Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, February 14, 2016, pg. 9
This week we bring to you another 100th anniversary recognition. As the scouting movement swept the nation in 1910, Albion soon joined in. The earliest mention of local scouting Iíve come across was from the Albion Recorder in its weekly September 1, 1910 edition. It was on Friday, August 26, 1910 that Albion Playground (recreation) Director Fred Lampman organized the first scout troop in Albion. It 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. The Recorder stated: "These patrols have applied for membership in the national organization known as the Boy Scouts of America." Unfortunately for whatever reason, this troop apparently did not survive. A few years later in 1915, boys in Albion began joining the Lone Scouts of America, an alternative to the BSA, and they were active here until the national Lone Scouts were finally merged with the BSA in 1924.
It was on March 14, 1916 however, that some boys met with Albion College student Earl Neller and organized a troop that was destined to make history. One hundred continuous years later, local Troop 158 is still in existence and will be celebrating that accomplishment in a few weeks. William C. Harton, an early troop Scoutmaster himself and local high school principal, wrote about its origins on page 149 of Albionís Milestones and Memories (1932): "Scouting in Albion can be said to date from March 14, 1916 when a group of boys met at the home of [15-year-old] Rae Corliss on  Austin Avenue for the purpose of organizing a Boy Scout Troop."
Continuing, "The boys found a leader in Earl Neller, a college student. Upon leaving college, Mr. Nellerís place was taken by another college man, Ernest Hartman, who in turn was following by another student, Harry Brewer. During the summer of 1916 these boys camped at Eaton Rapids on the Grand River. It was at this place that Rev. David E. Reed became interested in the Scout movement. His interest resulted in his becoming the scoutmaster of this troop, known as Troop One , serving in this capacity for three years." Other troops followed, with the number of local scout troops peaking here in the 1950s and 1960s. Now, 100 years later, we are back down to just one troop, just as when Albionís scouts began in 1916.
The present Scoutmaster of Troop 158 (originally organized as Troop 1) is David Huber, assisted by David Farley who previously served as Scoutmaster for many years. There was a nice write-up about the Troop in the Albion Rotary Club booklet that came out last year and was recently re-distributed with the Morning Star a few weeks ago, describing its history, philosophy, purpose, and goals. The troop is sponsored by the First Methodist Church.
From our Historical Notebook this week we have a real treat. It is a photograph of the boys of Troop 1 and their original organizing leader, Earl Neller, in 1916 the year they were organized. The boys apparently played some baseball together and can be seen holding bats and a catcherís mitt. Rae Corlissí brother Glenn was a member of this first troop, and this photo was published and described as such in the November 23, 1957 edition of the Journal of Albion weekly feature newspaper.
The identities are as follows: Front row, left to right: Leon Manning, Clyde Lampman (son of the 1910 Fred Lampman who originally brought scouting to Albion; Clyde became a Methodist minister), and Howard Smith. Center row: Kenneth Wallace, unidentified boy, Mr. Earl Neller, Harold Wilson (he became a school teacher in Detroit), and Glenn Arthur Corliss (1905-1922), brother of Rae. Top row: Melvin Reed (he became an Army colonel in the Pentagon), Charles Luce, Leon Ford, and an unidentified boy.
As a bonus this week we also present an advertisement for a local Boy Scout fund-raiser movie shown at the Censor Theatre, 217 S. Superior St., operated by George Bohm. This silent film was entitled "The Adventures of a Boy Scout." The movie was shown on Friday, June 1, 1917. It was billed as "A benefit for the Albion branch of the Boy Scouts of America." There were five showings that day, and admission was 15Ę. Wouldnít it be great if that film still exists today and it could be shown at the Bohm Theatre sometime this year?
Congratulations Troop 158 on your 100th anniversary! The people of Albion salute you, and we thank you for your 100 years of service to our community!
Boy Scout Troop One, Journal of Albion, November 23, 1957
Boy Scout Movie Poster, June 1, 1917
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic