Was the First Boy Scout a Trentonian?
The Trentonian (date uncertain)
George Washington Council

If you are at all familiar with scouting, you probably know that Dan Beard helped found the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. But did you know the first Boy Scout in the United States lived in Trenton and later was a teacher in the city's public school?
 
Recently hand-written notes by William D. Durling, who was Trenton Scout executive from 1917 to 1921, came available. His writings indicate that he knew and met with Beard several times when the Boy Scout founder came to Trenton to get his books printed and plates made for the art work.
 
It was during one of these meetings, according to Durling's writings, that Beard said the first Boy Scout was a local product. His name was Maurice F. Brandt, the son of Robert Brandt, who owned a print shop at the corner of South Broad and Front Streets, which later became the site of Goldberg's Department store. Maurice later became a teacher in Junior High School No. 2 which was located on Tyler Street.

According to Durling's notes, Maurice met Beard when he was 12 years old. Beard who had founded the Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905, a forerunner of the Boy Scouts, came to Trenton with a drawing of the charter for the youth's father to make. The charter was for membership in the Sons of Daniel Boone. Beard took a liking to young Maruice during the frequent overnight visits to Trenton. The boy thought Beard "was the most wonderful man living" and he tried to put into practice the man's teachings. So when Beard some years later finally got the Sons of Daniel Boone started, Charter No. 1 was granted to Maurice Brandt.
 
The young man "started out at once to make good." According to Durling's writings, Maurice conducted hikes, "Short and long, camps overnight and a weeks' duration, nature study, map drawing, care of health, character building and getting acquainted with the country and all roads and trails, which were afterward all in the Boy Scout movement." Maurice kept up his interest in the Sons of Daniel Boone until the group was merged with the Boy scouts of America. In his notes, During also said he arranged for Dan Beard to visit and speak to students at Junior One and Junior Two.

ask jos: The above material appeared in a column by Emil Slaboda, who writes about Trenton history for the Trentonian newspaper. I have no idea about the accuracy of his claims. The date of publication is uncertain. A copy was mailed to me on September 8, 1999.

First Scout, Part 2     Return
September 12, 1999