Historical Comments on Raritan Council
by Joe Sakmyster
I was a member of John "Jack" Williamson's Troop No. 15 from 1949-1953. We met Tues nights at the 1st Baptist Church, High St in Perth Amboy.My father was a scoutmaster of a troop dedicated to Teddy Roosevelt meeting also in Perth Amboy. His troop believed in frequent camping experiences and outings. We visited Roosevelt's house in Oyster Bay Long Island on one outing.
Jack Williamson was scoutmaster for all the years I was with the troop. I remember meeting on Tuesday evenings because this was Milton Berle night on TV- we scouts pleaded with Jack to change the meeting date but he wouldn't do it. His personal passion was Camp Cowaw and getting the troop prepared for our weekly summer stay there. I was at the camp probably 5 weeks over 5 summers; my father perhaps a few weeks more with some supervisory duties.
My camp experience was generally positive except for the poison ivy I invariably came back with. I especially liked the swimming in the Delaware. We used a buddy system; the swim was for 40 minutes punctuated by 5 minute whistles where you had to find your "buddy". This drill might have been initiated following a fatal accident a preceding summer. My father was with a group of scoutmasters on the raft and one of the kids tried to swim under the raft. As I recall in my fathers telling, the kid came up short, hit his head on the raft and drowned.
Every year we hiked a few miles on the Appalacian Trail which ran thru or nearby. I recall only two other members of troop 15; one was Tom Williamson; Jack's son. He played the bugle all summer long at Cowaw. The other was Donald Lassen. In my father's troop, I only remember Ralph Tartaglioni.
Some photos from Summer Camp
Raritan Council History Home Page
May 8, 2014