Troop 37 History 1916 - 1945

The following history of Troop 37 is based on the written and spoken words of many men of the community who belonged to the troop at one time. This necessitated the writing of at least150 letters making numerous telephone calls and traveling various distances for personal conferences. Ten to twenty replies were received to the letters that were sent and many of the men that were contacted personally had much to contribute. The greatest amount of information was derived from those men who had been associated with the troop many, many years ago.

This history is not accurate in many details due to human error in remembering and connecting dates, names and places. Most of the dates mentioned prior to 1935 are approximate and it is certain that many important events have not been included. The greatest credence was given to affairs which were vivid in the minds of two or more participants. The listing of names which has been included at the end of the history cannot possibly be accurate. It seems certain that the names of troop members have been left out and that possibly names of non-troop members have been included. The bulk of this history will cover the period prior to 1935 with some attention being given to the period from 1936-1942. The names of scoutmasters only will be listed after this period. It is hoped that some ambitious individual will proceed to complete this enormous chore at some future date.

Scouting had its official start in Hyde Park in 1916. However, the reports of many men seems to indicate that scouting in some form was in operation prior to that time. A number of men have talked of a hike to the old Fair Grounds at Washington Hollow. They slept in tents on the fair ground and stayed there for a few days. The date for this event has been located sometime between 1912-15. These men also state that they had scout uniforms of some type which they wore. There is little question that the county YMCA program was very active during that period, and it is hard to differentiate between the two organizations. The Hyde Park Association was the local unit which operated through the YMCA under the supervision of Henry Wicker. This was located in the old gym once a Baptist Church and now the Florence Walsh Factory. Camping activities took place at Millers' Pond between Lafayette and Stanfordville. The camp site located at this Pond served a dual purpose. For a portion of the summer it was Camp Dutchess for the YMCA and for the remainder of the summer was the original Camp Nooteeming for the Boy Scouts. According to Mr. Wicker the first two county commissioners for scouting were W. Jordan and Ben Tremper.

The first official scouts in Hyde Park were formed as Troop 1 in 1916. Scouting in the United States had been in operation about six years at this time and local interest was aroused in the movement. Mr. Paul Redmond, of Red Hook, hired three men to act as scoutmasters in Hyde Park, Red Hook and Rhinebeck. Max A. von der Hayden was sent to Hyde Park to serve as scoutmaster at a salary of $80 per month. Mapledoram Fink became the first assistant scoutmaster and the troop committee included Grant Dickinson, j. Sterling Bird, Edward P. Newton and Edward C. Reise. The troop was officially registered with the national office as Troop 1 of Hyde Park in March 1917. Mr. von der Hayden stayed one year, moved to Rhinebeck and was replaced by Mr. Fink. At the conclusion of another year, Mr. Fink left for military service and was replaced by Mr. Newton who served until 1921. Assistant Scoutmasters during this period included Sterling Dickinson, Allen Velie, Walter M. Pratt and Lee F. Taylor.

The troop was very active during this period of its history and a number of major events are recalled by the members. The two week hike through the Catskills in one event which is remembered by all. The group took the night boat from the Hyde Park dock and disembarked at Saugerties. The boys hauled a covered wagon which carried all of their equipment and supplies. The itinerary of the trip went roughly as follows: Quarryville - Haines Falls - Tannersville - Edgewood - Lanesville - Chichester - Phoenicia - Mount Tremper - Shokan - Ashokan - West Hurley - Stony Hollow - Kingston Ferry - Hyde Park. Participants in the trip were Scoutmaster von der Hayden, Assistant Scoutmaster Allen Velie, Committeemen: Bird, G. Dickinson and Dr. Newton, scouts: James Bayles, Harold Conley, Arnold Dickinson, Louis Freer, Harold Lane, Calbert Lester, Harold Herrmann, Sr., Harold Lane, Calbert Lester, Everett Miller, Elting Oakley, Walter Paul and Roy Rider.

Events on the trip which are recalled include living for one or two days on dried prunes and bread and then having a feast of Goulash near Haines Falls. Beans also appeared to be a staple of diet but for some reason the cook neglected to add water and the beans became more like marbles. The long haul up the mountain to Tannersville was almost too much for the boys and finally the services of a farmer with a team of was procured. This made the rest of the trip up the mountain a pleasure. It seems that the picture taken on the trip (by Sterling Bird) was adjacent to a trout steam near Tannersville or Palenville. The stream was so full of trout that bread on a hook was sufficient lure. This morning, the boys feasted on fried trout. The boys stayed nearly a day with the army troop stationed near the reservoir. They drilled with the soldiers and feasted on plenty of food for the day.

The first troop meeting place was known as The Wrens Nest. This is the little house on the East side of the Post Road across from the entrance to Kirchner Avenue. Mr. yon der Hayden lived here during his tenure as scoutmaster. Some of the boys became irritated withMr. von der Hayden at one time and used some rather violent means to express their displeasure. They tied shut the door of the Wrens Nest and then proceeded to throw giant fire crackers down the chimney. This caused considerable displeasure to the occupant and only after much pleading was he permitted to escape. It seems apparent that some rather dire punishment was administered after this episode.

During 1918 the troop was very active in the selling of War Bonds and sold them to the sum of $1200-$1400. They pulled the Liberty Ball from Staatsburg to Poughkeepsie on its journey from Buffalo to New York City. The next meeting place was the old gym which was mentioned above. Many of the scouts recall drilling there under the direction of a Capt. Waterman of Poughkeepsie. Apparently, one hour of this and they were all Waterman of Poughkeepsie. Apparently, one hour of this and they were all ready to call it quits. The original Robin Hood ball park was located adjacent to Kirchner Avenue and here the boys camped and held an annual Field Day. It was at one of these Field Days that a Reverend Cooper lost his eyesight when a small cannon he was firing exploded in his face. Other troop campsites were near Dickinsons Mill on Mill Road and in Dolly Varden Woods.

One member of the troop recalls traveling across the river to Slab-sides, the home of the naturalist John Burroughs. He remembers many happy hours listening to the bearded naturalist who apparently loved to talk to and with children. Firestone, Edison and Henry Ford were there a number of times. The troop put on a minstrel show in approximately 1920 before a capacity house. They participated in every parade held in the area. One of the remembered hikes was made to Mount Beacon. The Huyler Brothers gave the troop a cabin on their estate (now owned by L. B. Morris). Every Saturday, the boys would work on the cabin, cook and eat hot dogs and camp overnight. It is worthy of noting how many spoke of their excellent troop bugler--Jum Bayles.

The activity of the troop appears to have been sporadic during the 1920's with frequent periods of lapse. Scoutmasters that were recalled from this time include: Charles Lent, Ralph Jones, Reverend Nostrand, Reverend Wilson and Mr. W. A. Saltford. The major event of this time was the trip by truck to a Pow-Wow in Schenectady. The truck belonged to the Saltfords and was driven by a James Frost. The boys camped there for a period of two-three days and nights. The troop made several hike and bike trips as far as Blue Stores and spent one weekend camping at Bash Bish Falls. One hike was made to Rhinecliffe and then the return trip was made to Hyde Park by train. Many Pow-Wows were held in Poughkeepsie and the troop was always in attendance. Boy Scout Day at the Rhinebeck Fair was an occasion for overnight camping there plus a scouting exhibit. Camp Nooteeming opened at its present location in the late 20's and the troop participated in planting many of the trees currently growing there. Jim Logan and Herb Saltford of this era are known to have made Life Scout.

The early 1930's saw the troop again reorganized and operating. Activities included hikes and camp-outs at Camp Nooteeming, Camp Smithers and other places. One member recalls hiking from Nooteeming to Millbrook. They played baseball in the afternoon and then camped on the ball field overnight. County activities were again held in Poughkeepsie and Harold Behr won the bugling championship at the Armory in 1932. Harold made Life Scout and Stockton Meade achieved either Star or Life.

The next revival of the troop took place either late in 1936 or early in 1937. The local churches were the sponsors and the official chartering took place in early 1937. The succeeding five-six years were banner ones for the troop. The first National Jamboree was held in Washington, D. C. from June 30 to July 9, 1937, and the troop was represented by J. W. Golden, Jr. Brud says that he believes that he was the only Tenderfoot Scout in attendance at the Jamboree. On October 13, 1937, the troop won a silver cup for being the best troop in a parade held in Poughkeepsie. This parade was held in conjunction with a celebration commemorating the 250th Anniversary of Poughkeepsie. The parade was reviewed by President Roosevelt, Governor Lehman and other dignitaries.

The year 1938 saw the troop constructing its own cabin at Camp Nooteem-ing. The actual construction work was accomplished by the scouts with the help of parents, committeemen and other interested adults. Much of the material used in the cabin was donated by local citizenry. The cabin was named Twin Oaks and was the scene of many fine troop gatherings over the ensuing few years. It is with regret that it must be reported that the cabin is no longer in existence. A careless hunter started a fire which consumed thc cabin sometime in the 1940's. Hiking, camping, community projects and individual advancement were among the many worthwhile activities of the troop during these years.

During 1939, the King and Queen of England were visitors in Hyde Park. Troop 37 had the distinction of being Honor Guard for their Majesties when they attended services at St. James Church. On February 1, 1940, a Troop Circus was held at the Town Hall. The receipts from this Circus were to improve and equip the Twin Oaks Cabin at Camp Nooteeming. It is a pleasure to report that the affair was a rousing success and a considerable sum of money was raised.

The two scoutmasters who served the troop during the period 1937-1943 were Reverend George F. Wells and Mr. Edson L. Barlow. Both of these gentlemen are deceased. These two men were held in the highest regard by everyone with whom they came in contact. The troop is indeed most fortunate to have had two such fine men associated with its activities. The members of the troop (past and present) extend their regrets to the two families and express sincere appreciation in honor of their memory.

It is physically impossible to give credit to every individual who worked for and with the troop during this period. Mention should be made of Walter C. Forse who was County Scout Executive during the period 1929-1943. He has written and expressed his regret that he could not be present at the 35th Anniversary Dinner. He has also had many nice things to say about the troop and its fine record during the period he was associated with the council. He extends his best regards to all with whom he became acquainted during his tenure in the county. The troop itself grew by leaps and bounds during this period in helping to fill the needs of the boys in the community. Many men served in the troop in various capacities such as assistant scoutmaster, committeeman, counselor, etc. The thanks of everyone involved with the troop is extended to these men for giving so freely of their time and efforts.

World War II again saw troop members going into the armed forces of the country as their predecessors had done in World War I. A number of members of the troop gave their lives in this service. Those boys too young to enter service gave unstintingly of time and service in the home front war effort. They helped in the collecting of aluminum and other such drives. Camping, hiking and individual advancement also continued during this period.

Since the end of World War II, the need for scouting in the community has grown as the population has continued to increase. Additional troops were formed in the 1950's to meet this need. Troop 53 in East Park was first followed by Troops 73 and 41 of Hyde Park. Explorer Posts 69 and 53 were formed to help take care of the needs of older boys. Again many fine men came to the fore to help the troop with its various activities in the capacity of assistants, committeemen, counselors, etc. It is unfortunate that lack of time and space does not permit more detail concerning names, dates and places. Suffice it to say that the troop has been active and has continued to live up to the highest ideals of scouting.

The source for the initial information for this History page came from a compilation by Robert E. Moseley in 1966. This compilation existed as a paper copy until 2000 when it was transcribed into a Web page.

Last Updated On 9/2/1999
BSA Troop 37
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