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Collegeport Boy Scouts

Troop No. 2 Boy Scouts of America Collegeport, Texas

Courtesy of DeLana L. Young Gray

Collegeport Boy Scouts Here

Although several troops of boy scouts are now en route somewhere in the canal between Galveston and Freeport , that organization is not without representation at the Intercoastal Canal celebration, troop 1, Boy Scouts of America, from Collegeport, being among those arriving in Galveston with the fleet from the west Thursday morning. The boy scouts came into Galveston on board the Oma B of Collegeport, under command of Commodore H. A. Clapp of the Collegeport fleet. Commodore Clapp is also scout master at Collegeport and brought his scouts along. The commodore is accompanied by his wife, and these two and the twelve boy scouts formed the party on board the Oma B.

The Oma B met with an accident to her engine Thursday morning while about fifteen miles down West bay. A crank shaft on her engine broke–for a time she was left adrift in the channel. The other Collegeport boat, the Grace, under command of Captain P. N. Le Compe, picked her up and towed her into Galveston . Other passengers on board the Grace were: Miss S. R. Daniels, Mr. and Mrs. M. A. Nelson and family.

Commodore H. A. Clapp is an ardent canal booster. He is enthusiastic over the outlook for future development of the canal. The present movement of boats as an average of its usefulness, he says, as the present movement has been made under extreme circumstances. Cheap, quick and efficient transportation is what the coast country of Texas and Louisiana needs for her fullest development, he says, and this is what the Intercoastal Canal will provide.

The Matagorda County Tribune
, June 20, 1913


By Harry Austin Clapp


The other day the mother of a scout who attended the jam in Washington was visiting me and after I told her my scout tale, she asked me to write it for the special edition. She was a beautiful mother, cultured, refined, intelligent, and I fell in love with her at once. So here is the tale.


In 1912 the Scout movement was only two years old in America and as I read about it in the press I had a desire to organize a patrol in Collegeport, so made application. It was granted and in July, 1912, I received my commission as a Scoutmaster. A troop was organized and we had two patrols. Every member was in uniform and fully equipped with such items were required.


This was the first Scout organization in Matagorda County and I was the first Scoutmaster. I taught the boys how to make an Indian fire, to make damper bread and stick bread, to make coffee in a tin can, to broil beef on a willow stick, how to pack corn in the shuck, with potatoes and a chicken or fish heavily coated with clay and all packed in a red hot pit. I took them on hikes and taught them how to tie the bowline, braid and splice rope. First aid was given special attention and many other things too numerous for my space.


We took long hikes, sometimes twenty to fifty miles, each boy packing half a pup tent with their outfit. No hard roads those days. Most of the hike was cross country and we used the scout pace. We hiked fifteen minutes, rested five, and made good time. At a river we shucked off our duds and had a splash, much to the disgust of certain good home folks who thought it terrible that I should undress and splash around naked with the boys. It was indeed, terrible, but not nearly as terrible as when we would hold a boy down and allow a mud turtle to crawl across his belly. Good folk, that was awful, judging from the yowls of terror which emanated from the river bank. This was a punishment for sneaking a cig. We organized a hike to Bay City and were to camp on the court house lawn by invitation of Judge Holman, but some of the merchants objected so we just hiked cross country. Took a boat to Palacios, but the local hoodlums made so much fuss calling us sissies and baby boys that we were not allowed to land. Some of those bums are in business this day.


Our most pretentious hike was a trip to Galveston when the Intracoastal Canal was opened. We hired a boat and the trip was financed by the business men of the burg and easily financed. Today I could not raise enough money to enable me to hoist the anchor. We started early Saturday morning with Mrs. Clapp as hostess. Some of the boys had never been outside the county and were amazed at street cars, elevators, etc. The first night we spent at the mouth of the San Bernard and at noon were at Freeport where we were the guests of the Tarpon Inn with a turkey dinner. That night with other boats of the fleet headed by the U. S. Army engineer's boat, the Colonel, we spent at Mud Island.


We made Galveston without any trouble but high sea and took our place in the water parade reviewed by the governor and staff from the deck of an anchored ship. Tied up at dock and marched to the Galvez Hotel where, with the management's permission, we made camp on the lawn close to the hotel. The manager gave us free toilet and bath privileges in the hotel.


We were escorted to our camp ground by a detachment of Galveston Scouts and enroute we stopped at the Galveston News and were address by the editor. On our return trip the Galveston Scouts escorted us back to our ship. All during the trip we prepared our own meals and continued to do so when we were camped except when invited out by good folk. Strict discipline was exacted and no boy was allowed to leave camp alone. Always two. Bathing, pictures shows and other entertainments furnished recreation. The Scouts stood at attention and were addressed by Governor Colquitt and C. S. E. Holland, president of the canal association.


The night of the grand parade was an exciting evening. The parade was on the sea wall boulevard and from Galvez Hotel to Fort Crockett. First the U. S. Army Band of about 100 pieces--then the Scoutmaster in uniform with Roy Miller at his side leading the Scouts, and then about 2, 000 U. S. soldiers with perhaps two more bands. Say, Boy Scouts, that was a grand parade and we were a proud bunch. When we returned, the Army gave a drill to music and my Scouts gave their staff drill to the strains of "The Trail of the Lonesome Dove."


The last night discipline was thrown away and the boys given permission to go where they pleased without restriction, with the proviso that at ten thirty all should have reported and in bed. They were, and not one violation was reported. They kept the Scout faith and honor. The boys were several times invited to dinner by nearby café operators and one day they were the guests of the Galvez Hotel for luncheon.


My tent was a balloon silk, 9x9 in size and I occupied it with two scouts. I slept on the ground, as all did, and ate the same food. I had long before taught them how to make a cozy bed on the ground and they slept sound and well.


The time arrived for retreat, and, escorted by the Galveston Scouts, we were marched to the boat slip and with our equipment, plenty of food, and other necessities we boarded our ship and started on the home hike. The passage under the bascule bridge leaving the harbor presented a grave danger for the tide was a rip and the waves three to four feet high. I kept the Scouts in the cabin fearing one might be washed over. All down the bay we fought heavy seas, many of them breaking over our little ship and we were to be safe at Mud Island for the night.


Starting early in the morning, we passed Freeport and were again entertained by Joe Reynolds, manager of the Inn. Tied up at San Bernard for the night and arrived at our local dock Sunday night about ten o'clock. Oh, yes, we had a dock in those days, in fact two, one in the bay and the other doc in the drug store. Nine days of great fun, never an accident, no illness, great fun at all times.


Closing this tale, will add that the World War broke up my troop, for about all the boys joined some branch of federal service. Joe Paine in the Coast Artillery, Louis Powers in the Siberian campaign, one boy became an expert in sub construction, several on transports and I can hardly realize that one of my little Boy Scouts could be brave enough to leap into the Atlantic Ocean from a torpedoed transport to save his pal from drowning. It's true. All served. Cecil Morris served in the National Guard under Captain Richard Lewis, but for oversea service was turned down for physical defect. This nearly broke Cecil's heart. He lives in Houston, a strong hearty man.


This is my scout story. When you Boy Scouts read this, remember that the first Matagorda troop was organized twenty-five years ago and that the writer of this column was the first Scoutmaster. I hope some of you boys will be interested. The tale is true and you may believe it or not.


Matagorda County Tribune, Century of Progress Edition, August 26, 1937, Section  7, Pages 1 and 7

Boy Scouts meet on Monday nights at the Church. Scout Leaders Fuson and Smith in charge.

Palacios Beacon, May 17, 1928

Five Collegeport Boy Scouts Pass Tenderfoot Test

Collegeport, Texas, July 11.—Regular meeting of the Boy Scouts was held Monday evening, at which time five boys passed the Tenderfoot test. All who have not passed this test are requested to meet next Monday evening with the troop, and the Scout committee and parents of the boys are invited.

Remember the Legion meeting next Tuesday night at the barber shop. All be present.

The Woman’s Club met this week on Thursday afternoon at the home of Mrs. Carl Boeker.

Mr. and Mrs. Garner, of the Valley, who own property here, are in town this week having their house repaired.

Mr. Frank King is in the hospital at Gulf for treatment and to undergo an operation. Late reports indicate he is doing as well as could be expected.

The Kumjoinus Sunday School Class will hold a social at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Walt Myers, at Citrus Grove Friday evening of this week. All are invited to come and enjoy a pleasant evening.

Church services were well attended again last Sunday. Attendance keeps up well in spite of the hot weather. Sunday School teachers met for a business session Monday evening, when plans of interest for the school were discussed.

Palacios Beacon, July 12, 1928


Copyright 2011 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
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May 15, 2011
May 15, 2011