a site on the Nueces river, one mile from Barksdale and forty-seven miles northwest of Uvalde on the Rocksprings Highway, had been selected as the summer camp for the summer of 1928.  They named it Camp Fawcett.

The Beginning of the End

The council experienced financial problems as did most councils during the Depression.  J. P. Fitch, Regional Scout Executive, explained to the board at their December 15, 1933, meeting, that they "had no charter." having failed to renew their charter that year.  He said that they "could continue on a direct service plan from the Regional Office at Dallas, for the time being." 

The old charters of Troop 31 of Crystal City show that the troop was chartered with the Region in 1934 and 1935 with the troop number 117.  In 1936, it chartered with the Concho Valley Council and received the troop number 96 which it still has today. 

By the February 15, 1934 board meeting, the council had managed to reduce its debt from some $1,800 to a balance of $205.80.   It was explained at that meeting that the former Executive needed his salary and expenses that were more than a year past due. 

In January 1936 six counties of the council were added to the Concho Valley Council.  The counties were Terrell, Val Verde, Edwards, Kinney, Real and Uvalde.  By then there were only four registered troops left.  Two were located in Del Rio, one at Sanderson and one at Uvalde.  By October of that same year, Zavala, Dimmit and Maverick counties were added to Concho Valley Council.  Bandera and Median counties became a part of the Alamo Area Council with headquarters in San Antonio, Texas. 

In December, 1947, 24.39 acres of land of Camp Fawcett was sold to Neal Jernigan of Barksdale in the amount of $609.75 with the granter retaining one half rights to all oil, gas and other minerals on the tract of land.  On January 9, 1948, another 102.16 acres of land laying south and west of the then Highway 55 was sold to Neal Jernigan of Barksdale for $25.00 per acres, for a total of $2,554.00. This was the land that the airplane landing field was located on. The money was used to satisfy an old debt of the Southwest Texas Council.  The camp was then deeded over to the Concho Valley Council who still owns approximately 173.45 acres of  land known as Camp Fawcett.