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Boy scouts and the town of lunenburg

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Most people think of the Boy Scouts of America as an outdoor recreational association. The outdoors and camping are an important method used in Scouting, but the Boy Scouts is in reality, an educational program for youth with the mission of preparing young people to make ethical choices over their life times by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. The aims of Scouting are to develop character, citizenship and fitness, both mental and physical, in youth.
Scouting has been part of the fabric of the community in Lunenburg for 87 years yet the ideals of Scouting go back to ancient times. One of the oldest surviving set of rules for how men should behave comes from the ancient Greeks. In the 3rd century B.C., young men of 17 took the following oath to become citizens of Athens:

  • We will never bring disgrace on this, our city, by an act of dishonesty or cowardice.

  • We will fight for the ideals and sacred things of the city both alone and with many.

  • We will revere and obey the city's laws, and will do our best to incite a like reverence and respect in those above us who are prone to annul them or set them at naught.

  • We will strive increasingly to quicken the public's sense of civic duty.

  • Thus in all these ways we will transmit this city, not only not less, but greater, better, and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.

With the growth of modern religions, another, simpler idea of how men should behave developed. Referred to as the Golden Rule, it is taught by religions as diverse as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Brahmanism. Christianity's version is found in Matthew 7:12:

  • So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

During the Middle Ages, the code of chivalry was developed to teach knights how they should behave. One form of this code read as follows:

  • Be always ready with your armor on, except when you are taking your rest at night.

  • Defend the poor, and help them that cannot defend themselves.

  • Do nothing to hurt or offend anyone else.

  • Be prepared to fight in the defense of your country.

  • At whatever you are working, try to win honor and a name for honesty.

  • Never break your promise.

  • Maintain the honor of your country with your life.

  • Rather die honest than live shamelessly.

  • Chivalry requires that youth should be trained to perform the most laborious and humble offices with cheerfulness and grace; and to good unto others.

In the early years of the 20th century, a man named Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, a British military hero, took all these codes of conduct and turned them into a code of conduct for boys. His Scout Law, as he called it, read as follows:

  • A Scout's honour is to be trusted

  • A Scout is loyal to the king, and to his officers, and to his country and to his employers.

  • A Scout's duty is to be useful and to help others.

  • A Scout is friend to all, and a brother to every other Scout, no matter to what social class the other belongs.

  • A Scout is courteous.

  • A Scout is a friend to animals.

  • A Scout obeys orders of his patrol leader or Scoutmaster without question.

  • A Scout smiles and whistles under all circumstances.

  • A Scout is thrifty.

A few years later, Baden-Powell's program and ideas crossed the Atlantic Ocean. With the founding of the Boy Scouts of America, Baden-Powell's Scout Law was turned into a code that more than 100 million boys have learned and lived by. The Scout Law has been repeated and practiced by hundreds of boys from the Town of Lunenburg for those 87 years since the founding of the first troop in Town in 1914.

The Scout Law

A Scout is:

  • Trustworthy

  • Loyal

  • Helpful

  • Friendly

  • Courteous

  • Kind

  • Obedient

  • Cheerful

  • Thrifty

  • Brave

  • Clean

  • Reverent

Troop 1 (1914-?)
The first Boy Scout troop in Lunenburg, Troop 1, was organized in 1914.1 This was only 4 years after the introduction of the scouting movement into the United States from England in 1910. The first Scoutmaster was Henry Parker. Other early scoutmasters included Lewis Harrington, Rev. Lionel Whiston and Clayton Stone.2
Troop 1 attended summer camp at Stodge’s Meadow Pond in Ashburnham in 1918 and 1919.3 One of the boys that attended was Alfred Gilchrest, who became the Troop Committee Chairman of the revived Troop 1 in 1963, sponsored by the United Parish. It is not known when the original Troop 1 dissolved.
Troop 3 (1926-1982)
Troop 3 was chartered on November 4, 1926.4 The first Scoutmaster was Rev. James Alcock, the Minister of the Congregational Church. The Troop Committee consisted of William Allen, a reporter for the Fitchburg Sentinel, Carl Brown, owner of the Country Store in the center of Town, and Clayton Stone, a farmer that lived in the Stone Farm house on Massachusetts Ave. Clayton Stone was the driving force behind forming the troop. Mr. Stone was one of the Scoutmasters of the original Troop 1.
The first members of Troop 3 were:
Grover Barney

Daniel Charlton

James Harvey

Kenneth McIntyre

Harold Wornham

Edward Stone

Rolland Decoft

Richard Ellis

Elwin Cochran

Frederick Lawrence

Sando Ragusa
The troop met in the Congregational Church at 7:00 PM on Thursdays. Many camping trips were held, especially to Clayton Stone’s farmland.
The meeting place for the troop was changed to the Town Hall in 1931. In 1932 Troop 3 was sponsored by the Methodist Mens’ Club and the meetings were held in the church vestry. In 1935, the troop returned to the Town Hall with C. W. Hague as Scoutmaster.
Sponsorship of the troop changed to American Legion Post 283 in 1937. The location of the meetings was moved again in 1941 to the Memorial Building, what is now the Eagle House Senior Center.
In 1944 the troop was reorganized at a meeting held at Ralph Foster’s home. The new sponsor was “A Group of Citizens” which mirrored the actions of the Cub Scout Pack that was started in 1935. Present at the meeting were Frederick Gale, Arthur Colvin, Ralph Foster, Harold Harley, Leon Jowders, Don Hidden, Edward P. Field, Thornton K. Ware, and Carlton Ellms.
Several members of the troop attended the National Jamboree in 1953, which was held at Irvine Ranch, California. Glenn Goodale, Emory Merrill, Michael Gibson, and David Porter traveled to California by train. In 1955, Ronald Ostertag and Dave Porter attended Schiff Scout Reservation in Mendham, NJ for national level training.
Starting in 1957, a Scout building was built in the Town Forest off of Gilchrest St. This was built for the Scouts, primarily as a place for winter camping. The building took a number of years to finish. Various people in the town were asked to donate materials for the building. A new bridge over Mulpus Brook was built so that trucks could bring in the necessary supplies. Volunteer labor, especially that of Dave Porter’s father Charles Porter, was utilized for the construction. Mrs. Stanley Fessenden donated $500 to build a field stone fireplace. The cabin had two wood stoves and double bunks that were obtained from Fort Devens. The building was used for several years until vandalism took its toll and the building had to be torn down.
The foundation and patrol campsites still exist and up until 1999, the location was used by Troop 1728 for campouts. Unfortunately, new house construction has eliminated access to the Town Forest and the campsites have not been accessible. A new right of way and access to the Town Forest is being worked on and Troop 1728 is planning on building a new hiking trail and bridge to again have access to the Town Forest, which dates back to ownership by Harvard College in colonial days.
In 1971, Peter Carpenter and Cam Leblanc attended the 13th World Jamboree in Asagiri Heights, Japan. This world jamboree was near Mt. Fuji and experienced a typhoon during the middle of the event. Ray and Dave Berthiaume, Kevin Kelley and Stephen Caissey attended National Jamborees in the 1970’s.
Troop 3 celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 1976 and continued until 1982 for a total of 651 months of unit tenure. A “Group of Citizens” was the chartered organization right until the end.
Troop 1 (1963-1971)
In 1963, Troop 1 was revived by Scoutmaster Richard Moorcroft and Asst. Scoutmaster Roger Gilchrest. Roger’s father Alfred, was the Troop Committee Chairman. Alfred was a Scout in the original Troop 1 and there is a photograph of him with the troop at summer camp in 1918. Dick Moorcroft had been the Committee Chairman of Cub Scout Pack 1. He ran the first Webelos den in Lunenburg during the winter of 1962 and 1963. Webelos was a new program in Scouting, and provided a transition to Boy Scouts. In that time period, the Cub Scout ranks were Bobcat, Wolf, Bear and Lion. A Cub Scout that had earned his Lion award and was 10 ½ years old could join a Webelos den. The Webelos den concentrated on scouting skills and a Cub Scout that earned the Webelos award and the Arrow of Light, had passed all of the requirements for Tenderfoot, the first Boy Scout rank. On turning 11, a boy would join a Boy Scout troop and immediately qualify for the Tenderfoot rank.
Most of the boys in Dick Moorcroft’s Webelos den joined Troop 3 initially and participated in a fall campout at the Town Forest in 1963. Camping was done by patrols using Army surplus canvas pup tents. Each scout carried half of the tent, which would be snapped together with a matching half to form an A-frame tent with no floor. No poles were carried and the tent was lashed to straight branches for a frame or suspended from ropes tied onto trees.
At that time, long before the concept of “Leave No Trace Camping,” trenching around a tent to divert water from flowing in was standard practice. It was a good thing because there were torrential rains all night during that Fall of 1963 campout. Nearly all of the Scouts ended up abandoning their tents and moved into the recently completed building. Only two new Tenderfoot scouts from Dick Moorcroft’s Webelos den ended up staying dry enough to stay out all night.
Shortly after that campout, most of the boys from the Webelos den became the nucleus of Troop 1, which was started with the sponsoring or chartering organization being the United Parish.
The original members of Troop 1 were:5

Stephen R. Moorcroft

Gary Gilchrest

Edward Richards

Anthony Mayo

James Jarvela

Jack Burnap

Rickey Bourn

Robert Clarke

David Demers

Rickey Hillman

John Arsenault

Eric Karlson

Scott Wiley

Philip Breault

Ernest Cutting

Robert Cutting

Michael Shattuck

Charles Whitcomb

William Mead

Bruce St. Jean

Stephen St. Jean

Gary Musgrove

Richard Chandler

Howard Evers

David Nichols

Thomas Cournoyer

Gary Wentworth

Benjamin Horn

Thomas Prescott

Richard Adams

Mark Gionet

Competition between the two Lunenburg troops in the mid 1960’s was fierce. Both troops were large and very active with strong Scout leaders. Both troops were consistently on the top of council wide activities, especially camporees.

The City of Fitchburg celebrated their 200th Anniversary of secession from the Town of Lunenburg and incorporating as a separate town in 1964. As part of the City’s year long celebration, the Fitchburg Area Council sponsored the Heritage Camporee in May, 1964. Over 400 Scouts participated. This was the big showdown between Troop 1 and Troop 3.
The winner of the camporee was Troop 1-Lunenburg with 289 points. Troop 3-Lunenburg came in second with 282 points and Troop 17 of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fitchburg came in third with 266 points. The individual patrol winners were the following:
First Place:

Stag Patrol, Troop 3-Lunenburg Patrol Leader: Francis McCauliff

Second Place:

Moose Patrol, Troop 1-Lunenburg Patrol Leader: Stephen Moorcroft

Third Place (tie):

Panther Patrol, Troop 1-Lunenburg Patrol Leader: David Demers

Flaming Arrow Patrol, Troop 10 Townsend Patrol Leader: James Aho
The Camporee Award, an engraved slab of wood that had been around since the 1930’s was awarded annually to the winner of the camporee. Any troop that won the award three years in a row would be able to retire the award and keep it permanently.
In 1965, the Frontier Camporee was held in Lunenburg off of Mulpus Rd. Troop 1 of the United Parish won the camporee for the second year in a row. The Covered Wagon Patrol of Troop 1 took first place and the Panther Patrol of Troop 1 took third place.
In 1966, the Friendship Camporee was held in Ashby and Lunenburg Troop 1 again came in first, retiring the Fitchburg Area Council’s Camporee Award. After this camporee, Troop 1 retired from competition and for the two following years at the spring camporee, camped with a troop of special needs Scouts from Fitchburg. This was the first outdoor camping experience for many of the special needs kids.
On July 26 through August 1, 1964, eight of the 44 scouts that attended the second annual Fitchburg Area Council6 Junior Leader Training Course at Camp Split Rock in Ashburnham were from Lunenburg troops. The Scouts that attended were:
Gary Gilchrest Fox Patrol Troop 1

Frank Reed Fox Patrol Troop 3

Donald Barney Fox Patrol Troop 3

David Picard Eagle Patrol Troop 3

Perley Stewart Eagle Patrol Troop 3

Ernest Cutting Beaver Patrol Troop 1

George Sargent Wolf Patrol Troop 3

David Demers Raccoon Patrol Troop 1

The Nashua Valley Council was the result of a merger of the Fitchburg Area Council and Wachusett Council in 1965. In 1967, the Nashua Valley Council was one of 25 councils in the United States that was invited to put together a contingent of 10 Eagle Scouts to serve on the Scout Service Corps at Expo 67 in Montreal. This world’s fair was a celebration of the centennial anniversary of the formation of the Dominion of Canada. Two Eagle Scouts from Lunenburg Troop 1, Charles Whitcomb and David Demers, were members of the Nashua Valley Council’s troop.
Troop 4 (1965-1969)
Troop 4 was started in 1965 in the Whalom District and was known as the “Tri-Town Troop.” This moniker came from the Tri-Town Drive-In which was just down Youngs Rd. from the troop’s meeting place and the fact that the boys came from Lunenburg, Fitchburg and Leominster. Troop 4 was sponsored by VFW Post #7388 which was located in the old West School at the corner of Whalom Rd. and Youngs Rd. The first Scoutmaster was Earl Cote. Roland Leblanc, Jr. was one of the adults involved in starting the troop who then became the Scoutmaster after Earl. Roland was a Scout in Troop 3 in the 1940’s and has been an active adult leader in Troop 1728 for many years. Towards the end of the troop’s life, they met in the All Saints Chapel near Whalom Lake.
The charter members of Troop 4 were:7

Thomas Ryan

Kevin M. Haverty

John J. Romano

John Masciarelli

Michael K. Doyle

Andrew F. Doyle

Barry W. Syrjanen

Patrick B. Norley

Michael R. Leblanc

Brian W. Cote

David Lizotte

Robert Lamothe

Kenneth Smarden

David Letarte

Wayne Gelinas

Robin Courtemanche

Michael Bird

Gary Andersen

Paul Fury

Troop 6 (1971-1978)
When Troop 1 folded in 1971, many of the boys that were in the troop were the charter members of Troop 6 sponsored by the Pilgrim Covenant Church at the corner of Beal St. and Chase Rd. The three boys that became Eagle Scouts in Troop 6 were originally in Troop 1. The first Scoutmaster was Kenneth Abrams.
The charter members of Troop 6 were:8

Brian Abrams

Brian Alward

Michael Barney

John Debettencourt

Keith Debettencourt

Timothy Debettencourt*

Frank S. Derienzo

Michael Hare

Rickey Hobbs

Robert Hutchinson

Mark Lindberg

Donald Poirier

Carl W. Proctor*

Francis P. Reid

David Stafford

Steven Stafford*

William H. Stanhope*

Gerard Whitney

Jeffrey LaCass

Jobin Maxwell

David Hare

Edward Harriman

Matthew Proctor

Jeffrey Fournier

Richard Abrams

John Archambault

Norman Comeau

Gregory Howe

Joseph LaVallee

Keith Mackinnon

William Mackinnon

*Also a former member of Troop 1

The late 1960’s and 1970’s were difficult times for the Boy Scouts of America in general. There was significant anti-Vietnam and anti-establishment sentiment. Membership in the Boy Scouts decreased on a national level, which was reflected locally. This has resulted in difficulty recruiting Cub Scout leaders in the 1990’s because the majority of young parents were never in scouting.
Troop 1728 (1980-Present)
Troop 1728 was chartered in 1980, with the United Parish again becoming the chartered organization of a Boy Scout troop in Lunenburg. Even though belief in God and a Scout being reverent, the 12th point of the Scout Law, are important parts of Scouting, the Boy Scout troops in Lunenburg have always been non-denominational. This has resulted in a mix of boys from throughout the Town and surrounding areas and community based scouting. It was quite appropriate for the new unit to be called Troop 1728, which is the year the Town of Lunenburg was incorporated.
The charter members of Troop 1728 were:
Stephen A. Cunha

James M. Flanagan

C. J. Floros

Arthur M. Hayes, Jr.

David Hobson

Bjorn C. Larson

Mark T. Mrowka

Douglas Rhoten

Troop 1728 had small beginnings but had a consistent presence in the community. In the early 1990’s, Art Kennedy took over as Scoutmaster. As an Eagle Scout, Art brought the level of activity in scouting to a new level. This was further advanced by Carl Rose, who took over as Scoutmaster in 1995. Carl, also an Eagle Scout, was retired from the U. S. Army and had been stationed at Fort Devens. Carl’s scouting experience brought additional program activity and growth to the troop. In 1997, Dave Demers became the Scoutmaster. Dave was the first Eagle Scout in Troop 1 at the United Parish in 1966. Eight of the adult leaders registered in 2001 of Troop 1728 are Eagle Scouts.
Troop 1728 is a very active troop with a diverse program. Service to the community is a primary objective. Projects have included rebuilding of playgrounds, trail construction in conservation land, handicapped access to an athletic field, flower gardens in the center of town, and a program to videotape church services with the tapes being made available to the elderly. In 1998, the troop was awarded a $1,000 grant from Walmart for service projects in the community. With the assistance of the Lions Club, the troop raises several thousand dollars for “Scouting for Food” to support the Lunenburg Community Council and their holiday food basket project.
Outdoor and camping activities are conducted monthly. Events that have been established include a trip to the White Mountains the first weekend after Labor Day and the annual climb and camp out on top of Mt. Watatic the weekend between Christmas and New Years. In 1997, the troop climbed Mt. Washington and other climbs have included Mt. Lafayette, Mt. Adams and Mt. Monroe. In June of 1999, the troop spent a weekend on Lovell’s Island in Boston Harbor. In the spring of 2001, the troop traveled to New York City. The troop camped at the Alpine Scout Reservation on the Palisades in New Jersey and travel by bus into New York for two days.
During the summer of 2000, 8 Scouts and 4 Scouters went to the Philmont Scout Ranch in the Sangre de Christo Mountains in northeast New Mexico. The contingent went on a 64 mile, mountain backpacking trek with most of it over 8,000 ft. in elevation.
In 2001, 11 Scouts and 3 leaders from 1728 attended the National Jamboree at Fort A. P. Hill, Virginia. Two days were spent touring Washington, DC.
In 2003, another crew from Troop 1728 challenged Philmont with a mountain backpacking trek including climbing Black Mountain in full packs.
Other high adventure trips undertaken by Scouts and Scouters from 1728 have included the Florida Sea Base and white water rafting.
The membership of Troop 1728 has steadily increased during the 1990’s and in 2001, 54 scouts and 26 adult leaders were registered.
Troop 1728 has produced more Eagle Scouts (26) than any other troop that has existed in Lunenburg. As of rechartering in January 2004, Troop 1728 has completed 283 months of providing a values based program with the aims of character, citizenship and fitness for the boys of Lunenburg.
No history of the Boy Scouts in Lunenburg would be complete without thanking Richard Bishop. Mr. Bishop has been a Scout leader and supporter for over 50 years and his dedication to the Scouting program in this community and at the Council level has been extraordinary.
Troop 1 (1914-?):
Henry Parker 1914-

Lewis Harrington

Rev. Lionel Whiston

Clayton Stone

Troop 3 (1926-1982)9:
Rev. James Alcock 1926-1928

William B. Maudsley 1928-1930

George F. Fellows 1930-1932

Clayton Spaulding 1932-1935

C. W. Hague 1935-1936

Lester Wakefield 1936-1938

Alfred Taylor 1938-1939

Andrew Karkos 1939-1942

Frederick Gale 1944-1945

Edward Field 1945-1947

Arthur Colvin 1947-1948

James Newcombe 1948-1949

Leslie Griffiths 1949-1950

Alvah Reida 1950-1951

James Parker Rice Jr. 1951-1955

Stuart McDermott 1956-1957

Harold Wornham 1957-1958

William Hudson 1958

Mark LaCoss 1958-1960

Lou Forgues 1961-1964

Bertrand Therrien 1964-1965

James Rutledge 1965-1966

Robert Nelson 1966-1970

Milton Carpenter 1970-1972

Gerald Brault 1972-1973

Malcom Price 1973-1974

Bruce Bosselman 1974-1976

Peter Stafford 1976-1977

Bruce Bosselman 1977-????

Louis R. Caissey ????-1982

Troop 1 (1963-1971):
Richard Moorcroft 1963-1970

Robert V. Stafford 1970-1971

Troop 4 (1965-1969):
Earl Wm. Cote 1965-1967

Roland Leblanc 1967-1969

Roger Rheault 1969
Troop 6 (1971-1978):
Kenneth Abrams 1971-????

Francis McCauliff ????-1978

Troop 1728 (1980-Present):
Joseph Snider, Jr. 1980

Arthur Hayes 1981

Doug Fletcher 1981-1985


Fred Salo 1986-1987

John Art Kennedy 1990-1995

Carl Rose 1995-1997

David P. Demers 1997-2001

Robin Brideau 2001-2004

Richard Tremblay 2004-2007

Chuck  Paquette 2007-


Cub Scouts, the Boy Scout program for younger boys, was started in Lunenburg in 1935, the same year Cub Scouting became an official part of the Boy Scouts of America. (A younger boy program had been studied for several years and some experimental units were started in 1930 in different parts of the country.)
Pack 1728, even though having different unit numbers and sponsors, is the original Cub Scout pack in Lunenburg and has been in continuous operation since its charter was issued on November 18, 1935.10 The unit number was Pack 1. For a short period of time there was a Pack 2, which ended up folding and combining back into Pack 1 to form Pack 12. In 1998, in order to strengthen the ties with the Boy Scout Troop 1728 and the Town of Lunenburg, the unit number was changed to Pack 1728.
The original sponsor was “A Group of Citizens.” Other unit sponsors have included American Legion Post #283, the United Parish, the Lunenburg Sportsmen’s’ Club and Maki Home Center. The Lunenburg PTO has sponsored the Pack since 1989. The first Cubmaster was Elmer LeLachear with the Pack Committee Chairman being Rev. Donald Fraser. The original Cub Scouts of Lunenburg in 1935 were:
Roger Foster Age 11

David Hague Age 9

William Hidden Age 10

Robert Liljegren Age 9

Robert Logan Age 10

Stanley Page Age 11

Robert Porter Age 10

Edward Riley Age 11

Russell Simons Age 11

Carl Thompson, Jr. Age 11

Cub Scouts and Tiger Cubs, the program for first graders, continues as a strong and active part of the community.


Exploring is the older boy program of the Boy Scouts of America. Exploring has been either high adventure or vocationally oriented. One post was started in 1955 by some of the older Scouts from Troop 3.
In 1967, Post 27 was formed and sponsored by the Lunenburg Fire Fighters Association. Dave Dyer was the advisor. There were about 10 members of the post, with most coming from Troop 1. The post dissolved in 1969 when many of the scouts became old enough to become members of the fire department. The present Deputy Chief of the Lunenburg Fire Dept., Dave Demers, was a member of Post 27.
Recently a new program for older youth has been developed by the BSA called Venturing. This is a co-ed program. A new Venturing unit is being put together with the members coming from BSA Troop 1728 and the Girl Scout troops in Lunenburg.

1 Nelde K. Drumm and Margaret P. Harley, Lunenburg, The Heritage of Turkey Hills, 1718-1978 (Lunenburg, MA: Lunenburg Historical Society, 1977), p. 312.

2 Ibid.

3 Photographs from collection of David P. Demers

4 A great deal of the information on Troop 3 comes from a manuscript entitled “The History of Troop Three, 1926-1976” written by Bruce Bosselman and Richard Bishop on the 50th Anniversary of Troop 3

5 Application for Charter of Troop 1, Nashua Valley Council Records

6 The Fitchburg Area Council merged with the Wachusett Council to become the Nashua Valley Council in 1965. Francis McCarthy of Lunenburg was one of the professional scout executives at that time.

7 Application for Charter of Troop 4, Nashua Valley Council Records

8 Application for Charter of Troop 6, Nashua Valley Council Records

9 Richard Bishop manuscript

10 Ibid.

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