Order of the Arrow Founded in 1915

The Order of the Arrow is a national brotherhood of honored campers of the Boy Scouts of America.  The organization was founded during the summer of 1915 at Treasure Island, the summer camp of Philadelphia Area Council, by E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edison.  The OA is based on the lore and legends of the Lenni-Lenape or Delaware Indians.  E. Urner Goodman was the camp director at the camp and Carroll A. Edison was serving as assistant director in charge of the commissary.

Founded in 1938 in Buffalo Trail Council

“Tatanka” is translated as “Buffalo.”  The “white buffalo” has become the symbol of the Buffalo Trail Council and the totem of the Tatanka Lodge.

As the Order of the Arrow spread from word of mouth from one camp to another over the ensuing years, lodges were organized in those Boy Scout Councils.  Tatanka Lodge 141 of the Buffalo Trail Council, Midland, Texas, was chartered in 1938.  The following story appeared in the Sweetwater Reporter on February 9, 1940, by Charlie Taylor:

“In 1938 an organization not known to most Scouts of the council was introduced to the boys at summer camp, the Order of the Arrow.
“The Scouts who attended camp for the last two years elected from the group the boys whom they considered the best campers, and these were nominated for places in the Order of the Arrow.
“After having attended the Thanksgiving initiation, were they took the Scout oath anew and took for the first time the oath of the Order of the Arrow, they each returned home with a new desire for better service to others.
“Sweetwater Scouts who are members of the Order of the Arrow are DeWitt Conley (Troop 40), Billy White (Troop 41), Charles Ritter (Troop 40), Lingo Brown (Eagle Scout of Troop 48), Tom Paxton (Eagle Scout) and Charlie Taylor.
“Leaders who live in Sweetwater and are members, are Lee Langley, H. D. Reed, J.M. Pendergrass, Chars E. Paxton (Council President), S. P. Gaskin (Scout Executive) and Paul Brown.
“All leaders of the organization are members.”

Another story on December 15, 1938 was published as follows:

Scout Organization To Hold Ceremony

“SWEETWATER, Dec. 15 – Investiture ceremonies for the Buffalo Trail Council’s chapter of the Order of the Arrow, national camping fraternity, will be held at 8 o’clock Saturday night, Dec. 17, at the Boy Scout cabin on Lake Sweetwater.  The ceremony will be a feature of an overnight camping program for scouts and scouters, beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday and closing at 8 a.m. Sunday.
“Order of the Arrow is an honor society, with membership composed of scouts and scouters.  Candidates for membership have been nominated by the camp staff of the Buffalo Trail Council and will be voted on by fellow members in camp.  This is the only chapter to be organized in the council.
“Scouts nominated for membership include Fred G. Middleton, Midland; Richard Thomas, Big Spring; Christino Alvarado, Odessa; Goodrich Hejl, Midland; Dick Sheehan, Hermleigh; Craig Porter, Colorado; Jim Purceil, Midland;, Charles Ritter, Billy White, and DeWitt Conley, Sweetwater; Wolford Hardly, Big Spring; Bartlett Strayhorn, Rolan; Pat McMullen and Jimmy Pickering, Midland, and Aubrey Headstream, Roby.
“Scout leaders eligible for membership in the Order include H. D. Redd, Dan Roberts, Jr., J. W. Pendergrass, Jimmy Beall, Charles E. Paxton, and Lee Langley.”

In a story that appeared in the Sweetwater Reporter on February 9, 1939, H. D. Reed, J. W. Pendergrass (Eagle Scout) and Henry Roberts, Jr. were listed as youth members from Sweetwater.  Adults included were Charles Ritter, Billy White, Jimmie Beall, DeWitt Conley and Charles Paxton.  All were elected the previous summer at Scout Summer Camp (1938) held at Camp Fawcett near Barksdale, TX.

Service Projects

Currently the lodge has 616 Arrowmen and has been recognized by OA National as an Honor Lodge.  For the past sixty-four years the lodge has served cheerfully throughout numerous projects at the Buffalo Trails Scout Ranch, Camp Ed Murphy, and Hughes Aquatic Base.   They have, just in the last couple of years, finished a project at Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch called the “Great Wall” which extended the parade ground.

Also with help of an OA National matching grant, they were able to supply water to the back country of Buffalo Trails Scout Ranch which has helped greatly to facilitate their programs out that way. They are building a retaining wall at the corrals and have repaired Buffalo Hall after wind ripped off a large portion of the roof.

At Hughes Aquatic Base, located on Lake Colorado City, the lodge has been working on two massive projects that will take some time yet to complete.  They are building pavilions at the campsites and have now completed two shelters so far.  The other massive project has been the building of a Medic Hut.  They moved a house from property donated to the council to the camp to serve as a new medic hut.  The hut is now in place with a new metal roof, insulated and sheetrocked.  The electrical has been run but they still need to finish out the sheetrock, paint and add a porch.

The lodge had accomplished many projects at the aquatic base.  One of their projects was work on and then to float a new dock. The dock was built on land, floated out to the end of the old dock, and then decked.

First Patches of the Lodge

First patch of lodge

This was the first patch of the lodge and was probably worn on a neckerchief which was the popular thing to do in those days.  Warren Wallace has one that is a black cloth neckerchief with the patch sewn on the back.  However, it could have also been worn on the right pocket of the uniform.  Date unknown as to when it was first issued but it was issued sometime prior to 1954.

First pocket-flap – 1954

First packet_flat of lodge

Current trading pocket-flap

Current trading patch

This was first issued in 1954 and is the first pocket-flap of the lodge.  Notice how the buffalo has changed shape from the patch above.  According to the Blue Book, 3rd Edition. some 106 different patches have been issued in the lodge.  Of course some of them are just different loom runs of the same patch with a few stitch variations in the run.  The buffalo in the patch has evolved over the years from being all black to black and brown, to brown and white, black and white and finally in about 1987 to a white buffalo as shown on your right above.