BSA Troop # 28

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TROOP 28 HISTORY

Boy Scout Troop 28 has a long and fun-filled history. The following document was prepared in honor of it in 1994 as the troop celebrated 75 continuous years as a member of Boy Scouts of America. As you will read, the beginning of Troop 28 and the Lawrence Road Presbyterian Church's sponsorship began on 25 February 1919. The History of the first twenty years of Troop 28 has been compiled by Mrs. Pat Bedson from records in the church archives and from newspaper articles while the modern chapters were written by Edward Rowland. Many of the anecdotes about the troop’s activities shared by Bob Inglis.

The Early Years

According to both the original Trustees’ Minutes Book and the Rev. Andrew Richards’ small notebook, the Scout Troop at what is now known as Lawrence Road Presbyterian Church was organized on 25 February 1919. The Troop was originally designated as Troop #41, but that number was changed three weeks later, on March 18th, to Troop #8.

In 1919 the sponsoring institution was called The Lawrence Road Chapel Association. The members of the Association met and worshipped at the Eldridge Park School until 1922 when the foundation of the present Lawrence Road Presbyterian Church was built The new Boy Scout Troop met at the Slackwood School until a suitable meeting place could be provided by the Association.

The original Chapel Association Trustee minutes dated 10 March 1919, read in part: “Boy Scouts of America: Under the direction of Mr. Samuel Bedson as Scoutmaster a Boy Scout Troop was organized on February 25, 1919 — with 16 members. The Troop meets every Tuesday night in the Slackwood School House until such time as suitable quarters can be provided at Lawrence Road. We are exceedingly grateful to our Slackwood friends for the privilege they are according us in this matter.” Chester Fell took over as Scoutmaster on 17 October 1919.

The Trenton Times of 10 March 1919 also announced the news of registering this new troop with an item giving much the same information as that given by Mr. Richards above. The article says: “Lawrence Road Troop, Eldridge Park Church (sic): Troop Committeemen, Andrew Richards, 35 Alexander Hall, Princeton, N.J.; E.A. Carpenter, Harney’s Corner; James E. Potts, Slackwood. Scoutmaster, Samuel Bedson, Lawrence Road. Assistant Scoutmasters, Kervin Flood, Andrew Richards. Scouts James Heck, John Heck, Harry Pancoast, John Hutchins, Walter Hutchins, Russell Smith, J. King, Ramsey Bedson, Gerald Flood, Paul Kelly, Hartwell Smith, Andrew Richardson, Harold Swan, Clark Rhoads, Alfred Glover, Clayton Williver.”

A later edition of The Trenton Times gave additional information about this first year “Mr. Bedson paid for all the suits in order that all the scouts would make a presentable appearance. Sidney Hollies gave a piano recital at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Brearley to help defray expense of the suits.”

The Boy Scout Troop which has been sponsored by the Lawrence Road Chapel Association/Lawrence Road Presbyterian Church for 75 years has been known as Troop 8 and Troop 28. Reports on the. Activities of the Troop can be found in the records of the Trustees’ Minutes Backs and the Session’s Minutes Books. All quotations are taken directly from the original Minutes Books:

26 January 1932 (Session) report to annual Congregational Meeting: “Lee McConahy gave a very interesting report of the activities of Boy Scouts.”

1 August 1932: “Moved we loan Lee McConahy Scout Master a key to church.”

1 January 1933 (Both) report to annual Congregational Meeting: “H.Lee McConahy gave a good report of the activities of the Boy Scouts.”

2 January 1934 (Trustees): “Moved that we let the Boy Scouts have the church on Friday nights.”

9 January 1934 (Both) report to annual Congregational Meeting: “Boy Scouts doing very well.”

1 October 1934 (Trustees): “Mr. Grafton Boy Scout 1 tank oil.”

4 February 1935 (Trustees): “Scout Master Grafton spoke on cooperation.” Also, “Received $17.50 from Boy Scouts.”

7 October 1935 (Trustees): “Scout Master Grafton’s letter asking for the building as a Scout meeting place on Friday instead of Tuesday was read. Permission to change was granted and Mr. ____is to see that the proper forms are filled out.”

4 November 1935 (Trustees): “Mr. ___reported that Boy Scout Meetings Nights has been changed to Friday.”

4 February 1937 (Session): “Motion made, seconded and carried that Elder meet Scout Leader and talk with him about abuse of church property by the boys.”

1 March 1937 (Trustees): “A communication received from Session was read reporting damage done to building by Boy Scouts. Moved, seconded and carried bill for $5.00 be submitted to scouts.”

27 March 1937 (Session): “Rev. Guy presented for the approval of Session the following names to serve on Boy Scout Council for the coining year: Mr. Hany Bedson, Mr. Foster Jamison, Mr. J. Russel Smith. Motion made, seconded and carried the above men approved. Had a general discussion of Boy Scout activities, their duties to the Church, and the Church’s duties to the Scouts. Also the question was raised as to giving the Scouts use of auditorium. Motion made, seconded and carried that Scouts have use of auditorium with understanding they were to show more respect for that part of Church that has been shown in the past.”

8 February 1938 (Session): “After a discussion of the Boy Scout Troop of our Church the Session gave Rev.Guy right to act as he thought best Elder ____representative of Social Div. of our Church authorized Rev. Guy to invite Lieut. Mervine who is connected with 112th Field Artillery at Batter B to act as Asst. Scout Master.”

8 March 1938 (Session): “Motion made, seconded, and carried that Rev. Guy interview Lee McConahy regarding Boy Scouts. Motion made, seconded, and carried that Elder ____ interview gentleman that he spoke of and report next meeting.”

Annual Calendar - January 1st. - December 31 1938: “The Boy Scout Troop of the church will meet in the Church Annex every Friday evening from 7:30-9 o’clock.”

19 February 1939 (Session): “Discussion of the possibility of reorganizing Boy Scout Troop. Have an interview with Robert Inglis regarding Leadership of Troop.”

26 March 1939 (Session): “A meeting of Boy Scout Representatives was held but due to the absence of Elder Representative, nothing definitely done.”

7 November 1939 (Session): “A meeting held Sunday, November 5, 1939, the purpose to form a Scout Committee and Scout Troop. The Scout Committee was formed: Leroy Cranstoun, Wm. Turner, Jr., Lee Mcconahy, Robert Edwards and Richard Cook. Robert Edwards selected Acting Scout Master and Robert Inglis Acting Assistant Scout Master.”

8 December 1939 (Trustees): “Mr. Guy asked we turn over old Boy Scout account to new Scout treasurer Leroy Cranstoun with understanding that money is deposited in central treasury as other funds.”

7 January 1940 (Session): “The Boy Scout Troop meets in Annex each Saturday evening with about ten boys attending.”

12 January 1940 (Trustees): “It was reported that Boy Scout Account had been transferred.”

A January 14, 1963 letter from the Director of Registration for the Boy Scouts of America, Howard P. Boyd, discusses the age of the Troop: “According to the entries here, Troop 28 was registered as new in November, 1939,under the sponsorship of the Lawrence Road Presbyterian Church, and has been continuously active since that date.”

“Previously, there was a Troop 28 registered under the same sponsorship from April 1932 to April 1939. [Note: Session Minutes of the Annual Congregational Meeting of 26 January 1932 show that the Troop had been existence prior to the April date mentioned in the letter.] Several of the Scouters, on the November 1939 - November 1940 application are noted as Dropped-Reregistered, and it is possible that they had previously served in the old troop.

Under our present set-up, Troop 28 would be entitled to an additional seven years; registration on the basis of sponsorship and scouter reregistration, but we will make no change until we receive some word from you to that effect.

“Right now (January 1963), the Troop has a total of twenty-three years and two months’ registered service.”

For a long time, the first twenty years of Troop 28’s existence proved to be a problem in verification of registration and sponsorship, but thanks to those church archival and newspaper records, Boy Scouts of America has agreed that Troop 28 CAN CLAIM 75 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS REGISTRATION under the sponsorship of Lawrence Road Chapel Association/Lawrence Road Presbyterian Church. Now, in February 1994, Troop 28 celebrates its 75th anniversary, just five years after it celebrated its 50th!

The 1940’s and 1950’s

The early 1940’s. were dominated by World War II. Robert Edwards took over as Scoutmaster with Bob Inglis as Assistant Scoutmaster. Bob was not permitted to be Scoutmaster due to his age at that time. This would change in the immediate post-war period; Bob meanwhile attained the Eagle Scout rank in 1943, the first of the boys in Troop 28 to attain that rank. Service projects in the 1940’s included the collection of scrap paper that was bound and stored in a garage in Eldridge Park before being picked up. Bob remembers, “The troop used to raise funds for camping by collecting old newspapers monthly. We owned an old “Chevy” canopy delivery truck we made rounds with. When the Fire Companies started collecting paper, we turned to other sources of revenue.”

The late 1940’s also saw the construction of the second half of the Scout Cabin. The first half had been built by the Men’s Club of the Church in the early 1930’s. The second half of the Cabin was built by the Troop itself with a lot of assistance and guidance from builder Aubrey Oldenburg. a member of the Troop Committee. Lawence Grubb, who served as Scoutmaster in 1953, actually fell off the roof during construction but escaped physical injury. Bob Inglis, long associated with the Troop was put in charge of the Cub Pack during most of the 1950’s and insured that a continuous stream of boys graduated from the Cub Scouts into the Boy Scouts. This was not a unique occurrence, Raymond Griggs, the Troop Scoutmaster in 1951 and 1952, spent 1950 and 1951 as the Cubmaster before moving to the Boy Scouts. His sons, George and Donald, held leadership positions in Troop 28 in the early 1950’s. This reminded Bob Inglis of the time Scouts Tom Oldenburg and Donald Griggs hiked the 90 miles to Camp Pahaquarra carrying a cast iron griddle all the way - because they liked pancakes so much!

It was during this time that Bob Inglis remembers, “The Troop was attending the Council Camporee at the 112th Field Artillery grounds on Eggerts Road. We had just received new “Forrester” tents and were stenciling “Troop 28” on the tents. A Scout from another troop was making a pest of himself so some of the boys pulled his pants down and stenciled “Troop 28” on his bottom!”

The 1960’s and 1970’s

Bob Inglis once again stepped in as Scoutmaster. In the fall of 1960, he was assisted by Jim Efinger who had become a fifth grade teacher in the township. This marked the beginning of the high adventure period for Troop 28, which would reach its zenith. with twice a year trips to the high peak regions of the Adirondacks.

Perhaps the most notable achievement for Troop 28 in the early 1960’s was the famous 75-mile hike from the Scout Cabin to Camp Pahaquarra near the Delaware Water Gap from July 18-23, 1962. Referred to as “The Great Hike” in Troop archives, 16 of the 18 boys who started from the Scout Cabin finished the 75 mile trek. According to The Trenton Times of July 23, 1962, “The two who failed to complete the hike were forced out of action by bad blisters. Completing the hike were Warren Danley, Andre Williams, Walter Bullock ~ John Mahan, Robert Lavinakas, Tony arid Edward Ford, Andrew Klish, Charles Brown, Henry Ganges, William Barry, Walter Breitinger, David Bushar, David Loveless, John Bushar, and Joseph Mahan.  The adult leader, who took turns leading the hikers were: Robert Inglis, Scoutmaster, Richard Breitinger, Assistant Scoutmaster John Russell, Earl W. Danley. James Efinger, George W. Ford and Joseph M. Mahan.”

Another Trenton Times article somewhat humorously described the Troop’s departure from the Scout Cabin, “The boys showing more pep than they are likely to feel again the next five days started on their march shortly after 7 am. With families snapping pictures and some of the mothers looking just a little dubious, the Troop marched, two abreast, out of the churchyard.”

In keeping with the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared,” boys were told to “eat a good breakfast at home and leave Troop 28 headquarters at 7 a.m. (Wednesday, July 18, 1962) in uniform with Mr. “Bigstep” Mahan, carrying light pack, a packed lunch, canteen, foot powder, sunburn goo, brimmed hat, rain coat, swim suit, extra clean white socks, antiseptic for blisters (tincture of bernzoin is good), moleskin and sign on back ‘Troop 28 Trenton to Pahaquarra or Bust’, get picture taken by newspapers.” Sea Scout Ship 149 of High Bridge set up camp for Troop 28 at Copper Hill, New Hampton and the Delaware Water Gap.

The Troop also went winter camping at Camp Buck, near Flemington. One year “we had persuaded Mr. Mudd, a committeeman, to go with us. The temperature went down to 5 degrees below zero. Mr. Mudd didn’t thaw out for a month.”

Bodine Field was another favorite camping spot. An early visit in the 1960’s would change how most Troop 28 Boy Scouts would spend the summer. The Troop spent an entire week at Bodine Field; this would serve as a shakedown for week-long trips to the high peaks of the Adirondacks usually in early August.

Under the leadership of Scoutmaster Jim Efinger, the Troop would typically make two trips to upstate New York each year. A smaller group of older boys would “scout out” camping sites during a June trip, and the main troop would then use this information in an August trip. The June trips were especially difficu1t because of the constant attacks from blackflies and mosquito’s which plague the Adirondacks at that time of the year.

Troop 28’s adventures in the Adirondacks are numerous. There are at least ten former or present members who have climbed the Adirondack 46, the forty-six peaks over 4000 feet. The Troop has also had its share of excitement in the mountains. On two successive evenings in 1971, the Troop carried sick guests of the Johns Brook Lodge over 5 miles of trail by stretcher to Keene Valley. Both children survived. In 1972 a group of Scouts led by Assistant Scoutmaster George Henkel walked off the wrong side of McComb Mountain, a trackless peak, and became lost in the midst of a huge rainstorm. Two members, of the group were able to walk to civilization that day and the New York Rangers found the rest of the group the next day. Troop 28 has had numerous brushes with bear, raccoon and peaky chipmunks in the Adirondacks as well. At its peak, the Troop actually took a two-week trip to the mountains. One trip included 87 boys.

The Troop performed equally well closer to home.  Troop 28 has a proud history in Camporee competition. In the 1960’s and 1970’s the Troop was dominant in local Camporee competition. In a Fall 1968 Council-wide Camporee held at Washington Crossing State Park with over 200 Troops, Troop 28 won every single event including semaphore, wig-wag, first-aid, knot tying/lashing arid fire building. The Spring 1969 Camporee was memorable for two reasons: Troop 28 numbered 101 boys at the event and hailstones the size of large marbles sent most of them home on Saturday. It should be noted that Assistant Scoutmaster Skip Bedson actually ran a shuttle service between Washington Rock arid Lawrence Township. Many of the boys went home for dry clothes and returned. Still, those who remained Sunday morning at the Camporee enjoyed one of the largest breakfasts ever eaten by Troop 28.

1980’s to Date

Troop 28 has never canceled a camping trip because of the weather. This fact was probably never more severely tested than on the night of January 16, 1982, wen Scoutmaster Bill Turner, Jr. and the Troop faced minus 10-degree weather (-50 degree wind-chill). Boots froze, ground cloths cracked, cars stalled arid food turned into frozen bricks. According to the February 3, 1982 Lawrence Ledger, “Frozen Food has its advantages, but the Scouts decided this was not the time to explore them. So, after abandoning the stew brick, the resourceful lads prepared a supper of chilli, hot dogs, corn and hot chocolate.” Scoutmaster Turner concluded, “we’ve had a lot of camping trips that didn’t turn out quite the way they were planned, but that’s what makes it fun. They’re the ones you remember.”

Today, the Troop, under the leadership of Scoutmaster Dave Christoffersen continues this tradition. In fact, at the Fall 1989 Camporee,Troop 28 patrol took top honors.

Eagle Scouts of Troop 28

Robert Inglis, Jr. ‘43 Thomas Oldenburg ‘49 James T. Campbell ‘56 Duncan S. McGowan ‘57 Earl W. Danley ‘64 John E. .Mudd ‘64 Lee Yaros ‘66 James Delahanty ‘67 William T. Turner, Jr. ‘69 Richard F. La Baw, Jr. 71 John A.Bedson 71 JosephH.Bedson, lII ‘71 David G. Christoffersen 72 Edward J. Rowland 72 Thomas C. Armington ‘72 Warner R Haag 72 Peter A. Ensminger ‘72 David M.Burke 73 Michael S. Boshanski 73 Alan F. Cook, Jr. 73 Steve R. Rowland 73 Mathew S. Hayes ‘80 Kerneth B. Walker ‘80 Paul L. Campos ‘82 James S. Pike ‘82 Brian Hoffman ‘82 Greg W. Carache ‘82 Keith Reinhart ‘83 Frederic D. Barringer 85 Donald Barringer ‘85 Keith Kemo ‘86 Brian L. Smith ‘87 Joseph Millardi ‘93 David Pasco ‘94 

Scoutmasters of Troop 28

Samuel Bedson 1919 Chester Fell 1919 Unknown 1920- 1928 Lee McConahy 1929-31 (?) Ralph Davis 1932 Lee McConahy 1932-33 Herb Grafton 1934-5 Ralph Davis 1936-7 Lee McConahy 1937 Robert Edwards 1938-45 Robert Inglis 1946-50 Raymond P. Griggs 1951-2 Lawrence Grubb 1953 John Capewell 1954-6(1) Frank Donaldson 1957-60 Robert lnglis 19614 James Efinger 1964-74 George Martin 1974-5 Jack Fuda 1975-6 Bill Turner/Joe Campos76-85 James Mordey 1985-7 Dave Christoffersen ‘88-date