ARCHIVED BOY SCOUTS HISTORY –Part I
ALAMO AREA COUNCIL, BSA, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
The first Scout troop organized in San Antonio was effected October 7, 1910, with George S. Chessum the scoutmaster. At the time, Chessum was the director of the YMCA and that organization sponsored the troop.
This was just a few months after Scouting was brought to the United States from England, where Baden-Powell launched the boy movement two years before. Thus, it is quite probable that Chessum and his troop were the first in Texas and what is today our South Central Region.
Our council also appears to have been the first one organized in Texas and our South Central Region.
The record shows that “on May 16, 1912, at the annual reorganization, the first Boy Scout Council was perfected.” This was less than two years after the first troop had been organized.
On May 24, 1912, the San Antonio Light reported: “At a luncheon held at the St. Anthony Hotel today, it was decided the name of the local Boy Scout Council should be: the Alamo Council, Boy Scouts of America.”
One word and eight counties were added 16 years later. The word was “area” and it officially became Alamo Area Council, BSA. The eight counties added were Kerr, Kendall, Live Oak, Bandera, Bee, McMullen, Karnes, and Wilson. Atascosa County, which had already joined the council, brought the membership to 10 counties in 1928.
Next expansion came in 1935, when Comal, Guadalupe, Frio, LaSalle, and Medina Counties came into the council. These 15 counties for the next 37 years formed our Alamo Area Council. It dropped to 13 counties in 1972, when Bee and Live Oak were realigned with the Gulf Coast Council headquartered at Corpus Christi.
As to our claim to have been the first council organized in Texas – May 16, 1912 – records show the council headquartered at Dallas was organized in 1913 and the one at Houston in 1916. It should be noted that San Antonio’s being the first would not be unusual: it was the largest city in the State of Texas at that time.