For years and years generations of Arrowmen have swapped, exchanged and collected Order of the Arrow cloth and felt badges. Over 2,000 new pieces of OA insignia are issued every single year, many primarily for trading. However, while most Arrowmen and collectors of OA memorabilia only think of cloth badges, the earliest insignia of the Order were pins. The reason why it was pins in the beginning is because Wimachtendienk started as a fraternal organization, and pins were the insignia of choice for fraternities. The simple silver arrow pin served very much like a fraternity pledge pin.
William D. Boyce was an American businessman and millionaire who owned numerous newspapers in the United States and Canada as well as a publishing company. In the early 1900s, he started to focus more on philanthropic projects than on business matters. It was during this time, as he was traveling around the world, that legend has it he was shown his way in London by an unknown Scout. The story goes on that the Scout refused gratuity, merely doing his duty as a Scout. The Scout is said to have then directed Boyce to the Scout headquarters.
James Edward West, born May 16, 1876, never knew his father. His mother died when Jimmy was six. He spent most of his youth in a Washington, D.C. orphanage, except for two years starting at age eight when he was in a hospital being treated for tuberculosis, which left one leg crippled, often strapped on his back.
One day in 1911, two young Scouts, Gilson M. Talmadge and Boyd Johnson went to Urner Goodman’s parent's house and asked him to join their troop as Scoutmaster. Urner accepted the Scout’s offer and became the Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 1, the first chartered troop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Treasure Island Scout Camp (also known as Treasure Island Scout Reservation) opened as a Philadelphia Council summer camp in 1913. The name Treasure Island had come from the popular Robert Louis Stevenson pirate novel of the same name published in 1883. Philadelphia used the pirate motif on some of their early promotional material. Treasure Island would become the longest continuously run Scout camp in the BSA and most notably, the birthplace of the Order of the Arrow.
When the Treasure Island staff planned the first induction, Urner Goodman had one Scout in mind as the model of cheerful service he wanted for its members - Billy Clark. Billy was a member of Philadelphia's Troop 1, led by Scoutmaster Goodman and is listed in their records as an “Assistant Scribe.” Years later Goodman described a troop campout at Treasure Island.
One time during our stay there, one of our charges came with a minor sickness. There was no medicine, no hospital on the island at all. So he had to stay in his tent and he had to be taken care of. Billy volunteered to be our live-in nurse for the two or three days he had to be there. And he did a good job of it.
It would help bring together young people from various so-called stations, break down the barriers that society has foolishly placed upon them, and establish in their minds when they are young a finer kind of humanity, a real understanding that the important thing is the association of a human spirit.
Ernest Thompson Seton was a Canadian naturalist, writer, and artist. He became very interested in studying wolves while working in Canada. Those experiences later became the basis for a number of animal fiction stories by Seton. Following his time in Canada, Seton moved to New York. When some local kids damaged some of his property, he invited them over for a weekend and taught them stories about nature and American Indians (as opposed to punishing them).
Daniel Carter Beard, known to many in Scouts as “Uncle Dan” Beard, was an American illustrator and author. He illustrated several books for the famous author Mark Twain. He wrote numerous articles for St. Nicholas Magazine that he later put together as The American Boys Handy Book. He was a good friend with Ernest Thompson Seton, future Chief Scout of the BSA.