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AMERICA'S FIRST EAGLE SCOUT

Arthur R. Eldred
1895-1952

While America's Boy Scouts were started in 1910.  It took until 1912 for the first Eagle Scout badge to be granted.

Arthur R. Eldred was born in 1895.  Rockville (Rockwell?) Center on New York's Long Island became his hometown. Arthur joined Troop #1 in Oceanside, New York.  He qualified for the Eagle award by May of 1912.

He had earned the required 21 merit badges and been tested by the local review board.  A National Board of Review consisting of James E. West (Chief Scout Executive), Ernest Thompson Seton (Chief Scout), and Daniel Carter Beard (National Scout Commissioner) tested him again.  This was to be BSA's first Eagle Scout, and West was not going to lose the PR opportunity.

Eldred received notice of the award in a letter from West dated August 21, 1912.  But the medal had not been finalized in design.  He finally received the award itself on Labor Day, 1912.  According to some sources, there were 23 Eagle Scout badges awarded that first year; however, the Eagle Scout Register listed only 22.

A few weeks after becoming the first Eagle Scout, Eldred helped to save another Scout from drowning and was awarded the Bronze Honor Medal for his actions.  As an adult, Eldred served as a member of the Camden County Scout Council's executive board in New Jersey.  He was present at his son Willard's own Eagle ceremony on October 27, 1944.

Arthur Eldred passed away in 1952.



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