Founders

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First Ceremony

There is no written copy of the ritual used for induction of members into the Order throughout the 1915 Treasure Island camping season.

In 1965 the Unami Lodge released a copy of a ceremony purported to be the first ceremony. However, after discussions with Arrowmen active in the Lodge in 1965 and with the 1975 Lodge Chief, Phil Hittner, it is clear that the “first ceremony” released was a composite of later ceremonies and editorial license was taken based on what was believed to have happened. Factually the following is known:

Harry Yoder

In the early part of July 1915, Mr. E. Urner Goodman, enlisted my aid in clearing what is today the ceremonial grounds of the Unami Lodge, on Treasure Island. Armed with an axe and a rake we prospected through the dense brush which covered the lower half of the Island, for a likely location and finally selected the present site.

Goodman Joins Scouting

Dr. Goodman began his Scouting career in 1911 at the age of twenty in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two young Scouts, Gil Talmadge and Boyd Johnson, from Troop 1 knocked on his parent's door, and told him they were looking for a Scoutmaster.

In his four years as Scoutmaster, the troop grew to more than 100 Scouts. Goodman’s troop was considered the most exciting to be a part of and he took them camping as their Scoutmaster at Treasure Island.

Gil Talmadge

In the early days of Scouting, boys were so eager to become Scouts that they sometimes set out to recruit their own adult leaders. That was how E. Urner Goodman became involved with Scouting.

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.

Birthplace of WWW Opens

The island on which Treasure Island Reservation is located has been the topic of several historical investigations to confirm the ownership and the state to which the island belongs.

In 1783, commissioners appointed by the legislatures of Pennsylvania and New Jersey entered into a treaty, one of the purposes of which was to allocate to each State the islands lying in the Delaware River north of the falls of Trenton. The treaty was ratified by both legislatures in 1783. The part of the treaty that speaks to the island known as Treasure Island was that each island was annexed to the State to which it was physically closest.

Treasure Island

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.

Goodman Influenced - Story of Billy Clark

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.

Edson Influenced

In 1915 I joined the staff of the Philadelphia Council, the head of the Field Department being E. Urner Goodman, afterwards Scout Executive of Philadelphia, and then of Chicago, and now a department head at the National Office.

Urner was designated as Director, and I as Co-Director of Treasure Island, the Philadelphia Camp. I found they had an award called “Treasure Island Scout”, for which an emblem TIS, was presented. The award was based on a point system, similar to a troop contest, so many points for passing tests, identifying nature objects, etc., etc. It seemed to me there should be some recognition of the spirit of Scouting, as the TIS was of the mechanics.

Woodcraft Indians

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.

--- from Ernest Thompson Seton about his development of the League of Woodcraft Indians

Goodman & Edson Camp Directors

In April of 1915, E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson both were hired by Philadelphia Council and entered Professional Scouting at the age of 23. Philadelphia Scout Executive Walter S. Cowing appointed them both as  Field Commissioners (now called Field Executives). The following month the Philadelphia Council Camp Committee appointed Goodman as Camp Director at Treasure Island Scout Reservation and Edson as his Assistant Camp Director in charge of commissary.

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