Days of Yore
.
as recounted by

Bill Day

 


The first Boy Scout Troop
What can be more monotonous than reading a list of names?  However, scan the following list in its entirety to make what follows more interesting:  Charlie Haddon, Alfred Sweeten, Arthur Steward, Mont Shinn, Newton Hughes, Herbert Shivers, William Arouse, Nelson Millington, Harry Grave, Roland Reeve, Ernie Farrington, Wesel Myers, Ralph DeCou, Henry C. Beck, Dick Meeteer, Morse Archer, Jr., and Williard L. Foehl.

Still awake?  Now here is the story:
In the fall of 1914 these boys comprised the first Boy Scout troop in Haddonfield.  The Scoutmaster was William Lindsey of Springfield terrace, and the troop advisor and assistant was Reverend Carl Morgan Block, a newcomer in town, the Episcopal minister, who had recently been graduated from the military academy at West Point.  Troop One met in the Board Room of the Grace Episcopal Church.

After every boy became a Tenderfoot, the first big event was a visit to Crows Woods, then Riley's Woods out Centre street, and then to the nearby home of Reverend Robinson, (a retired missionary from the Dakotas), to see his fine selection of Indian wares.  Hanging on the walls were spears, tomahawks, bow and arrows, blankets and pottery.

The trip then proceeded to the last dairy farm in Haddonfield.  It was near the Woods with the colonial framed old farmhouse, badly in need of paint, at the present site of the Wedgewood Swim Club.  This was the first visit for all, and the buttermilk served had bits of butter floating in the drink.  Its had been chilled in the springhouse in the ravine.  The farmer, Bill Dwyer, and his wife, milked the cows that the boys inspected.

MR F. Morse Archer, Sr. invited the troop to visit his summer home on Long Beach Island for a weekend of fun and to study for second class scouting.  That Saturday evening there was roasting potatoes on a stick over a campfire near the base of the Barnegat Light while shipwreck stories were told, while learning to sing "Found a Peanut'.  Out of the darkness stepped a Coast Guardsman who asked where the group was from.  That surprise visit caused many a duck bump to appear.

Another event was a hike along Marlton pike, now Route 70, to the nearby village of Marlton for a swim in a cedar water creek and a drink in the village spring.  Halfway down the pike, a farm was passed and hogs were being slaughtered.  That was too much for a few of the boys and they left the group and returned to Haddonfield.

After weekly meetings and drills in the Church Recreation Room, the boys would amble next door the Flitcraft's Drug Store for a phosphate, five cents, on an ice cream cone, ten cents.

Every boy had a uniform, but none matched.  Could they have been poor dye jobs?  Willard L. Foehl, the bugler of the troop, furnished the material for this story.  Will's roots in Haddonfield extend back to the turn of the century.  His father was the mathematics instructor at the Reilly Military Academy when it existed up near Lake view avenue.

Wasn't if flavorful to read the names that were in that troop so long ago and visualize those now staid adults when they were youngsters?


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