Eldred Letter - 1940

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Letter written March 28, 1940  (1940) 
by Arthur Rose Eldred

New York, March 28, 1940

Mr. W. S. Boardman, Principal
Oceanside Senior High School
Oceanside, New York


Dear Mr. Boardman:

Referring to your letter of March 14th requesting certain information regarding scouting in Oceanside and my connection therewith.

The start of scouting in Oceanside was brought about by the fact that in Rockville Center in 1910 there was a troop of the American Boy Scouts, an organization which was sponsored to a large extent by William Randolph Hearst. This group drilled in what was then the Rockville Center Club, which I believe is now known as the Masonic Lodge. The American Boy Scouts were primarily concerned with military drill and practically all of their activities were along this line.

My brother, Hubert W. Eldred, went to New York City to see about the organization of a unit of American Boy Scouts in Oceanside but in some way went to the headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America and was so impressed by the ideals of that organization that he decided to start a troop of Boy Scouts of America. The troop was known as Troop No. 1 of Rockville Center and my brother acted as scout master of the troop. This was due to the fact that we lived on Terrell Avenue and received our mail at that address by carrier. All the boys, however, who belonged to the troop attended the Oceanside School. I am sure that this was the first troop on the south shore of Long Island and it may have been the first troop in Nassau County, although I know that there was a troop at Roslyn. Our troop was instrumental in starting the first troop at Freeport, Long Island.

The troop met in our barn on Terrell Avenue, which had a second floor where various scouting activities could be conducted. We were quite active and formed a part of the guard of honor that met Sir Baden-Powell at the pier when he visited this country in 1911. At the first rally which was held of the Boy Scouts of America in the City of New York at the 71st Regiment Armory in February 1911, our troop put on the most spectaculor demonstration in building a signal tower 20 feet high out of saplings and giving a demonstration of signalling. As a result of this demonstration, we were invited to visit a number of troops in Westchester County and in New York City and explained to them some of our activities.

I was awarded the Eagle Scout Badge in April, 1912. There was, of course, no local court of honor but I secured affidavits from local men who examined me on various subjects for merit badges. Later I was called in to the national headquarters where I was examined again by representatives of the national staff as they wanted me to be sure that I was properly qualified. Mr. Daniel Beard examined me on several subjects personally. Mr. Longfellow, who wrote the articles on life-saving and swimming in the Scout Manual, examined me on those subjects and Mr. West and several others grilled me rather thoroughly, as I remember it. When I was awarded the Eagle Scout Badge, I was a student in the Oceanside School, and I believe that I was the first one to receive a Regents’ Certificate after the High School was approved as a senior high school. It was not until September 1912 that I actually received the Eagle Scout Badge as there had been no dies made. I entered Cornell University in the fall of 1912. Most of the boys were then around 17 or 18. I believe the early part of 1913 the troop more or less disbanded as my brother left Rockville Center about that time.

I trust this will answer your questions and will give you a little background of the scouting activities at that time.

Yours very truly,

ARE:M

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