Scouting History

Scouting History in the Heart of America Council - June 2015

by Andy Dubill, Council Historian

Chief Bartle Arrives at Camp to his Favorite Camp Song

It always seemed that Chief Bartle managed to arrive from Kansas City around mealtime in the early 1940’s. His big, black car “would roar around the dining lodge a couple of times and then he would make his grand entrance to the delight of staff and campers alike,” recalled Bob Merrill (Medicine Man Fast Squirrel) over fifty years later. “You never knew the Chief to do anything quietly!” When Chief Bartle exited his car, the entire assemblage of Scouts, leaders and staff would break into a chorus of "The Big Chief":

An Indian Chief with a big red nose
Got stuck on an Indian Maid,
And every night when the moon was bright
Across the Osage he'd wade.
He'd sit and croon to his dusky moon
Under the big oak tree.
And when they met they sang a duet
That sounded like this to me:
Eewah cheewah Osceola!

This was both a tribute and a welcome to the Chief upon his arrival.

The old dining hall was the social center of camp and was used through 1950. A small balcony was added on the inside, in addition to the picnic-pavilion annex on the outside. After the meals were complete, campers would sing, enjoy skits, listen to stories told by the camp staff and be entertained by those musically inclined. This always helped keep camp morale high.

Favorite songs and staff singers that campers remember include:

Chief Bartle –“Trail to Eagle”, “The Hills of Osceola” and “Tell Me Why”
Skipper Joe Macy – “On the Banks of the Wabash”
Ike Wall – “Ivan Skavitsky Skivar”
Finley Fiske – “Smile and the World Smiles With You”
Doc Soule – “Alouette”
Pappy Grube – “Valley Will Roll” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic”

If you have questions about Scouting history that would be good topics for future columns email Andy Dubill at adubill@aol.com .