With the recent anniversaries of Boy Scouts (102 years) and Girl Scouts (100 years) being celebrated, a look at one of West Chicago’s oldest Scout groups is in order.
In 1914, four years after the national organization of the Boy Scouts, Black Partridge Troop #1 was formed. The troop was named after a 19th century Potawatomi chieftain, who along with his brother Waubonsie, tried to protect the settlers at Fort Dearborn in August of 1812.
Young men, 12-18 years old, joined the troop to become “self-reliant, loyal, upright and useful citizens.” About 27 scouts were under the leadership of Scoutmaster Frank H. Thrapp, assisted by Frank C. Perkins. They met twice a month and leased a cabin at 435 Arbor Avenue. Dues of a nickel were collected at each meeting, and a yearly member registration fee of a quarter supported the local headquarters.
The Boy Scouts did a good turn everyday, and were expected to salute their superior officers when meeting them in public places. Getting caught smoking (cigarettes of course) would result in a suspension; on second offense you were expelled.
In 1916 and 1917 several Scouts submitted their resignations citing lack of time and interest. It appears the Troop disbanded soon afterward. A new troop was organized in 1919 with Mr. Brousseau as Scoutmaster.
For many former members like Willard R. Buchanan, the paramilitary preparation and leadership skills learned in Scouts was of timely value during their World War I service.