History of Sellerville Boy Scout Troop #1
Two small boys, Herbert Heinrichs and Edward Matthews, then subscribers to “Boys’ Life”, read a lot about the activities of the Boy Scouts of England and became greatly interested. Soon a whole group of Sellersville boys became enthusiastic about a local troop, and securing information from headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America in New York City, they proceeded organizing a local troop which was the first troop of Boy Scouts in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
The boys had their dads help them secure a Scoutmaster and it was deemed advisable to select a young man without home responsibilities as a leader, but in a few weeks, interest waned and Mr. Wm. A. Heinrichs, the Troop Chairman, took over the duties of Scoutmaster also. They studied the Scout Manual and spent many Saturday afternoons taking hikes into the woods, studying the various trees and birds, etc. and may were the overnight hikes they took to the “Green Woods”, beyond Sellersville, taking with them a two-wheeled cart which they make, which contained a little 6’x8′ tent. This tent would have to shelter the eight or nine boys and the Scoutmaster, even though it was so small, the boys’ feet would “stick out” the ends of the tent. Pine needles made a fine soft bed.
The Scoutmaster always tried to implant in the boys honesty, right living, helpfulness, kindness, and against the use of liquor and the saloon which was a big problem at that time. At one time, the boys under the leadership of the Scoutmaster, gave a play, “Ten Nights in a Bar Room” to show the evils of liquor.
Mr. Samuel Althouse, then attending school, would give the boys drilling exercises when home from college.
One of the first problems of the Scouts was – a place to meet. They had been holding their meetings in the basements of St. Paul’s Reformed Church. However, the energy of a group of sturdy boys seemed more than could be spent in close quarters, and after renting various halls available a that time, they decided to build a little shake, (10’x15’) way up on a hill a the southern edge of town ( on ground of Mr. Alfred G. Walker Of Philadelphia, President of the Sunday Breakfast Club), in a little wooded spot. They had money enough to buy most of the lumber but when they got as far as the roof, a little more lumber was needed and the funds were gone, so the boys found a large sign that had been washed down along the creek in a flood, after receiving permission to use this, the boys dragged this sign up from the creek and it filled in well. The tar paper for the roof was donated by the Rubberoid Roofing Co. and the paint by the Lucas Paint Co. All the work was done by the boys themselves and the Scoutmaster.
On of the many good tuns the Scouts did was the planting of about 1100 pine saplings up at the Boro Catch-Basin, which have grown into a beautiful forest and screen. They also assisted Mr. David Cressman at several other plantings at the Catch-Basin later on.
In 1918, Mr. Heinrichs asked his son-in-law, Mr. Lawrence A. DeLancey to take over the Scout work, remaining as Chairman of the Troop Committee together with Mr. W.E. Matthews, Mr. Walter Baum, Mr. F. Bliss Carpenter, and Rev. James A. Boehm.
As time went on, so many boys attended the meetings that the little shack was completely filled with boys, sitting around a little “chunk stove” donated to them. Many were the true Indian stories Mr. W. E. Matthews, a loyal friend of the Boy Scouts, would walk over to the shack to tell them.
Finally, the shack was entirely too small for the boys and the need for a larger building was felt. Through the splendid cooperation of a number of the men of Sellersville, they assisted faithfully in securing funds for the erection of a building to be put up on a lot donated to the Scouts by Mr. Alfred G. Walker of Philadelphia. The building committee consisted of Mr. W. S. Schlichter, Rev. James A. Boehm, Mr Harry Barndt, Mr. Wm. A. Heinrichs, Mr. Walter Baum, Mr. Alexander Miller and Mr. Lawrence A. DeLancey. Since the Boy Scout organization was not an adult organization, and being minors, it was necessary to for a Board of Trustees and the following were elected:
- Lawrence A. DeLancey, President
- Wm. S. Schlichter, Secretary & Treasurer
- Wm. A. Heinrichs
- Harry Barndt
- Rev. James A. Boehm
The boys, together with their Scoutmaster, painted the entire building with paint which again was donated by the Lucas Paint Co. The building was large enough so many athletic sports could be enjoyed (30’x50’) – a need for this was felt at the time since the schools had not yet a gym and everyone was greatly enthused that they had a place where clean, healthful sports such as basketball could be enjoyed. Many games each year were played there for Charity, when the entire proceeds were turned over to the hospital.
Once every winter, the Scoutmaster was host to the boys and their parents, numbering as high as 50 or 60 – at either a Sauer Kraut Supper or treat of Ice Cream, Homemade-Cake and Coffee, at which time the boys would demonstrate to their parents and friends the various Scout Tests they had passed and the various requirements of a Boy Scout.
Every summer for six years, the boys had a splendid camp along the Perkiomen Creek somewhere for ten days. The Scoutmaster provided for a large truck to haul the 6 or 7 large tents and all equipment to the camping site selected and Mrs. DeLancy together with one or two sisters of the boys would attend to the cooking for 16 to 25 hungry boys. Each day two boys had to take turs at “Kitchen police” (peeling potatoes and washing posts and pans) and the boys also took 2 hour turns as camp guards at night beside the campfire. Every boy was always most honorable and fulfilled his duty assigned with real manliness. Never was there need for any of the boys to be disciplined and never a complaint was heard from any of the parents, most of whom, together with many friends, would spend a good part of Sunday at the camp where very fine Sunday School Services were conducted by Mr. W. E. Matthews and God was honored. Together with generous baskets of vegetables, cakes and pies, which the parent would bring, and the Scoutmaster doing his bit toward the buying of food, the cost to the boys averaged only about $3 or $4 for the ten days.
In 1930, Mr. Matthew Davidson took over the Scoutmastership with Mr. DeLancey as Chairman of the Troop Committee, consisting also of Rev. James Shepley, Mr. Allen Hendricks, Mr. Ed Harkness, and Mr. Samuel Althouse. Mr. John Gibbert was Cubmaster.
Mr. Davidson too did his very best for the boys at the Scout Building, helping them to advance in the Scout Ranks – always read and willing, as well as Mrs. Davidson, to use their car as well as their home, for the boys in the interest of Scouting.
All of these men silently gave of their very best, both in service and substance, meager thought it may have seemed, to do a good turn for the boys – to try to teach them to be physically, mentally, and morally straight for God and Country through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Written — December 5, 1932 — by a Friend of Scouts