Troop 333 – 1948 – 2014
Pastor Garth Lee Hill and Bill Seitz, Sr. – April 27, 2008
St. James hosted a Boy Scout Troop for sixty six years. The troop was an integral part of the church and many young men learned outdoor skills, first aid, and other skills through St. James. In 2014, the Boy Scouts of America – under pressure from corporate sponsors – began changing it’s reliance on a moral compass as a part of Scouting. Troop 333 left the BSA and joined Trail Life USA and continues to this day!
It all began, as best we can tell, sometime in 1948. A new Pastor and a group of men at St. James Lutheran Church in Newton, NC decided to start a Boy Scout Troop. Pastor Garth Lee Hill, considered the pioneer of scouting for our troop, started the scouting program in the basement of the newly constructed brick parsonage. This brief historical summary was compiled by interviews of a few who were there in the very beginning and we apologize if we have omitted any names. Many members of St. James Lutheran Church and the St. James community were instrumental in helping to get this new program started.
The Troop began with 18 boys, several of whom are still current members of St. James. It was only natural that Pastor Hill would serve as the first Scoutmaster. Serving as his Assistant Scoutmaster was L. E. Sigmon, who also became the main source of transportation for the camping trips at that time. Bobby Sigmon later moved up from the Boy Scouts and also became an Assistant Scoutmaster. While not confirmed at this time, it is believed that the Troop was first designated as Troop 7. After a brief period of inactivity in the late 50’s, the Troop was re-designated as Troop 333 in the early 60’s when it resumed activity. Meetings during that time were held in the basement of the new Fellowship Building, which was constructed in 1960.
All Scout Troops are required by Council to have a local sponsor. Churches are the most common sponsors of scouting troops in the Piedmont Council of North Carolina. Our troop was sponsored in the beginning just as it is today by the North Carolina Lutheran Men in Mission of St. James.
The first Scouts consisted of:
Tom Alexander Reid Ickerd Bobby Sigmon
Bill Harris Bobby Lineberger Carroll Sigmon
Wilson Harris H. L. Lineberger Max Sigmon
Danny Huffman Norris McCree Richard Sigmon
Leon Huffman David Propst Von Sigmon
Jerry Ickerd Arville Sigmon Robert Smyre
Serving on the first Troop Committee were:
Joe Bost Fred Sigmon Sam Sigmon
Bill Seitz, Sr. Luther Sigmon Macon Smyre
Eual Sigmon M. H. Sigmon Glenn Young
It was the responsibility of the Troop Committee at that time to approve the Rank advancements, and to approve Merit Badges before the evolution of the Merit Badge Counselors. Recognition of these awards were held monthly for all scout troops in the area at a Court of Honor which rotated between the old Court House in downtown Newton and the First Methodist Church in Hickory. This continued at these locations through the 1960’s. Since the Church did not have a bus or van at that time, the Troop Committee was also responsible to make sure transportation was provided for the scouts to attend these special events.
Just like today, camping was one of the most popular scouting activities. The first campsite used by the troop was on the Seth Yount property, which is located near Abernethy Laurels off of highway 16. Other favorite campsites later used during this early period were the property of Yates Wyantt and the lake property of Fred Harbinson. The Piedmont Council Camp at that time was located in Tryon, NC known as Camp Schiele and continued there until 1981 when the current Camp Bud Schiele was opened in 1982. Several leaders of Troop 333 volunteered their time in the construction project of the new camp. For many of the original Scouts, their first trip to Camp Schiele was the first time that they had been away from home without their parents. As you can imagine, homesickness was a problem then just as it can be today. Transportation to the campsites was provided as mentioned earlier, by L. E. Sigmon. Scouts rode in the cab and on the back of his one-and-a- half-ton flat bed truck.
There were eleven Scoutmasters in Boy Scout Troop 333:
1. Garth Lee Hill 5. George Young 9. Mark Nixon
2. Fred Harbinson, Sr. 6. Eddie Cline 10. Dwight Ramseur
3. John Setzer 7. Steve Martin 11. Rob Sites
4. Bayne Setzer 8. Randy Cline 12. Greg Caldwell
The two highest achievements in Scouting are the Eagle Scout Rank and the God and Country Award (formally known as the Pro Deo Et Patria). Many of the projects required for these prestigious awards can be found throughout the property of St. James Lutheran Church. Some of these include the outdoor altar, rock lectern, flag pole, wooden playground equipment, meditation prayer area in the cemetery, softball field bleachers and backstop, the three crosses, recognition of Pastors serving St. James, landscaping projects, renovated nativity scene and the newly constructed sign in front of the church.
Fred Harbinson, Jr. was the first scout from Troop 333 to receive his Eagle Scout Award in October 1963. Since that time forty-two others have received their Eagle Scout Award. We congratulate all of these young men on such a great accomplishment and the parents and grandparents who supported them in this great achievement.
We offer a special thanks to all the members of St. James Lutheran Church who over the rich sixty-year history have supported Troop 333 both spiritually and financially in its many endeavors ranging from fundraising projects for summer camp, to the many Eagle and God and Country Projects mentioned above.
I want to especially thank Pastor Garth Lee Hill, Bill “Pop” Seitz, Sr., Arville Sigmon and Robert Smyre for their time in helping me assemble these facts concerning the early days of scouting at St. James. Pastor Hill, who now lives in Gilbert, S.C., congratulates the Troop on reaching this milestone. Both Arville and Robert shared some of the fun times they experienced in the early years. Most memorable was talking to Bill Seitz, Sr. who spoke of what scouting has meant to him and his family. Now in his upper eighties, he said, “I am still a Scout!” Yes you are “Pop” and we thank you, Pastor Hill and the others who had the ambition to pave the way for the rest of us to enjoy scouting these past sixty years!
If anyone has any corrections or additions to the information provided please let me know and it will be added to the version to be posted on the St. James Lutheran Church website.
Eagle Scouts of Troop 333
Fred Harbinson, Jr. October 1963
Ronnie Rudisill November 1963
Leon Moser January 1966
Clell Seitz August 1973
David Lindler January 1974
Louis Setzer, Jr. February 1975
Alex Sigmon August 1975
Johnny Smyre August 1975
Keith Sigmon January 1976
Paul A. Beatty, Jr. September 1976
Joe Sigmon December 12, 1982
Luther Ray June 17, 1983
Freddy Link December 5, 1990
Jonathan Toney April 11, 1991
Shawn Underwood May 30, 1991
Jonathan Deal January 9, 1992
Tommy Hullette August 9, 1992
Joe Cooke January 20, 1994
Charles Sigmon August 25, 1994
Josh Cline June 4, 1995
Kevin Yount August 20, 1995
Joe McManus July 28, 1996
Robbie Hullet October 9, 1997
Jeremy Hill January 8, 1998
Marty Black March 15, 1999
Joe Cline June 17, 1999
Steven Dick October 12, 1998
Dusty Wentz January 5, 2000
Jason Hill December 21, 2000
Zachary Kuhn April 19, 2001
Justin Ramseur November 21, 2002
Dillon Crouch March 3, 2003
Tim Willis August 19, 2004
Johnathon Holder October 21, 2004
Casey Wentz October 21, 2004
Bobby Jones October 21, 2004
Heredon Yocum December 30, 2004
Josh Buff December 30, 2004
Tommy Hullet June 16, 2005
David Caldwell September 15, 2005
Matthew Brooks February 7, 2007
Darby Crouch August 13, 2007
Jesse Peeler November 15, 2007
Benjamin Stewart, December 2015