Scouting History in the Heart of America Council — December 2013
by Andy Dubill, Council Historian
H. Roe Bartle and the "Holy Writ"
When Camp Osceola was preparing to open in the summer of 1930, the water supply was a serious problem for the camp. During the construction period, water was hauled into camp from Iconium for the work crews. In the middle of June, drilling began to find a below ground water source to be utilized in time for the July 7th camping session.
On July 5th, a well had been drilled through 230 feet of limestone, but no water had been found. Now H. Roe Bartle faced a huge problem. July 6th was a Sunday and the well driller had explained that he was a Deacon in the Southern Baptist Church and his faith would not allow him to work on Sunday. The Chief summoned him to camp and drew upon all of his knowledge of the “Holy Writ” in his debate with the well driller. Bartle reminded the well driller that the Bible said, “If your ox falls into the ditch you must pull him out, even if it is on the Sabbath Day.”
After an hour of persuasion and quoting scripture, the well driller agreed to continue the search for water. At one o’clock in the afternoon on that Sunday, water was struck at 250 feet and a serious problem was averted. This first well remained in use for many years before it was replaced by a more modern system.
If you have Scouting history questions or suggestions for future articles, please email Andy Dubill at email@example.com.