Jul 27, 2009

Memories of Camp Okee

While researching the history of Camp Okee in Gloucester County google presented me with a link to a story on Southern Scribe by Bob Faw about his experiences in 1964 at "the camp called Okie on the river named James."

Bob's story includes details about 1964 being the camp's last year after serving three decades of campers, so I sent him an email to see if his "Camp Okie" is in fact "Camp Okee" that previously served Peninsula Council. I also sought permission to link to his essay. Bob's reply confirmed that the camp from his memory was indeed Camp Okee, granted permission for me to link to his story, and promised to share additional memories about his experiences there:
Yes, I can add to your anecdotal archives about Okee--and the closing--as I was among the wrecking crew that laid her to rest. I have stories to tell about that summer: our mile swim and three-mile swamp wade; the open-sided Adirondacks we lived in and the tricks we played on each other and the "grubs"; the arrival of new campers and the tearful goodbyes from their sisters at the final campfires; skunk hunting--and catching; catching and cooking blue crabs on the shores of the James River; sneaking a canoe into Yorktown one night to play bingo and the phosphorescent micro-jellyfish that turned the bow wake into glowing green glass; the larger jellyfish that could get a camper to walk on water; campfire skits, nonsense songs, and comraderie ...

I'll try and remember to write down the best of the stories--especially the canoe trip, infecting the camp with "Frog Pox," and the skunk hunts (especially where the skunks ended up).
With thanks to Joyce Dixon, the owner of Southern Scribe, which hosts Bob's Story, I heartily recommend that you read Bob Faw's A Change of Life and join me in waiting eagerly for more stories of his Camp Okee days.

Jul 26, 2009

July 1999 Duck Calls posted to online archive

Larry Johnson kindly forwarded me scans of the Duck Calls newsletter from Lodge 333 for July, 1999 for inclusion on the online archive. I've created a PDF document of this edition and it's available now in case you've been waiting to find out what happened at the 1999 SR-7 Conclave hosted by Nawakwa Lodge.

Check the Duck Calls page for all of the online editions, and if you have an edition that's not posted please let me know!

Jul 24, 2009

Current 463 needs list posted

I took time to review my Kecoughtan Lodge 463 collection and confirm that I still have more than a few needs. You can have a look at the most recent version here. The items on the list are linked to pictures of the patches to make it easier to identify them quickly.

That 463 X12 pictured above is one of my Honor Member patch needs.

If you have any of these items that you are looking to trade or sell, please let me know!

Google search implemented for kecoughtan.com

When the site that became kecoughtan.com originally came online in 1996 there was no such thing as Google. Yahoo, Lycos, Altavista, and many others were the services that people used to find web sites.

When it came time to add search capabilities to this web site I had a short list of choices and selected freefind.com which has worked as advertised. Today I implemented a new custom google search on kecoughtan.com which enables you to search content on this site exclusively. Google has crawled every page and every PDF on this site, so your search will now include all of the newsletters and history documents as well.

Jul 15, 2009

Do these Kecoughtan Chapter patches really exist?

Last weekend I decided to spend time updating the long-neglected web page devoted to the Chapter Emblems of Kecoughtan Lodge. Way back in March Larry Johnson sent me pictures of several event patches for camporees sponsored by Wicomico Chapter that I needed to add.

Most of all I wanted to update the listings on the page to match those in Blue Book 6 - Standard Order of the Arrow Insignia Catalog. The Kecoughtan Chapter Emblems web page was originally created over a decade ago using Blue Book 2 (1998) which did not include any chapter emblem information. The listings were based upon the photocopied sheets of Kecoughtan Lodge patch data sent to me by the late Ron Godby in 1996.

I was surprised to discover that Blue Book 6 claims there are two versions of the first Pamunkey Chapter jacket patch, with the difference being whether the embroidered deer is brown or dark brown. It also claims that there is a second jacket patch for Piankatank Chapter with a dark blue border and multicolored background. I've never noticed any difference in the color of the deer on the Pamunkey jacket patch, and I've never seen any Piankatank Chapter jacket patch other than the pentagon-shaped J1.

How about you? If you have two Pamunkey Chapter J1 patches with obviously different deer, I'd love to see a side-by-side picture. If you have knowledge of any Piankatank jacket patch other than the J1, please let me know.

Jul 14, 2009

Kecoughtan Lodge listing in Blue Book First Edition

Hidden on John Pannell's oaimages.com web site is a fascinating bit of history - a complete copy of the very first Blue Book. Published in 1958, the official title of the publication is Order of the Arrow Lodge Listings, but the color of the cover is the only clue you need to understand how the later versions got their name.

Compiled by E. Forrest Reynolds, the booklet is barely over 50 pages, but these were the early days of the Order of the Arrow, and patch issues were still scant. Still, the amount of effort to compile the data in this document is almost incomprehensible when you remember that most of it had to be gathered in person or through postal mail.

The Kecoughtan entry lists just two items: an X issue and an F issue. "Wait!" you exclaim; "Kecoughtan Lodge never issued a flap patch that had a twill background." That is true, but as the abbreviation legend for this document explains, "F" simply indicates a flap shaped patch. It wasn't until later that "S" was used to indicate a flap with a solid embroidered background and "F" for flaps with twill background.

Check it out and be sure to tell John you appreciate his efforts to preserve and share such a vital part of OA patch reference history!

Jul 8, 2009

Can you spot the fake Kecoughtan Brotherhood flap?

Kecoughtan Lodge issued it's first flap recognizing Brotherhoods status in 1987. The S-10 issue is virtually identical to the S-6a and S-6b versions of the Lodge flap, except the arrow piercing the acorn is reduced slightly in size to make room for Brotherhood bars added at each end. A Vigil version of the flap was also produced, adding the Vigil triangle totem to the center of the acorn, at first behind the "W" (S-11) and later in front of it (S-12)

The Kecoughtan flaps featuring confederate flags were replaced with new designs in 1989 at the demand of a new Council executive. S13, 14, and 15 displayed the three ships that landed at Jamestown in 1607, and a special flap with this design was created specifically for the 1989 Boy Scout Jamboree (S-16).

Coincidentally, the 1989 Boy Scout Jamboree held at Fort AP Hill, Virginia, was where the first and only known Kecoughtan Lodge fake flaps were introduced by sources still unknown. The fake flaps were computer-designed reproductions of the Lodge's S-10 Brotherhood flap, and continue to fool many collectors and traders even to this day since their likeness is so similar to the genuine article.

Looking at the picture above can you tell which flap is an official issue from Kecoughtan Lodge and which is the unauthorized reproduction? Here are the clues you can use to spot the imposter:

The REAL Kecoughtan Lodge S-10 Brotherhood flap features:
  • white outline stitching has small amount of black space next to acorns and flags
  • large "W" in center acorn has a pointed center peak
  • FDL in center acorn is wider and has one dimensional appearance (not 3 segments)
  • stars on flag are not well defined, hard to see "points"
  • number "6" in "463" is blocky (not rounded)
  • top Brotherhood bar above the arrow does not touch the flag on the left side
The FAKE Kecoughtan Lodge ZS-1 Brotherhood flap features:
  • white outline stitching is tight and close to acorns and flags.
  • large "W" in middle acorn has a flat center peak
  • FDL in center acorn is skinny with 3 discernable components (center and 2 side parts)
  • stars on flags are sharp and defined, each with 5 points
  • number "6" in "463" is rounded
  • top Brotherhood bar above the arrow touches the flag on the left side
Now can you tell which one is fake? If you chose the bottom flap in the picture, you're right.

You can view all of the official Lodge 463 flaps on the Kecoughtan Lodge Flap Issues page. Fakes and other unauthorized emblems are cataloged on the Unauthorized/Unofficial Issues page.

The McSmith 463 Chief leather round

Then Pamunkey Chapter Chief Gary McSmith lost a close election to Bill Irwin at the 1976 Spring Ordeal to become the Kecoughtan Lodge Chief succeeding Rone Baldwin, according to the July edition of the Kecoughtan Kryer.

McSmith's campaign for Kecoughtan Chief included a leather round emblem (see above) that is often mistaken for an official Kecoughtan issue. Although it includes the Kecoughtan Lodge totem and number, it was not issued by the Lodge, but remains an interesting piece of Lodge history. Gary and his father Duane McSmith hand made leather round emblems for the 1975 Section SE-1 Indian Seminar that are official Section emblems.

Thanks to Michael McCaughan of Blue Heron Lodge for sharing the images above with me. To see other interesting unofficial Kecoughtan Lodge emblems, check out the Unknown/Unauthorized Issues page.

Jul 7, 2009

1975 Section SE-1 Indian Seminar leather emblem

The Dec. 1974 Kecoughtan Kryer reported that Kecoughtan Lodge accepted a challenge from the SE-1 Council of Chiefs to be the first lodge in the nation to host both a Section Indian Seminar and Newsletter Editor Workshop to be held at Camp Chickahominy on March 22, 1975.

The May 1975 Kryer reports that national experts Charles Taylor and Ben Stone from Oklahoma, Ron Head from Massachusetts, and Jay Dunbar from New Jersey provided Indian lore information. The newsletter editor workshop was handled by the Section Newsletter Advisory Committee, headed up by Sam Fairchild.

Kecoughtan Arrowman Mike Kinzie was originally appointed as seminar coordinator for the event, but had to relinquish the position when he was appointed as Section Chief. Kecoughtan Chief Ed Dadez appointed Gary McSmith to the role of seminar coordinator, and Chris Currier served as the seminar's program director.

A little known fact about the 1975 SE-1 Indian Seminar is that the leather emblems provided by Kecoughtan Lodge to its attendees were hand made by Gary McSmith and his father, Duane McSmith.

When I asked Gary about it via email in October of 2007, he confirmed this for me, describing the emblem as an "acorn and feather motif round," and remembering:
"My dad soldered a copper motif, I soaked the leather rounds and pressed them in a very large 'Rock Island' bench vise in my Dad's workshop on Homestead Avenue in Hampton.

 The fletching marks along the feather were made with a hammer and a small flathead craftsman screwdriver."

Bayport Scout Reservation 2009 patch added

Larry Johnson provided me with the picture you see above of the 2009 edition of the Bayport Scout Reservation patch. This version includes the text "Rappahannock Scout Camp," which according to the Bayport web site, offers the "traditional summer camp experience."

The design features the Birdsong Center and lighthouse climbing tower, as well as a sailboat, which are all prominent features of the Council's 300 acre Scout Reservation that opened for summer camping for the first time in 2007.

You'll find pictures of all of Bayport's emblems to date available on the Colonial Virginia Council Camp Emblems page.

Jul 5, 2009

Camp Waters 1950's items added

Several months ago Ben Vincent sent me many pictures of Old Dominion Area Council camp emblems. The Fourth of July weekend has finally given me time to add a few of them, including the patch pictured above that Ben advises was used for Camp Waters in the early 1950's. Since it doesn't have the Camp Waters name on it I have always assumed that it was an early Council patch for ODAC.

Ben also provided pictures of the neckerchiefs used at the camp during the same timeframe. It's interesting to note that the Indian profile and deer design were later adopted by the Council's OA Lodge for the totem on their patch designs.

I've added pictures of these items to the Old Dominion Area Council Camps page and will be adding more soon.

Jul 3, 2009

Camp Chickahominy 1991 patch set completed

Larry Johnson spotted my need for a picture of the blue bordered Cub version of the 1991 Camp Chickahominy 25th anniversary edition patch (pictured above), and kindly sent a scan along so that I could complete the set.

1991 was a special year for Peninsula Council as Camp Chickahominy celebrated it's 25th year of serving as the Council's camp, and Kecoughtan Lodge celebrated it's 40th anniversary.

Below is a picture of each version of the 1991 Camp Chickahominy patch with the different borders representing the special status of their wearer.