This afternoon I went with Nita Purser to the 115th Camp Ben McCulloch Reunion at Camp Ben McCulloch Park on FM 1826 in Driftwood. It was built in 1904 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Throughout the eight-day Reunion, there is music, dancing, camping, swimming, food, a carnival, bingo, games and washer pitching.
Camp Ben McCulloch was organized in the summer of 1896 with probably seventeen members. Beginning about 1930 it was the largest United Confederate Veterans Camp in the South. The camp was named in honor of General Ben McCulloch, who was killed while serving with the Confederate forces in the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, March 7, 1862. He had also served with distinction as a private in the Battle of San Jacinto and later with the Texas Rangers and in the United States Forces in the War with Mexico.
Nita and her family used to attend camp meetings there when she was a child. The original concrete picnic tables were inscribed with memorials to Confederate veterans who had served at the Fort during the Civil War. I wasn’t able to get any good photos of them because of poor lighting conditions.
We went across the highway to the famous Salt Lick Restaurant for a late barbeque lunch. We split a standard plate of lean brisket, potato salad, pinto beans, coleslaw, pickles and bread. We had plenty to eat! It was very tasty. Because of the heat we chose to eat inside. In 1967, Thurman Roberts, Sr. and his wife Hisako T. Roberts started the Salt Lick Restaurant on the ranch where he was born. The stones of the building were quarried from that same ranch. Everything was done by them with their own hands. They have a humorous slogan: "You can smell our pits from miles away."
After lunch we took a few photos before heading back to the campground. We had the good fortune to find a parking space right by the tabernacle. Then we walked down to Onion Creek, where the water flow was very low due to the drought. We took lawn chairs because we had planned to sit by the water for a while. However, the odor was unpleasant due to the stagnant water, so we headed back up to the tabernacle where we enjoyed a refreshing breeze.
We stayed for the first musical program by The Kyle Family (www.kylefamily.com). The group consists of two brothers and three sisters. They sang mostly southern gospel, inspirational and country songs. They have a morning radio program based in Dripping Springs. They announced a special visitor, former University of Texas football coach, Darrell Royal. He is well up in years now and he signed his autograph with difficulty due to arthritis in his hands.
Back home, Nita visited with me a while. We chatted until nearly 4:00 a.m.! We don’t see each other very often since she moved to Georgetown, so we had a lot of catching-up to do.