Cub Scouts to plant new tree and bury time capsule near courthouse

Published 3:58 pm Friday, September 21, 2018

By Margueritte Jackson

Special to The Post-Searchlight

Thirty-three years ago, in 1981, a dogwood tree was planted on the east side of the courthouse lawn by the Azalea Garden Club in honor of the members of Boy Scout Troop #503. A plaque marks the spot where the tree once stood, but the tree died over the summer and was removed this week.

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When the dead tree was cut down and the stump removed, an interesting discovery was made. Buried down in the hole was a small Mason jar.

The crew of workers, headed by Anthony Strong, gave the jar to County Clerk of Courts, Cecilia Willis. Inside were 28 slips of paper, each bearing the name of a Boy Scout and the leaders of the troop 503, which was sponsored by the Methodist Church.

Willis had a nostalgic experience as she cleaned the dirt from the lid and opened the jar. Removing the musty smelling slips one at a time, she found the names of many of her old classmates, some of whom have since passed away.

The names inside are: Jay Turknet, Tra Palmer, Charles Palmer, Ben Cox, Ryan Shirley, Andy Payne, Rusty Poitevant, John Swicord, Russell Crum, Daryl Willis, Ed Robinson, Steve Parker, Sid Copeland, Eric Atkinson, Doug Duncan, Chris Powell, Rickie Wynn, Kevin Toole, Clay Davis, Roy McMillan, Kenny Hollis, Tommy Hollis, Gary Collins, Trey Gossett, Raymond Powell, Roger Yates, Tony Hamilton.

One of the scouts, Ryan Shirley, remembers he was there. He was ten years old at the time, but the event left an impression on him. He doesn’t recall what may have prompted the tree planting, but assumes it was a need at the courthouse and the scout troop was performing some community service, perhaps to earn a merit badge. He said the troop was and continues to be sponsored by the Methodist Church. His scoutmaster was Roger Yates.

Plans are to plant a new tree at that location in the spring and replace the jar of names for posterity. The event will be held Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 6 p.m.

Attempts were unsuccessful to obtain additional information. If anyone has more knowledge about the event, the Azalea Garden Club (which apparently no longer exists), or has a copy of the photo, which is said to have appeared in The Post Searchlight at the time, please let us know.