A Brief History of the Boy Scouts of America
(The information that follows is from The Boy Scout Handbook , Eleventh Edition, pages 431-437)
Scouting was originally founded in England in 1907 by Lord Robert Baden-Powell. Baden-Powell was a famous English army general who wanted to help boys have fun and become better young men.
Several years later, an American named William D. Boyce lost his way in the foggy streets of London, England. A boy walked up and asked if he could be of assistance.
Mr. Boyce explained where he wanted to go, and the boy lead him to his destination. When Mr. Boyce tried to give the boy some money, the boy replied, "No thank you, sir. I am a Scout. I won't take anything for helping".
Mr. Boyce was so impressed by the boy's kindness that he met with Lord Baden-Powell. He liked what Baden-Powell told him, and he knew that boys in the United States would want to be Scouts, too.
On February 8, 1910, Mr. Boyce and a group of businessmen, educators, and political leaders founded the Boy Scouts of America.
Troop 40 History
Troop 40 was organized in Yorkville four years later, late in the summer of 1914. Reverend Ernest Lee Ackiss, a 26-year-old student at the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, became the pastor of the Yorkville Baptist Church and the first Scoutmaster of Troop 40. He preached on Sundays, served as Scoutmaster on Saturday afternoons, and attended the University of Chicago during the week. The Troop met at the original Yorkville Congregational Church, which still stands at the north side of the City Park.
Reverend Ackiss was Scoutmaster until 1916. Some of the early Scouts were Ron Clarke Sr., Ira Perkins, Robert Matlock, Ralph Walker, Durston Ohse, Graydon Clark, Mervin Beecher, Clarence Bretthauer, Bill Burks, Roy Harkness, Don Armbruster, Alvah Beecher, John Conover, Luther Hester, and Roy Scofield. Many of these boy's descendents have been involved with Troop 40 over the years. The first Troop Committee consisted of Dr. George Ament, Nelson Morley, and Harlin Grimworm. Dr. Ament was also an Assistent Scoutmaster. The first Eagle Scout was Wayne Strickland in 1927.
There were threee patrols in the early days of Troop 40, Kangaroo, Wolf, and Eagle. Bob Ament was a Patrol Leader and then the Senior Patrol Leader.
Baptist Minister Albert Eustace Hayden became the Scoutmaster in June, 1917. He served as Scoutmaster for many years, until he became a professor at the University of Chicago. He lived to be over 90 years old, and he stayed in contact with many of his Scouts for more than 50 years until his death.
Two early projects of the Troop were the Boy Scout Band and the plan to stretch a cable across the Fox River at the Yorkville Dam to to protect boaters and canoeists from drowning. Dr. Ament was a fine clarinetist and organized the Boy Scout Band. The Troop held a fundraiser in October of 1915 (tag days) to raise money for the cable project, but not enough money was raised to complete the project. The money was turned over to the Yorkville Public Library.
Troop 40 has been in continuous operation since 1914. We currently have over 60 registered Scouts and over 30 registered Adult Leaders. Over sixty Scouts have attained the rank of Eagle Scout in Troop 40. See our Eagle Scout List.
If you have any additional historical information about Troop 40, please contact the Scoutmaster or the Webmaster.
This page was updated 11/08/2008 by KIG
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