If you have ever wondered whether the Internet has helped or harmed our sense of community, we would like to submit the following for your consideration.
Earlier this year the Paine-Gillam-Scott announced their reopening in April. While they were promoting the upcoming exhibits, they mentioned the 100th anniversary of Scouting in the US. Their website said in part:
One hundred years ago, in 1909, Wallace Watt of Clinton County, Michigan, joined the first Boy Scout Troop of America, and remained a Boy Scout all his life. (An Englishman, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, organized the Boy Scouts in England in 1908. He introduced them to the U.S. in 1909.) Olive Watt, the wife of Wallace (Wally), donated his Boy Scout memorabilia to the Paine-Gillam-Scott Museum. She also donated funds to have a case built for the artifacts, making the collection a traveling exhibit. Most recently, the collection was loaned to a Laingsburg, Michigan Boy Scout Troop for the kick-off of a year- long National Celebration of Boy Scouts 100th anniversary.
The post sat there all summer, and then on Tuesday a comment to the article suddenly appeared. In it Steve Restelli wrote:
Wallace Watt was indeed a member of Troop 1 in Barre, Vermont in 1909.
Fortunately his historic artifacts have been saved by your museum since we do not have much left here in Barre as the original Scoutmaster died in 1920 and any early materials were either discarded or returned to Scotland as his widow returned to their homeland.
Here is a link to yesterdays newspaper article:
My special thanks to Catherine Rumbaugh for her help in providing information on Wallace Watt.
Restelli also has a related website at http://firstboyscout.com/
We here at the SJ Indy submit that had it not been for the Internet this man might never have found this confirmation of his belief that the Scout Troop in Barre was, indeed, the first troop in the US. And so we hail both 100 years of Scouting and the much more recent advent of the Internet.