Erie County (PA) Genealogy

Camp Sequoyah - 55 years of Scouting

Written by Evelyn Baker


In Remembrance of Eagle Scout,

Ricky N. Regal

1968 - 1989

Aunt Evelyn  


CAMP SEQUOYAH - 55 YEARS OF SCOUTING HISTORY

Boy Scouts of America were chartered by Congress on June 15, 1916. On June 29, 1929, Mr. A. E. DOERR sold his Springfield Township farm to the Washington Trail Council, B. S. A. This property, with a rugged mile long shoreline rising from 60' to 100' above Lake Erie, became known as Camp Sequoyah. The 520 acre camp included an apple orchard and large barn for storage area with an elevated earthen walk-in. The barn later burned down. 

It was named for Sequoyah, a Cherokee Indian born in 1770, to a white English father, GEORGE GIST or GUESS, and an Indian mother, WURETH, of the Paint Clan. He is credited with development of a Cherokee written language and furthered the education of the Cherokee Nation.

The boy scouts cleared the land for their own campsites. Cabins were built by adult scout leaders. Archery and rifle range programs were conducted under the supervision of Scoutmasters. The reservation posted a " No Hunting " zone for the saftey of the boy scouts.

Scout Troop charters are renewed on a yearly basis. The 2 Springfield Charters listed next are the earliest on record, found in the archives of the B. S. A., French Creek Council Headquarters, Donation Road, Erie, Pa. There was a small handwritten notation, referring to a previous Springfield Troop Charter and minutes, turned over to Spencer BELTS, Girard, at a Commissioners Conference on December 6, 1939, by Wm. S. HOLLIDAY.

June 14, 1939, the West Springfield P.T.A., Selah WALBRIDGE, President, applied for a Troop Charter. Troop # 86 received certification on September 22, 1939 with Ames BROWN, District Council Representative. Troop meetings were held at the Springfield Town Hall and later at the West Springfield School. Committee members signing for the Scout Charter were:
DeWAYNE McNEISH
CLARENCE EAGLEY
BENNETT DAUB
CLARENCE GRIFFEN
H. S. HOPKINS
A. W. JOHNSON
...... 2 years scouting background
ROBERT R. HOLDSON
M. B. MERSHON
..... 1 year scouting background
CHARLES E. McCUNE

March 16, 1940, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, BILLY JUDD MILLER, Noble Grand, applied for a Troop Charter at East Springfield. Certification was granted Troop # 88 on May 2, 1940 with LYNN A. ELLIS as District Council Representative. Boyscouts held their meetings at the I.O.O.F. Hall on Tuesdays. Committee members signing for the Scout Charter were:
JOHN G. BUHL
Wm. S. HOLLIDAY
..... 6 years scouting background
PAUL W. COSNER
G. E. MEYERS
MAURICE HAZEN
RALPH M. SAFFORD
..... 6 years scouting background
LESTER V. EVANS
RICHARD A. EAGLEY

On July 15, 1940, Troop # 88 held a dedictation ceremony of their campsite with all surrounding district troops invited. Troop # 53 Scout Band from Conneaut, Ohio provided lively music. All visiting Troops performed their best stunts with Rev. George A. GAY as speaker. Troop yells, stories, and songs rounded out the program. Troop # 69 brought 100 scouts to camp and formed a softball league with its first game to be played in Fairview, Pa.

May 1941, Troop # 88 entered a booth at the Merit Badge Show and was credited with "Best Booth of Show" among 40 other displays. It was a farm lay-out and building arrangement.

Summer of 1941, Girard's Troop #69 held a Saturday evening hike at Sequoyah with the promise to return home in time for church on Sunday morning. Season activities included:
Troop # 86 of West Springfield
Troop # 42 of the Lakewood P.T.A.
Troop # 24 of the First Methodist Church, the PAUL SIPLE Scouts
Troop # 5 of the Erie Central Baptist Church
Troop # 69 of the Girard American Legion
Troop # 47 of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Troop # 34 of St. Stephen's Lutheran Church
Troop # 72 of Brown's Avenue United Presbyterian Church.
3 Crawford County Troops

Bertil GUSTAVSON was camp coordinator with AL BRYAN, Archery Director. Tommy GOLDSMITH, camp business mgr., operated the canteen. Bill COOPER, Troop # 4, the largest Sea Scout Troop in this area directed the handicraft projects, assisted by Eagle Scout, Dick HAYES.

Added 8/24/02: 1944 Summer - Duane WEIDLER was on the Camp staff as a dining hall boy steward. Glenn BLACK, Council Executive was the Camp Director.

August 25, 1945, the Order of The Arrow held a Campout at Sequoyah with 80 area certified Arrow Scouts attending. Order of the Arrow Scoutmaster was Archie BOVEE.

In 1954, a Dining Hall was built at a cost of approximately $150,000 and designed in the shape of a cross. A prestigious dedication plaque was presented to Lester Farrell KELCH. The dining hall held a meeting room. Commissioners and Leaders held adult training sessions in the autumn. A father / son encampment was held each year for 10 year old boys who were members of the Weblos Dens throughout the Council area.

A long range Development Committee was established to insure facilities remained secure. John E. TAYLOR, of Diamond National Corporation Lumber Division, was named chairman. The Soil Conservation and Engineers of the National Council, B S A, particiated in an exhaustive study of camp facilities.

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Camp Ranger, Duane WIEDLER, came to Sequoyah from a Justice of Peace position in Platea. He and his wife, Margaret (Peggy) DAGGETT WIEDLER retired to Arizona.

Camp Ranger, Eric CHIARIZIO, entusiastically accepted the position in 1955. His wife, Virginia Chiarizio, was a popular head cook, cracking as many as 600 eggs for breakfast. They were on call 24 hours a day. " I became rich with memories and friends" Eric said "I was happy all the time". After nearly 30 years, they retired in East Springfield.

In 1962, K3ERK was set up as the Camp Sequoyah amatuer radio station. Dr. Michael MANAFO, K3UOC, and Sam BAKER, W3FIQ, taught classes in International Morse Code for Scout Communications Badges. Eagle Scout, Robert GOSSMAN, gave flag signal demonstrations.

Eriez Lodge # 46 held their World Peace Conclave at Sequoyah in 1962 and again in 1971.

Added 8/24/02 from Evelyn Baker: 1962 and 1967 - The National B. S. A. Council awarded Camp Sequoyah the District  ' A '  rating.  Eric  CHIARIZIO holds the A  flag  for one summer and Duane WEIDLER holds the other. Duane was Camp Director during 1962, 1966, and 1967, working as Scout Executive for the Ostego District in western Erie County and Crawford County.   Ernest SPANGLER was Council Executive through the early 1960s, but passed away in 1967.

By the late 1960s and 70s, with year around activites, attendance escalated to 5500 representing 74 different troops and their leaders from Erie and Crawford Counties.

In 1975, The French Creek Council in Crawford Co. voted to consolidate all summer camping activities to Camp Custologa Town. Camp Sequoyah in Erie Co. and Camp Coffman in Venango Co. were to be sold to bolster Camp Custologa Town in Crawford County, Pa. "I don't want to close Camp Sequoyah, but it's a business decision" said Pat MORAN, Executive Board President of the French Creek Council that oversees scouting in a five county area. Council cited $700,000 needed to keep the camp in operating condition by 1982. "We want to make one very super camp" MORAN said. Ralph BUHITE, committe chairman, to stop the sale, presented proposals to the executive board, of several organizations willing to donate time and money to keep scouting in Erie Co. Jim VARGO, committee member, was opposed to the fact that money raised in Erie County would be spent on Camp Custologa in Crawford County. Both men foresaw damage to the scouting programs in Erie County. It was 1983.

Many valued items were removed from Camp Sequoyah to Camp Custologa including their favored Totem Pole.

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Washington Trail District Commissioners from Springfield Township:
BOB DRAKES - C. MAX GRAVES - WILBUR PALMER - ERNIE G. WHITNEY - H. S. HOPKINS - ERNIE McINTIRE - KENNETH YOUNGS

Camp Sequoyah Scout Leaders (not previously listed) from Springfield Twsp:
1940 --------- ROBERT D. HOPKINS
1943 --------- H. E. RAMELY - CLAUDE BALL - HARVEY FRITZGES
1944 --------- HAROLD L. PORTER - KENNETH RULAND - E. B. BURGE, R. Z. COBLENTZ
1945 - 1947:-- JOHN J. NACHMAN - THOMAS D. TEUDHOPE
1947 --------- E. R. GLOVER - BILLY D. POMEROY
1948 --------- C. W. HALL - CARLTON A. ROBERTSON
1949 --------- H. W. NEIGER - P. H. AUGUSTINE - G. WESTBROOK
1950 --------- C. H. ANGERER - CLIFFORD WICKERSHAM
1951 - 1952: - M. R. WARD - IVAN PAYNE - E. T. WICHERSHAM - IVAN WAID
1953 --------- HARRY HAZEN
1954 - 1955: - LESTER K. MANSFIELD - AUSTIN BEIGHLEY - NEIL O. PAYNE - C. M. BARNES
1956 - 1957: - ALBERT LEE - FRANK HAMMOND
1958 --------- HOWARD HOLTON
1959 --------- HARLAND P. STRAUB - MAURICE WRIGHT - ROBERT A. COLE - ARTHUR L BANKES - CLARENCE GRIFFEN PAUL WELDON - RAYMOND NIEMLA - M. E. BORTNICK
1960 --------- MELVIN SUMNER - EUGENE C. BARKER
1961 --------- JACK J. BORT - RICHARD WALBRIDGE - MATTHEW CARLSON - ARTHUR L. VAN SLYKE - GEORGE HILLS
1962 --------- REA O. BARKER - CLAUDE MISCHIER - GEORGE HARRIS - L. O. ROBERTSON
1963 --------- RUSSELL PETTIS - JAY PETERS - R. C. DAVIDSON - ADOLPH DIEHL - FRANK CHIRO - ALAN SALSBURY - L. O. ROBERTSON - PAUL DURIS - RUSSELL LEE FETTEROLF - CHARLES O'BARSKY
1964 - 1965: - BRUCE IFFT - DALE YOST - ANSON THORTON - HERBERT J. CONNORS - HOWARD GIBSON - EUGENE HECKER - DENNIS E. SONGER
1966 --------- LEONARD J. HILL - ART SIDERS
1967 --------- JAMES A. REITZ, Jr. - ROBERT SANDERS - ANDREW POCHATKO - JACK H. CASE
1968 --------- RICHARD CROWL - ROBERT E . PERRY - WILLIAM THORR - GEROLD L . GRAVES
1969 - 1970: - CLARENCE E. CROUCH - DUANE MILLS
1971 --------- ROBERT BREWSTER - FRANK ELDRIDGE - JAY PETERS - HENRY W. SIDERS - MICHAEL ROSESKI - RICHARD ARMSTRONG
1972 --------- THOMAS HARVEY - JAMES COOLITTLE
1973 - 1974: - RANDY DAVIDSON - JOHN G. BURNS - DENNIS L. PALO - ARTHUR R. CLISBY
1974 - 1975: - LOUIS PERRY - ROBERT E. GRIFFEN - ANDREW J. VASILIK, Sn.
1977 - 1979: - ARTHUR L. BROCKETT - RICHARD J. ROBISON
1981 --------- TOM SNIDER - ANDREW W. HILLS - CHARLES STEINLE
1983 --------- KIM W. JEFFREYS - ROBERT G. PACANSKY - JOHN J. SZYMPRUCH
1984 --------- JAMES R. ZURINSKY

Camp Sequoyah was officially sold to LaPORT Builders, putting about 200 acres into private development, and to Camp Fitch, a Youngstown, Ohio based YMCA camp, in 1984.


Anyone having any comments on this article is invited to contact Evelyn Baker. Any other information or material concerning Camp Sequoyah, or any other phase of scouting within Erie County (PA) can also be directed to Bill Klauk. See also a Pictorial Feature on the Camp Patches of Camp Sequoyah.

Change History: Original article posted 11/16/2001. Changes submitted in Dec 2001 but not posted until Aug 2002.


This page was last updated on  Saturday, August 24, 2002 .

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