Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

ALBION BOY SCOUTS BEGAN IN 1910

Morning Star, January 17, 2010, pg. 9

Have you noticed the nice Boy Scouts historical display in the window at the General Store in downtown Albion? I encourage you to go down there and take a look. This year marks a special anniversary for the Boy Scouts: The scouting movement is 100 years old this year! In commemoration of that milestone the U.S. Mint will be issuing a special commemorative silver dollar featuring the Boy Scouts.

Locally, Albion jumped at the opportunity for scouting right from the beginning. It was on Friday, August 26, 1910 that Albion Playground (recreation) Director Fred Lampman organized the first two scout patrols in Albion, and served as Albion’s first Scoutmaster. The first troop consisted of two patrols with the following members: Patrol No. 1: LeGrand Rickard, leader; Scouts: Kirk Armstrong, Harry Harrod, Ellery Oakes, and Harry Ott. Patrol No. 2: Ora Richardson, leader; Scouts: Richard Holtz, Will Holtz, John Holtz, and Harry Cole. “These patrols have applied for membership in the national organization known as the Boy Scouts of America,” stated the Albion Recorder in its Thursday, September 1, 1910 weekly edition.

The boys were enrolled as “Tenderfeet” (as stated) for a month, then went through a training period in order to become a Second Class Scout. Mr. Lampman stated at the time, “One good thing about the plan is that the boys will always have something to learn, and something to work for. These eleven boys….must serve as Tenderfeet for a month, have elementary first aid and bandaging, signaling, and elementary knowledge of semaphore or Morse alphabet; be able to track another half a mile in 25 minutes, or describe satisfactorily the contents of one store window out of four observed for one minute; lay and light a fire using not more than 2 matches; cook a quarter of a pound of meat and two potatoes without cooking utensils other than the regulation billy; have at least twenty-five cents in a savings bank, and know the principal points of the compass.”

The local Albion Recorder in its weekly edition dated September 1, 1910 stated, “But the study does not even then cease. The boy who wishes to become a First Class Scout must bring in a Tenderfoot trained by himself, have more money in the bank, and learn several other more difficult things than were at first required. “In this way, the movement perpetuates itself,” said Mr. Lampman.”

A third patrol of Boy Scouts was organized by Fred Lampman just a few days later, on Monday August 29, 1910. The leader of this patrol was Austin Beebe. A couple of the boys from the second patrol were transferred to the third to help with membership numbers. This third patrol consisted of the following boys: Truman Cummings, F. D. Cummings, Ernest Bretz, Kirk Armstrong, Donald Dearing, Harry Harrod, Ralph Kimball, and Leo Hanlon [Note: Leo was Albion’s first World War I casualty, and our local American Legion post is named in his memory]. Soon afterwards, a fourth patrol was added consisting of the following boys: Warren Nowlin, Thomas Whitehead, Floyd Ratz, and Lyle Eastman.

The first scout headquarters in Albion was at the former Frank E. Nowlin building on W. Michigan Avenue. It was described as “the red building.” There used to be several peaked-roof buildings just south of the railroad tracks between N. Superior and N. Clinton Sts., and this apparently was one of them. Local banker David A. Garfield (of the Albion State Bank) donated the first month’s rent. The first Scout meeting here occurred on Monday, September 12, 1910.

Perhaps the Scouts 100th anniversary could be a theme for this year’s Festival of the Forks. Just look at all of the successful Eagle Scout projects that have been accomplished around our town in the last several years by this special group of boys in our community. It would be interesting to compile a list of all of the Eagle Scout projects by Albion scouts over the last 100 years. Albion is certainly a better community because of the Boy Scouts of America and their participation in various projects, parades and events here over the past 100 years.

How long did these original 1910 patrols exist? I don’t know, but they must have folded at some point because “official” writings date Albion’s first involvement in the scouting movement on March 14, 1916 at the home of Rae Corliss on Austin Avenue. The original local news accounts of 1910 however which I discovered on microfilm no doubt takes Albion back to the beginnings of the scouting movement—100 years ago! Congratulations to our local scouting movement on its upcoming 100th anniversary!


1943 portrait of Robert "Bobby" Parker, Eagle Scout

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All text copyright, 2013 © all rights reserved Frank Passic

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