The Boy Scouts began in England early in the 20th century and in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America were founded. Scouting has been a part of Millinocket’s youth history for many years. Rodney Gagnon, a Millinocket native, rose through the ranks of local scouting and became one of many in this town who achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Gagnon has been making regular trips to the historical society museum and has donated his complete scout uniform. On his most recent visit, he donated a 1970’s Boy Scout handbook.
We brought out the container of scouting artifacts that had been moved from the municipal building museum location and reviewed the treasures there. A display will be available for viewing soon. There is a 1916 copy of Boy Scouts of America, Handbook for Boys. It is the 3rd printing (1911 & 1914, 1st & 2nd printings). This makes it the updated original handbook for the scouts in America. Gagnon called it “a treasure.” A page near the front describes “The Boy Scout Plan” as Not Military, Teaching However Loyalty, Patriotism, Chivalry, and Advocating Universal Peace. One page is for recording the merit badges earned by the scout and the list includes angling, interpreting, marksmanship and poultry keeping among others. Advertisements include one for “The Boy Scouts Great Ally, Shredded Wheat. In a cross-country hike or the up-hill carry, in work or in play, in any emergency, shredded wheat furnishes the strength and stamina that fits him to hold up his end of the game.” The ad goes on for two more paragraphs. This book was donated to the museum in 1981 by the Wheeler family.
Other artifacts in the Wheeler donation are Boy Scout handbooks from and 1930 and 1932. John Wheeler’s membership card dated 5/2/1917 made him a scout in the early days of Maine Boy Scouts (first councils in Maine, 1915). The card has him in Fox Patrol, Troop #1 in Millinocket, ME. His 1920 card has him in Beaver Patrol. The collection also has his merit badges for electricity and first aid, plus his cards as assistant scout master, 1933.
Also at the museum are Bear Scout, Bear Cub Scout and Webelos scouting books donated by Joan Carr. From 1933 is a membership card for Troop #56 for Clayton Currie and a reproduction of a 1919 Boy Scout poster donated by Helen Currie. Shirley Tippens donated a small plaque with the scout oath. These last artifacts were all donated some years ago when the museum was on Penobscot Avenue.
Note: Limited, advance sale tickets for Bill Geller’s talk at the Millinocket Literary club’s spring luncheon, April 17, available at museum.
***Available at the museum store………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
3. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
4. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form; please order by mid-May for this year’s placement.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM weather permitting.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.