Founders

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Order of the Arrow Public Name

One of the peculiarities of the OA is its name. The proper name, Wimachtendienk Wingolauchsik Witahemui, was a secret name. For public usage the name was simply WWW. That changed at the 1922 Grand Lodge Meeting. Another group, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), was using similar letters. To avoid confusion, the public name became Wimachtendienk, W.W. That was really a mouthful for non-members to say.

Goodman - Adult Family Life

Goodman matched his professional success during his years in Philadelphia with personal happiness. On June 18, 1920, he married Louise Wynkoop Waygood, a local girl whom he had first dated the same week in 1911 that he joined Troop 1. Louise and Urner had three children, Theodore Wynkoop, born August 12, 1921, George Walter, born February 26, 1923, and Lydia Ann, born April 21, 1927.

First Modern Vigil Honor Ceremony

According to Edson, he recalled returning to Treasure Island at the end of camp in 1916 where he and Goodman wrote the ritual for the Second Degree (then equivalent to Vigil Honor). Edson further recalled that Goodman was put through that ritual. It is presumed that this is the ceremony that Edson experienced when he kept his vigil.

There is no known copy of this ritual. Presumably the Second Degree ceremony was evolving just like both parts of the First Degree ceremonies were evolving.

WWW Threatened with Extinction

In 1922 the BSA was 12 years old. It was still a young organization. To improve the Scout program and to train the professional corps, the BSA held Biennial National Meetings of Scout executives. In September 1922 the Scout executives gathered at the Blue Ridge Assembly near Asheville, North Carolina.

The Grand Lodge

When Wimachtendienk, W.W. started at Treasure Island they were a lone camp fraternity without a national charter. In 1921, the eleven active Wimachtendienk groups decided to have a meeting and form a national organization. The usage of the term “Grand Lodge” appears to have come from the Masonic fraternal system that also calls their national organization a The Grand Lodge. 

First Meeting of the Grand Lodge

In 1921 Wimachtendienk, W.W. (a common way at the time of referring to what we know as the Order of the Arrow) was ready to have a national structure. Patterned similar to the Freemasons, it was decided that each lodge would become a member of the Grand Lodge. On October 7 and 8, 1921, the first Grand Lodge Meeting hosted by the Philadelphia lodges, Unami and Unalachtigo was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and at their Camp Biddle. These meetings would later become known as National Meetings and are the distant predecessors of today’s NOACs.

First Grand Lodge Officers

The first elections for officers of the Grand Lodge were held at the first Grand Lodge Meeting pursuant to the newly ratified constitution. There were three offices: The Grand Chieftain (Eluwak Kittakima), The Grand Scribe (Eluwak Lekhiket) and The Grand Treasurer (Eluwak Mawachpo).

Edson's Second Degree

There is a lack of consensus regarding the date of Carroll A. Edson’s Second Degree induction. Evidence exists that point to three different years: 1915, 1916 and 1917. (As an editorial decision the OA History Timeline has placed the date of Edson’s Vigil as 1917 as the most likely year based upon the evidence.)

The evidence that points to 1915 or 1916 as the year of Edson’s Second Degree is found in the writings of George W. Chapman. Chapman wrote the following excerpt that would seem to indicate that Edson kept his Second Degree (Vigil) in 1915 or 1916:

Carroll A. Edson

Carroll A. Edson was born on December 29, 1891. He received his Bachelors of Science degree from Dartmouth College in 1914. In 1915 Philadelphia Council hired 23-year old Edson as a Field Commissioner (what we call a Field Executive today). Edson was subsequently appointed to serve as Assistant Camp Director in charge of commissary for the summer of 1915 at Treasure Island Scout Reservation. In this capacity he worked with E. Urner Goodman as they founded Wimachtendienk. While Goodman was known for his vision, Edson was known for his ability to get the job done.

Field Executive Edson Forms Seventh Lodge

In January 1921 OA Co-Founder Carroll A. Edson became the field executive for the South Shore District of the Chicago Council. Edson brought Wimachtendienk with him and on June 15th, 1921 formed the Order’s seventh lodge, Moqua Lodge 7 at the Owasippe Scout Reservation located near Whitehall, Michigan.

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