Being the story of
Nassau County Council
Boy Scouts of America


William H. Kniffin

A Sagamore and wearer of
the Silver Beaver

Copyright © 1999

Theodore Roosevelt Council, Boy Scouts of America Inc.

All rights reserved. This document may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, in part or in whole without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations or reproductions of the cover for the purposes of review.

The information in this document is true and complete to the best of our knowledge. All recommendations are made without any guarantee on the part of the author or publisher, who disclaim any liability incurred in connection with the use of this data or specific details.

Published by

Theodore Roosevelt Council
Boy Scouts of America

544 Broadway
Massapequa, New York 11758-5008

In an effort to bring this story of the first thirty years of Nassau County Council, Boy Scouts of America to everyone who would like to read about it and making use of the tools of the computer age, I have repaginated and edited the original text. Nothing of the original manuscript has been left out and only a few words have been added for clarity. This effort was greatly assisted by Mrs. Camille LaPolla who retyped the original manuscript allowing the repagination and editing to be completed. It is my fondest hope that this document will be published and made available to anyone who would like the early history of Nassau County Council.

M. Richard Horn
February 1999

My sincere thanks to Dick Horn for making this work available. I have corrected a few typos in the text he supplied and reformatted it for the web site, but his hard work in supplying this is greatly appreciated. Please let me know if you spot any remaining typos or formatting errors.

Bill Cotter
May 2001

Table of Contents


Chapter One - Scouting Begins in Nassau

Theodore Roosevelt
The Council Suspends
Money Raising Campaigns
How a Money Campaign is Run
How Nassau County Council Does It
Community Chest

Chapter Two - We Buy Camp Wauwepex

Camp Wauwepex - A Tribute
The Courageous Fifteen

Chapter Three - Financing the Council

We Borrow Some Money
Three Big Events of the Year
We Catch Up With the Calendar
Then and Now - A Contrast
The Golden Years
Wall Street Did Not Get This

Chapter Four - Administrative Problems

Grit in the Bearings
Lining Up With National
Contributions in the Form of Stock

Chapter Five - Historical Events

We Go After The Tent Caterpillars
The Big Wind
Polio Breaks Out
"Coal Gas"
Fatal 14 Mile Hike
Tragic Easter Cruise
Nassau’s Honor Societies of Scouting - Wearers of the Silver Beaver
The Sagamores
The Buckskin Men
W. P. J. Piel and the Long House of Nassau
The Long House of Nassau
Troopmen’s Code and Congress

Chapter Six - Outstanding Men

Doctor E. C. Smith - Commissioner from 1919 to 1946
"Brownie" - The Story Teller
E. K. Pietsch - A "Santa Claus" in Scouting
Mortimer L. Schiff - "A Millionaire in Scouting"
Edward S. Harkness




How It Happened

On February 20, 1947, Nassau County Council, Boy Scouts of America, Inc. passed its thirtieth milestone. At the same time, F. Howard Covey celebrated his thirtieth consecutive year as Scout Executive. By the rules of the Retirement System, Chief Covey was required to retire at the age of 65. He was sixty-five on March 5, 1948. It is fitting, therefore, that as a token of his long service the story of Nassau County Council be now told as a commemorative gesture of respect and affection. I have been closely associated with the Council for more than twenty-five years. In a certain sense I have lived with it. I have written other histories and the process is not unfamiliar to me. In my haste, I have said repeatedly that I would not write another book. But here is the fourth to come out of my typewriter in less than a year. I obtained the minutes of the meetings as far back as they are recorded. I also obtained some old documents and other material from the Chief which supplemented my memory and produced this work. I read the record and made notes and carded names as they appeared, in order to include them here; but the list grew so long that it would unduly encumber this record to do so. Those who have made outstanding contributions to Scouting in Nassau will be found in the addenda; and if any have been omitted who are entitled to special mention it has been inadvertent; for it is well known that hundreds, yea, thousands of men in their own way have made their contribution to its achievements. They have given unstintingly of their time and effort to Scouting. These are the unsung heroes of Nassau. I here pay them tribute.

All this has entailed not a little of time and effort, but it has been indeed a labor of love. I have enjoyed my self-appointed task immensely. It has brought back memories that were slumbering and that were pleasant to review. I have been rather close to the Chief throughout the years. I have spent many a pleasant hour at his shack at Wauwepex both in winter and summer; I have fished with him and have been bawled out for making "piscatorial errors." He has been with me on never-to-be-forgotten trips to Woodstock and Minnewaska and Mohonk. I have cooked with him and tramped with him and taken colored pictures with him. I have tried to tell his story as well as that of the Council, and I trust I have succeeded in doing both.

The statistical matter has not to my knowledge been heretofore tabulated and will bear close study, because it shows what we have done and how well we have done it, in cold figures. It has lessons we do well to heed, as for instance, in the registrations at Wauwepex. Only by looking back at the record may we see our shortcomings as well as our successes. With charts and figures as our guides we can improve upon an already splendid accomplishment. We can make a good record better as we write it in the future years. I have included the tragedies of Scouting for they too are history, unpleasant as they may be.

I here acknowledge and commend the fine work done by Miss Wilma Greitag as office manager, whose records are most complete and splendidly kept. In obtaining necessary statistics and checking the facts these records were found invaluable in their detail and completeness. I also acknowledge the work of Mrs. Grace Walther nee Bach, and the other girls of the office for their excellent typographical work. In a sense this is a "home made history."

I hope my readers will enjoy this history as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I have learned many things worth knowing. I would like to have it said of me as was said of A. Barton Hepburn, the banker, "What he wrote he knew." I know Scouting in Nassau, not as Chief Covey knows it, but first as an observer and now as an historian.

William H. Kniffin
September 1954

Chapter One

Scouting Begins in Nassau

F. Howard Covey was born in Moravia, New York, on March 5, 1883. He went to the public schools up to the first year high. He then went to Casonovia Seminary, a Methodist Co-ed school. Here he finished his high school training. He came to New York in 1904 and went to Columbia University Teachers College. Here he took manual training and physical education. During his Columbia years, he earned his tuition and board by doing settlement work at Spring Street Neighborhood House and Christodora House on the East Side. He took a job in the credit department of the Hungerford Brass and Copper Co. and became first assistant credit man. His work at Christodora House resulted in meeting Josephine England of  Utica. Subsequently he married here. They have one son, Lane.

He left his credit job for a position in manual training and physical education at the Staten Island Academy for two years. After two years he became teacher  in the industrial education branch of the Lexington School for the Deaf at 94 Lexington Avenue, New York City. While teaching in this school he and Mrs. Covey operated a boys camp for eight years. It  is here that he received his first practical training in running a camp, which has stood him so well in the operation of  Camp Wauwepex.

Some time in 1915 a group of boys went to his house in Great Neck one evening and asked him to become their Scoutmaster. Mr. Covey at the time knew nothing about Scouting. He went to National Headquarters at 200 Fifth Avenue, New York City,  where he received his first introduction to Scouting. The Troop was organized as Troop 1 of Great Neck and later became Troop 10 of Great Neck. It is still in existence. Seeing the possibilities of organizing a Council in Nassau County he called a group of men around him and among them was Theodore Roosevelt. A Charter was granted on February 20, 1917 and Covey was made Scout Executive which office and title he has enjoyed for thirty years. Theodore Roosevelt was made Scout Commissioner and with his usual vigor he plunged into the work as the record shows. His letters and speeches testify to his immediate acceptance of Scouting as a character builder and developer of citizenship for which he so ardently stood. Roosevelt remained on the Council from 1917 and 1919.

In 1917, during World War I, the Army and Navy asked Covey to organize recreational facilities for service men on leave. He instituted such facilities to take care of men in Nassau and Queens Counties. He built a swimming pool at Camp Mills, and erected dormitories and club houses. He arranged bathing facilities at the beaches and entertainment in private homes over week ends and at other times. He decided to go overseas and was given a commission as First Lieutenant, Quartermaster Corps. He passed another examination and was given a rating as Captain. He never sailed. He is Past Master of Paumanok Lodge, F.&A.M., Great Neck;  Past District Deputy Grand Master of Masons, Nassau County;  Rotarian; and Past President, Nassau County Grand Jurors’ Association.

The writer of this history is a firm believer in the doctrine that little things can lead to great events. The course of history has been turned by trivial incidents. Just so in the case of  Mr. Covey. The visit of those boys in Great Neck may have and quite likely was a turning point in his life. It lead him directly into Scouting. He might and probably would have gone into Scouting some time; but the boys’ visit was the little event that had lasting and important consequences in so far as Scouting in Nassau County is concerned. It would seem that there was a Divinity that shaped our end in that simple visit of  boys to man.

               *    *    *

THEODORE ROOSEVELT - Nassau’s First Scout Commissioner

Judged by ethical as well as political standards, Theodore Roosevelt was for many years the outstanding citizen of Nassau County. He exemplified all that Scouting stands for. He was an outdoorsman. He was interested in boys and has several sons of his own. He was a “family man” as his letters to his sons will testify. He was a leader. Whatever he did he threw himself into with vigor. It was but natural that when Chief Covey began his work in Scouting in Nassau he should endeavor to enlist the support of Col. Roosevelt, as well as other prominent men. Getting his endorsement and support meant much to the success of the Movement. He was, therefore, elected as the First Scout Commissioner for Nassau County. He had been “Honorary President” of the Boy Scouts of America while in the White House, and Troop Committeeman of Troop 39, Oyster Bay. There is reproduced elsewhere a letter from him endorsing the Movement and promising his help. There is also printed the address he made to the Scouts when he presented to them their awards for selling Liberty Bonds. There will be found in his speech of November 17, 1917 the word “bully” which is now the Scout evidence of approval. Presumably it came from him.

At the Council Ring at Wauwepex there is a vacant  space alongside Chief Covey’s seat that is always vacant. This is reserved forever for the spirit of  Theodore Roosevelt. Unquestionably he gave Scouting an impetus and a push that it needed at the time.  A man of his temperament and vigor could do nothing less. The Scouts of Nassau County have recognized Mr. Roosevelt’s early work in their yearly pilgrimage to his grave. May I say here that I have attended many of these pilgrimages. I have wondered what there was about this man that he should be honored and remembered thus. It  is hard to define just what it is. Other men have been outstanding Americans; other men have been writers and speakers and editors; other men have been big game hunters; other men have marched up San Juan Hill; other men have been Presidents of the United States. But there has been but one “Teddy Roosevelt” in all our history. It  must be a combination of all these qualities that  has made him, with Lincoln, one of our immortals. His patriotism was of the highest type. When Teddy, Junior, died in service on the other side I wrote his sister that he came from the “fightingest family of America,” and that was true. Wherever there has been a scrap, the Oyster Bay Roosevelt’s have been in the thick of the fight and they have acquitted themselves with honor. Quentin lies where he fell in World War I, and Teddy, Junior, lies where he fell in World War II. The Colonel lies in historic Young’s Cemetery at Oyster Bay, a shrine for millions of Americans who go there, not out of curiosity, but to pay reverence to a man we all have loved and admired even though we may have disagreed with him in some things. His honor and uprightness are unquestioned and he lives in the hearts of America even though his grave is no more pretentious then that of thousands of other Americans who lie in sacred resting places of the dead.

 *    *    *


The Council had hardly begun to function before it suspended in September, 1919, for lack of funds. It reorganized January 5, 1920. During the suspension the Council lost 222 boys, and no new Troops were formed.

The following Troops were then (January 5, 1920) in the process of reregistering and reorganizing:

East Rockaway
East Williston Farmingdale
Franklin Square
Garden City
Glen Cove
Glen Cove
Great Neck
New Hyde Park
Rockville Centre
Sea Cliff
Valley Stream

Troop One*
Troop One
Troop One
Troop One
Troop One
Troop One
Troop One
Troop Three
Troop Two
Troop One
Troop One
Troop Three
Troop One
Troop One

*Troops were then numbered by villages using consecutive numbers in that village.

The reorganized Executive Board was:

Byron C. Gould, Port Washington
George O. Linkletter, Manhasset
Henry M. Earle, Old Westbury
Ralph Peters, Garden City
R. H. Boggs, Rockville Centre
John W. Gross, Rockville Centre
Abraham Adleberg, Cedarhurst
William S. Pettit, Woodmere
Edward H. Floyd-Jones, Massapequa
Smith F. Pearsall, Freeport
Robert Seaman, Hicksville
H. S. Parsons, Glen Cove
Jesse D. Partridge, Glen Cove
Harry L. Hedger, Glen Cove
John F. Bermingham, Oyster Bay
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Oyster Bay - Commissioner (Honorary)

*    *    *


My first experience with money raising campaigns, aside from Liberty Bond Campaigns in World War I, was in connection with the fund raising campaign around 1917 on behalf of the Nassau Hospital at Mineola. I distinctly remember the opening luncheon and those that followed. To dine in such a well known and “swanky” hotel as the Garden City Hotel was an experience in itself. To dine “on the campaign” was enticing. I remember nothing of quotas or the setup, but I do remember the bevy of girls that stopped automobiles on the Merrick Road in Rockville Centre and put a little box in front of the occupants and pleaded for help. The slogan was “you may need a hospital some day—please help us build it.” That is what the beautiful girls told the drivers; but little did they know how true their slogan would be in later years. I do not like this method of money raising although it is prevalent everywhere in some form.

I also remember during the early years of my association with the Nassau County Council, Boy Scouts taking a handful of cards selected from the telephone book and handing them around a circle for solicitation purposes. I have had much experience since that time in raising money by public appeal, and as a business this has grown into big business and as a science it has matured. It is no longer guess work and a random appeal. It is planned to the last fine point. The story of mankind is the quest for food; the story of Nassau County Council is the quest for money.


The work of raising money from the public for any cause whatsoever is so standardized that what works in Nassau County  will work in the Middle West or on the Coast. The approach is almost scientific today. It was not in former years. This is the process:

1.    Of course there must be a cause - a church, a camp, a hospital, or an organization, or a group of organizations such as the Community Chest that makes an appeal. Some think the Chest is the ideal way. It is good to have a worthy cause; it is better to have something definite to sell to the public and which visualizes the need for the campaign - a hospital for instance. 

2.    There must be a money objective - the sum to be raised, giving of course heed to shrinkage in collection. It was formerly the practice, and in which the Nassau County Council concurred, to obtain pledges payable over a term of years with some “cash on the barrel head.” People were more willing to sign pledges than they were to dip down in their pockets and give outright. Pledges is the easiest way but not the best. It will turn in more money and take less effort, but the follow-up is costly and there is always a shrinkage in making collections. This shrinkage depends upon how much high pressure work was done in getting the pledges signed. In the Nassau County Council we formerly had many pledges, but of late years we have had practically none, although in many campaigns of today the pledge idea is still used.

3.    There must, of course, be leadership in the money raising effort. This is provided by professional money raisers who work on a percentage or fee basis, the flat fee being based upon the number of man days used in the campaign. Some firms will work no other way, and their fee comes out of the first moneys received. The percentage plan is not now often used. In Nassau for the past five years we have managed our own campaigns.

4.    There must be a general chairman and a vice chairman. The former is usually selected to give dignity and distinction to the effort and the one selected must give it these attributes.

5.    The territory is divided into zones or areas or villages, etc.—any division that can be identified and given boundary lines. Some campaigns in the large cities are run on the basis of industries and not by territories. Thus in New York there will be the insurance group, the textiles, the banking and finance, the lawyers, etc.

6.    We will not need chairmen of the various districts or industries.

7.    Under the chairman will be teams with team captains.

8.    The canvassing may be by streets or blocks or by direct name approach. These names are obtained from various lists that may be purchased from concerns specializing in the names or taken from telephone directories or voting lists. At any rate the workers had best be given names of the people they are to visit and not go blindly at it.

9.    Meanwhile literature has been prepared and given to the canvassers or sent by mail to prospects. Newspapers, radio and the mails are used freely to build up public interest. There must be this interest and “ballyhoo” if the campaign is to go over. It is a necessary evil.

10.  Quotas have been assigned to the various districts or groups and accepted. There are many ways by which these quotas are established and too many ways to go into here. Nassau County-Council Boy Scouts has tried several methods as the years have gone by, but their present method is based on past performances, ability to contribute, and, at least, 35% of the homes should be covered.

11.  Having all these preliminaries taken care of we are prepared to begin the week. There is usually the “kickoff dinners” to which all perspective workers are invited. The cost is part of the campaign expense. They are not cheap affairs. They are costly, I used to think it was a waste of money to have these dinners, but have concluded that they pay.

12.  There is as a rule a “special gifts” committee that begins the job early and is ready with some worthwhile results to give the “kickoff dinner” some thrills. Report dinners are held at frequent intervals where the various team captains or district captains report their results. This generates rivalry amongst the various committees or divisions, and I am persuaded that for every dollar that is thus spent on dinners, ten dollars is returned that might not otherwise come in. Closing dates are usually set, but as a rule the campaign has to be continued until the objective is reached. Some communities will always come through and some will always fail and the good must carry the poor. The ultimate results depend upon local leadership and local workers. Get the right chairman for the community and the job is half done. Get the wrong one and you are licked. The slogan might well be: “Get a little from a lot of people,” but that requires organization and a lot of “foot work.”

*    *    *


In a long and interesting treatise on the work of the Council, and particularly in a money sense, by Carl Stedman Brown, and found in the minutes of December 1938, he reviews the history of the Council in respect to money raising. He concludes that the job cannot be done by the Executive acting as Campaign Manager and Chief Executive at the same time. He concludes that the hiring of professional help is the only way and recommends the hiring of Pierce and Nedrick to do the job for the 1939 campaign. Their fee was $3,200 and the incidental costs were comparably the same. They raised $45,000 from 9,062 contributors. Subsequently, however, the Council came to the conclusion that we could do the job ourselves and since 1942 we have dispensed with the services of campaign managers in a professional sense. The exact cost of this work cannot be known because of the overlapping of time and just what its costs us to raise a dollar we do not now exactly know.

Edward S. Harkness, the philanthropist, who gave us the 34 acres of land now called “Harkness,” in sending his check for $500 said that he would not further contribute unless we had the books audited by recognized auditors (which has been done yearly) and kept the cost of raising money down to 12 per cent.

For many years, as already stated, the Nassau County Council put on their campaigns by professionals. The cost ran about ten per cent of the amount raised. It was a spasmodic and not a yearly affair. It was an intensive effort. Some five years ago it was decided that we could do the job with our own people. There had been assembled over the years the names of thousands of contributors from all over the county. We, of course, had our roster of Scout men. We had long experience looking on, as it were. Now we were to be on our own. The card indexes had been the heart of this effort. As soon as one campaign is closed—and they have been moved up from along in May to early in the year—work begins on the lists for the following year. The new cards are prepared alphabetically by communities. The card contains the name and address of the contributor, amount given in the past two years or so, and who obtained the subscription. A list of these names is prepared in the duplicate for the local chairman. The spade work is, therefore, done long in advance of the opening of the campaign. Some 10,000 of these cards are ready, when the kickoff meeting is held.

We follow the standard pattern of choosing chairman, setting up an objective, etc.  In making the quotas, we formerly used various methods of determining how much a certain locality should be asked to raise. In later years we have past performances as a guide, together with population, number of Scouts, reputed wealth, etc. In this experience we have learned valuable lessons. For instance, while others will turn in fewer but in average.

Some places are “problem children” and others are as dependable as the clock. I have had charge of the auditing of these returns for many years and have done so much of the work myself that I can tell what to expect, without opening the envelopes, by looking at the name of the village. For instance, a lot of small coins will have a definite meaning to me, while another village will turn in almost all checks. I know before the campaign begins that certain communities will not come through because they never have, and I discount their quote for this reason.

Following the accepted pattern, the county now works by campaign districts which are the same as the county scout setup at present. There is a finance chairman selected for each district of which there are seven, and sub-chairman representing the various villages in the district. Reports are made to the district finance chairman (who may be a temporary appointment) who reports at the campaign report meetings.

The kickoff dinners have been held at the Bar Association for several years and also the weekly report meetings.

Chief Covey has been officially campaign manager since 1942, and the detailed administration and conduct of the office has been the work of Wilma Freitag.

*     *     *


There are three Community Chests in Nassau County. For the benefit of those who do not know, a Community Chest is a consolidation of money raising effort that includes most of the public service organizations such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other organizations that are engaged in public welfare work. It does not include churches, lodges, or fraternal bodies such as Masons, Police and Fire Department organizations. It confines its work to non-sectarian, non-political bodies and excludes such groups as Chambers of Commerce and like bodies. The Red Cross has never gone into the Community Chests, preferring to control their own finances. When a Chest is set up in a community, the general rule is that solicitation of money from the public is not allowed except within the limits of a church or other organization. That is, a group may solicit from its membership but not from the public at large. Otherwise the purpose of the Chest is destroyed, which is to make one campaign cover many activities.

The bodies that are admitted into the Chest submit their budgets to the Chest and, after being approved by the Chest, the money is practically guaranteed without further effort. The Chest puts on its yearly drive with great skill and covers the territory adequately. It does its job surprisingly well because it has a definite plan, a definite organization, and does not have to do a lot of spade work every year. Once the setup is perfected it needs only the routine work to start the machinery in motion.

In raising money for Scouting, the question has had to be answered whether to put on an independent campaign with the consent of the Chest or go into the Chest and let the Chest do the work. An individual campaign would entail expense and a lot of hard work and might conceivably produce more in money; at the same time it might not. There would be overlapping of effort and confusion in the minds of the public, and it has been found better to accept a certainty with less than to go out for more and perhaps fail. It has not always been easy to convince the Chest officials that their allotment to Scouting should be liberal. We have had to justify our request by results. We have had to sell Scouting to them as well as to the public. On the other hand the Chest has found Scouting a stimulant in producing results. The Chest has been easier to put over because it included the Scouts than it would have been otherwise. We are now members of the three Chests in Nassau—the “Five Town” which allots $6,000; the Glen Cove which gives $3,000; and the Manhasset which allots $6,000.

Our experience with the Chest has been eminently successful. We have had our periods of dispute. We have been on the spot in justifying what we asked for, but we now have the certainty that the Chest can be depended upon for the amount agreed upon, and thus we have the amounts underwritten for us at no expense and no effort.

The writer of this story has been through a great many campaigns. He has been through practically all the Nassau County Scout Campaigns. If ever a Movement “clicked,” it was when the campaign for Camp Wauwepex was on. The money came pouring in from all sides. So much so that a special corps of girls was put on by the Bank of Rockville Centre Trust Company to handle the money and pledges that came in in a golden stream. The cash receipts and pledges amounted to $238,000 against an objective of $231,262.

I have never had a more satisfying-money raising effort, except perhaps the War Loan Drives in Rockville Centre and the sale of War Bonds at Belmont Park, both of which were successes comparable with the buying of Camp Wauwepex.

*    *     *


In the raising of money in Nassau and among the various villages, it was thought to be easier to enlist support if the various Units could retain part of the moneys they collected. Every community was given a quota in each campaign which they had to raise. Whatever they raised in addition was split 50-50. This is called the “kickback” and this is the money that has kept the various communities in funds to promote Scouting in their area. It was in incentive to raise the quota and more; but the idea did not have National approval, the National policy being that each Institution take care of its own Unit. In Nassau the “kickback” idea produced good results, although it was a source of discussion for years. In 1946 the idea was abandoned and “kickbacks” no longer allowed. The districts now submit a budget of their needs each year and when approved, the County Council becomes responsible for the accepted budget. It has taken time to get away from the old idea and into the new, but the new process is now working out very  well.

*    *    *

Chapter Two

We Buy Camp Wauwepex

The heart of the Nassau County Council is, of course, the Camp. It was named “Camp Wauwepex” in 1921 by Chief Covey. It is reported on the maps as “Deep Pond.” The six hundred acres and the lake were owned by William K. Vanderbilt and Harry Payne Whitney, and the story is that they bought the property as a terminus of the Motor Parkway where the old time auto races were held back in the “gay nineties.” It is ideally situated for a Scout Camp. The soil is sandy; the water, as already stated is pure; and the terrain, rolling hills. The Council Ring, scene of the Friday night Council Fires and the Sunday “Church Services,” could not have been better placed or better arranged had it been made to order. The center of attraction is, of course, the lake. That is always true of any place. The hurricane of 1938 blew down some good trees, but today their loss is not noticeable.

Vanderbilt and Whitney allowed the Council to use the property for camping at $1 a year from 1922 to 1926 when the Council bought the property for $180,000. There was no agreement as to how long the arrangement would last. Because of the uncertainty, the Council did not feel warranted in spending more than was absolutely necessary in the way of improvements while it was a tenancy. The water supply at first came from a pump on the beach (an ideal bathing beach now with substantial docks) and a pump in the kitchen. Cooking was done on an old fashioned camp cook stove which burned wood. For years the boys used mess kits and “washed up” after meals by dipping the kits into a tub of hot, soapy water on the beach over an open fire and rinsing in another tub of hot water. At first there were no platforms for the tents. These came later. Chief Covey’s headquarters was in a tent also. The next move was into what is now “The Green Shack.” Then a cabin was build on the knoll near the lower mess hall. Finally, the present and usable cabin was set up near the Upper Mess Hall.

Camping in those early days was camping indeed. It is my judgment that the boys really enjoyed it more than they have in later years when the Camp grew up and lost some of its primitive aspects. The food was simple but good.

Came the time (1926) when Vanderbilt and Whitney laid down the ultimatum to either buy the property or vacate. The place had become such an integral part of the Council’s work and it had so enamored itself to the men and boys that to abandon it would have been a tragedy. Chief Covey and others visited every available camp site on Long Island and concluded that there was nothing better or even half as good as this spot, and, after due consideration, it was decided to buy the property at $300 an acre—an investment of about $180,000.

Here was a challenge to the Council and to the people of Nassau County. The timing was perfect. We were in the Coolidge prosperity. To be sure the people were not by any means making the money they made during World War II or even at the present time, but prosperity was in the air. The stock market was boiling and the people were buying their heads off in blissful ignorance of the coming storm of 1929. The Council had no money to lay down, not even the binder of $100. Troop 21 of Woodmere with Charlie Hewlett as its Scoutmaster came forward with this amount and the option was secured on May 13, 1926. Looking back, as I now do, I wonder how the Council ever had the courage to undertake so huge a task. To be sure there was something to sell to the public - a camp site that many had seen. There was a boy movement that had been successful. Prominent men were in it and behind it. The big problem was to organize the County and to go out and ring the door bells. After some negotiation, the firm of Ward, Wells, Dreshmen and Gates, professional money raisers, were engaged to conduct the campaign. Mr. Berry Burgess was directly in charge of the work. The Board of Governors then was composed of Dow H. Fonda, E. C. Smith, B. M. Asch, W. H. Kniffin, W. J. Morley, F. H. Meeker, F. S. Staats, C. Arthur Sambleson, M. L. Schiff, F. L. Hayes, W. H. Eaton,  C. S. Brown, Willard Waters, A. Z. Gray.

In the Nassau Scouter of  July 1923 I wrote:

“An Appraisal of the financial position of a business concern resolves itself into an estimate of its net worth, taking also into consideration that important item “good will.” To properly make this estimate requires experience and the ability to interpret figures. Relatively few people are able to do this in fairness to the concern under review.

If we were to peruse the annual audited statement of the condition of the Nassau County Council, Boy Scouts, we might read into it little or much, depending upon how familiar we are with what is really going on. To me the statement means much more than a few columns of figures which balance assets and liabilities. There must be read into the summation many unseen factors which cannot be set down in dollars and cents.

Behind these few figures and written large into the financial statement is the good will of these thousands who so generously made our present financial position possible. Some did a little; others did a lot. But whether the gift was large or small it carried the same token of approval. Scouting in Nassau has many good friends and many staunch supporters, who year in and year out see to it that the exchequer does not run dry.

In addition to this tangible support we may well include the memories of the hundreds of boys who have spent their summers in the woods of Camp Wauwepex, which memories will last for all time. This has been literally time in hundreds of cases. Many of these boys have come back to Wauwepex to review old times and renew acquaintances.

It is given to youth to have a long memory. The scenes and incidents of school days are the more lasting of all. Many good times there have been around the shores of our lake and many lasting friendships have there been cemented. It is almost a hallowed spot. I can well imagine that as the boys grew up and look back upon their Scouting days, there will stand out clear and sharp the Friday night Council Fires, the “chow times,” the games, the trips, the swims. And as these boys become men of business, these memories will be transformed into good will that will carry on for the benefit of those who come after. Who can adequately appraise the good will, present and potential, which we enjoy and who shall set a value upon it? It is our hope for future accomplishments, as it has been our guiding star of past achievement.”

On November 19, 1926, we bought Camp Wauwepex consisting of approximately 600 acres for $300, per acre, making the purchase price $179,054.70. The terms were $50,000 on the signing of the deed and the balance on the purchase money mortgage. The $50,000 check dated July 28, 1926 and signed by W. H. Baten, Treasurer, is held in the Council Offices as one of the valuable souvenirs of those days. The campaign was then under way which resulted in cash and pledges amounting to over $235,000 for the purpose of purchasing the camp and operating the Council for approximately two years. The mortgage was subsequently reduced to $49,000. At which point it was taken over by the Bank of Rockville Center Trust Company on June 2, 1932. Later, the mortgage was reduced to $45,000. As a gift in memory of Mortimer L. Schiff, the mortgage was paid off by his wife Mrs. Mortimer L. Schiff; his daughter, Dorothy Schiff Hall; and his son John M. Schiff. With appreciate and impressive ceremonies, the mortgage was burned on August 14, 1932, in what is now the parade ground of Camp. In appreciate of this splendid gift, the Scouts themselves created a permanent monument to Mortimer L. Schiff which forms the base of the flag staff and placed thereon a suitable table which reads:

“Erected by the Boy Scouts
of Nassau County, New York
in memory of
Mortimer L. Schiff
whose wise counsel and generous gifts so greatly
aided them in securing for this permanent
Camp Wauwepex

President Boy Scouts of America
May 6 to June 4, 1931
Director Nassau County Council
January 1, 1920 to February 3, 1930”

 That gave us a free and clear “net worth” of a quarter of a million. Financially we had “arrived” but still had to “pass the hat” every year, and borrow on unsecured notes of a bank that thought Nassau County Council a good credit risk. Be it said to the Council’s credit that in all the years the Council had to borrow of this bank there was never a single criticism or even a comment on the part of the bank examiners regarding the soundness of these loans. That in itself is worthy of recording in this history.

*    *    *


If the Great Architect of the Universe had been asked, while he was building this world of ours, to build a site that would answer for a Boy Scout Camp in future years, he could not have done a better job than was done down Wading River  way. Here amidst some 600 acres of rolling country, heavily wooded, will be found Nassau County’s Boy Scout Camp - Camp Wauwepex. Wauwepex is an Indian name given to a spring situated on the west side of Cold Spring Harbor near Sagamore Hill. In Indian language , Wauwepex means “a place of good water.” Here, like a gem, the lake lies in the center, surrounded by tree-lined and sloping shores, a sandy beach or two, ideal for bathing, and water that is crystal pure. The lake is large enough for the enjoyment of 500 boys, and yet small enough to hold its intimacy. It is deep enough to afford heavy feeding grounds for the bass and the pickerel and the lowly bullhead. There is good fishing here. There is not a cent of debt on this camp side, valued with its 20 buildings at more than a quarter of a million dollars. No serious accident has ever taken place on or in the water, and only one on land. The swimming and boating regulations are perfect. As now set up, the Camp accommodates 300 boys. This is what  we bought in 1926.

Hard by the lake in a perfectly natural amphitheater is the Council Ring with its seats build of “soul stones” - stones brought by those in attendance at a camp fire for the first time and laid around the Council Fire.  There are thousands of these stones set in concrete. Here every Friday night the Scouts build their fire by friction and conduct their Council in true Indian fashion. They do not imitate the American Indian, they follow his traditions. In winter’s cold as well as summer’s heat, there is something to this place “that draws you to it and then won’t let you go.” Thousands of boys and men have found this to be true. Here camping never stops. For seven weeks in summer the Camp is in full blast; every week and the year round the various buildings are in use by smaller groups. I have been at Camp with the thermometer below zero and have been comfortable, and I have sat on chief Covey’s porch with the thermometer at 96 and have not been uncomfortable. I have seen it in all its needs. Come down to a Council Fire some Friday night and see how they do it. But I warn you that in the closing ceremony when the boys circle the fire with arms around each other’s shoulders and the bugle blows “taps” which are echoed across the lake, you will feel a solemnity and an awe that you will really experience and never forget.

The outstanding event of the thirty years this history covers was, of course, the purchase of Camp Wauwepex at Wading River. During the summer of 1921, it is impossible to secure the present camp site so that Camp Wauwepex was operated for one season at Miller Place, Long Island, some nine miles distant, after which the Council was able to lease the present camp site until purchased in 1926.


It took a lot of courage on the part of the Board of Directors at the time the camp site was contracted for (1926) to undertake so pretentious a real estate transaction. There was no rich man who guaranteed to see the project through. There was no Santa Claus with a basketful of money to pay the bill. He (Santa) did however appear before the transaction was completed and proved our real benefactor, but no one but he knew what he had in mind until he did it. Whether or not the public would respond to the appeal for such an imposing sum of money was problematic. Just what the terms of sale would be only a few knew. What we would do if the campaign failed was debatable. This was no “dollar down” affair, for it required the full payment of $180,000, a large sum at any time whatever way you look at it. Looking back upon these crucial days, the wonder is we did so well. There were but two men of wealth on the Board; otherwise they were just business men. But they had the courage of their convictions and their convictions were that we should buy the Camp and trust to luck or kind Providence to pay for it.  It was a bold undertaking. These men well deserve the plaudits of their fellows after all these years, because had they not had vision and courage, the Camp would never have been our own.

Here they are:

                       Carl Stedman Brown,  Baldwin
F. S. Staats,  Seaford
                       Dr. E. C. Smith,  Woodmere
Albert Z. Gray,  Old Westbury
            Frank H. Meeker,  Mineola
                       Fred L. Hayes,  Port Washington
                       Willard G. Waters,  Baldwin
William J. Morley,  Locust Valley
                        William H. Kniffin,  Rockville Centre
Mortimer L. Schiff,  Oyster Bay
                        W. H. Baten,  Garden City
                        C. A. Sambleson,  Hempstead
                        F. Howard Covey,  Great Neck
Dow H. Fonda,  Plandome
                        B. H. Asch,  Freeport

*    *    *

Chapter Three

Financing The Council

Up to the time of the Big Campaign in 1926 for the Camp and running expenses, which resulted in pledges of $285,000, the funds to support the Council were raised by no definite plan of campaign such as we know it now. Quotas were allotted to various communities and the task assigned to the Scout leaders in the respective communities was to raise the quotas. By one process or another, frequent borrowings, gifts of wealthy men and other means, the Council was kept alive, but the sledding was “tough.” The budget was from $1,000 to $1,500 a month up to 1925. In 1926 the big drive was put on under the direction of Ward, Wells, Dreshman and Gates. Up to November 30, 1927 it was reported that $188,986.04 had been collected. $79,336 was still due on the original pledges. On February 29, 1928 the unpaid pledge amounts were $75,015.96.

These collections carried over until 1931 when a campaign was put on for $100,000. This resulted in pledges of $105,082.57 as reported September 1, 1931 of which $64,476.28 was collected up to that time. There were no yearly campaigns, more or less complete in themselves conducted, as now prevail. The carry over from previous campaigns, together with borrowings from banks in anticipation of campaign money coming in, kept the Council in funds. From 1933 on, a yearly campaign was instituted and with an objective large enough to carry the Council for the current year. Because of all this overlapping, the Council did not get on a pay-as-you-go plan until 1945 when all bills were reported paid, no loans outstanding, and money in the bank. The results of the campaigns from 1920 on are herewith given.

*    *     *


In 1925, the Council needed $2,500. The following members of the Board guaranteed payment of the note, but limited their liability (as they should have) to $200 per man.  The following men endorsed the note:

                                    Carl Stedman Brown                Dow H. Fonda
            William J. Russell                      Dr. Edward C. Smith
            F. H. Meeker                           F. S. Staats
            William J. Morley                     W. H. Eaton
            Benjamin M. Asch                    Fred L. Hayes
            Albert Z. Gray                         William H. Kniffin

This procedure was more or less common in the early days, but no man ever had to make good his endorsement.

For another private loan see “Gleanings from the record.”

*    *    *


The three big events of the Scout Year are (but not in the order of their importance)

First: The Campaign to raise the budget. This work begins in the fall with the preparation of the work lists which is purely an office job. From late fall until late spring and often early fall the campaign engages the time and attention of the organization to a large degree. As a general statement it may be said that this work never stops. Just how much of time and money is involved cannot be known because the allotment of time cannot be accurate unless the time is full time and not incidental to other duties such as is the case with Chief Covey, his Assistant Executives and the top office girls. The exact cost of raising the money cannot be known because of these unknown factors. If all the time of all the paid employees were accurately calculated it may be it costs more than professional supervisors: but at least the work is standardized and efficiently done, but the cost what it may. This avoids beginning at the scratch every year. If we add the foregoing costs the incalculable time of volunteer workers, the money raising effort would run into very large figures.

Second: The summer Camp which begins on the Saturday after July 4th and runs seven weeks. The Camp is reviewed elsewhere in this document; but it is the event of the year that entails less preparation and less executive procedure than the money raising campaign. The Camp is used throughout the year for small Scout groups and at times every facility is in use. Reservations are as a rule made for several months in advance. The need at present is for more cabins for short-term Troop camping. Several such cabins are now in prospect.

Third: The Scout Congress held in the late fall. This began in 1927 under the era of William J. Piel and has been a yearly event ever since. It is largely attended and eminently worth while in every respect.

*    *    *


A reading of the minutes over the years clearly indicates that the problems and perplexities which faced the Council every year, and as a rule most of the year, were financial. There was a time lag between the campaign and the necessary outlays for running expenses. The Council was, as a rule, about six months behind itself. There was nothing left but to borrow, on the best terms obtainable, enough money to carry on. The campaigns were held, as a rule, in April, May and June, but often ran into the fall before the work was really completed. There hardly ever was a surplus over the objective. The Council went out for the amount necessary to operate for a year and that is about all it ever could raise. It was highly desirable that we catch up and build up a backlog or surplus that would carry on the work without borrowing. With a backlog of, say $25,000, in the bank as of the first of the year, and a campaign due, this surplus would carry over until the campaign money came in. That very desirable condition was, after many long years, finally achieved in 1943 when the year ended with a balance of $1,037.44 and all bills paid. That was not much, but it was a good omen. We closed the year 1945 with the balance of $30,529.02. We were then not only on a pay-as-you-go basis, but with a nest egg that made pleasant news for those who read, and pleasant sailing for those who had administered the Council in its finances over the long years from its inception until it got on its feet and could walk alone. That was a goal eminently to be desired and an end devoutly to be sought, and finally it was achieved.

*    *     *


From a condition such as existed in March 1926 when there was only $40 in the bank and none in sight, the Scout Executive’s pay two months overdue, also the pay of the Assistant Executive, to a condition where there was money enough in the bank to carry on until the yearly campaign began to produce results, and all salaries and all bills were paid “on the button,” is a far cry; but, that is the difference between 1926 and 1947.

Only those who have lived with the Council year by year can be familiar with the magnitude of the work of “keeping the ship in the water and the water out of the ship,” which may be said to be the essence of Scouting as well as of navigation. A campaign such as we now carry on every year costs thousand of hours of work and thousands of dollars in money. One campaign is hardly over before work on the next campaign begins. The money raising efforts in the early days were tragic, if not amusing, but very real to those who went through those trying experiences. On September 30, 1919, the Council suspended for lack of funds, as already stated. (It was reorganized January 5, 1920.) Here we were with a budget of a thousand dollars a month - a large sum in those days - and no definite plan of meeting the budget. There was only hope and courage and wishful thinking, plus a friendly bank that had faith enough in the Movement to lend the Council a few thousand dollars until the next campaign was under way, provided “a dozen men signed an agreement to guarantee the payment of the loan.” This they did repeatedly as is recorded in the minutes of several meetings.

After working on such personal guarantees of loans for several years, there was found a bank that had faith in the Scout Movement and which eventually loaned the Council as high as $35,000 on his own credit.


Between the years 1926 and 1930, practically all the buildings that now constitute Camp Wauwepex were built. The exceptions are the Lower Mess Hall, the Green Shack, and the Boat House. It  would seem that the impetus that was given the Camp through its purchase in 1926 carried on for several years. There were 2,059 Scouts in 24 Troops when the Camp was bought. Men of wealth came into the picture and contributed substantially to the Camp in the way of much needed buildings. That was, as elsewhere stated, the era of the “Coolidge prosperity”. Men were making money in business and in Wall Street. Business was good. Taxes, in comparison with those of today, were comparatively light. At least they were not confiscatory. In spite of the higher costs that followed World War I, men had a surplus of income and they were inclined to spend - not particularly to cut down taxes, but rather for the sheer joy of giving. It is doubtful if even in the era of World War II, with all its spendings, we could have done a better job or even as good in the way of raising money as we did in 1926. These were in truth the years of the “Golden Glow of Scouting” in Nassau.

Since that time, there has been put into the budget from time to time allocations for much needed buildings, particularly a storage building to house the tents, stoves, cots, rowboats, tools of all kinds, etc. over the winter. For reasons not now apparent, these buildings have never become realities. Perhaps, it was because we thought  we could not yet afford the expense. The campaigns have, as a rule, reached their objectives, but not so much so as to warrant liberal spending for capital improvements. We have now accumulated a backlog of some $11,256.77, but it has never been thought wise to use this for building purposes, in the fear that some day a campaign would not raise the operating budget, and we would have to fall back upon our savings. In short, the Camp is today approximately in the same as it was in 1930 when the “golden glow” faded out. Nothing of great consequence in capital improvements has been done since 1931 when the Caretaker’s home was built, and 1938 when the Administration Building was built, except to keep the buildings in repair. We have spent money chiefly on the dock, for new cooking stoves and refrigerators, but not much else otherwise. There is needed today, as aforesaid, a new storage building, new rowboats and canoes, and eradication of soil erosion around the shores of the lake - badly needed and absolutely necessary if the beauty of the lake is to be preserved. The latter is mandatory. I here set down the capital improvements that have taken place in the years mentioned - 1926 to 1948;

Electricity, telephone (1929) and water system (1937) installed.
*Administration Building 1938 - cost $1,000.
*Caretaker’s Home 1931 - cost $4,328.

Upper Mess Hall - the most pretentious building in Camp and in many respects the most used - a gift -1929 cost $10,646.14.
The Hospital - 1929 - a gift - cost $1,800.
The Craft Lodge - formerly a tent - a gift - 1929 - cost $3,000.
The Museum - 1929 - a gift -cost $2,000.
Sagamore Lodge - 1929 - cost $1,200.

*Two Patrol Cabins - 1936 - $600 each.
One Patrol Cabin - 1948 - a gift.
Carl Brown Gateway - 1941 - by small gifts.
Assistant Camp Director’s Cabin
Outpost Mess Hall and Kitchen
2 Adirondack Shelters
67 Tent Platforms 16 ft. x 16 ft.
Shack for Chief - 1932 - (near Lower Mess Hall).
Chief Covey’s Headquarters - 1938 - Moved from lakeside to brow of hill near Upper Mess Hall where it now stands.

*Built at expense of Council.

**In 1948 the fire lanes have been cleared, the road around the lake repaired and the erosion checked.


In reading the minutes for 1929, I came across a resolution thanking a certain gentleman for his gift of one of the substantial buildings at Camp Wauwepex. Those were the heydays of prosperity in this country, when everything was riding “high, wide and handsome.” The stock market was soothing and business was good and the Coolidge prosperity  was still running strong. I have lost track of this man; but as I look at this building often, I am tempted to say: “Well, old man, here is one thing that did not get away from you. Wall Street never got its hand on this. You tacked this one thing down for all time. It has blessed the boys of Nassau, yet, even us grownups, lo these many years, and your  benefaction lives on even though your other money may have melted away into a dim shadow.” The moral: If you build for the future, you can perpetuate yourself if you put some of your wealth into brick and mortar or even logs and fireplaces. These things live long after the money of the master has been lost.  Those were the good old days, brother, very good indeed; good for you and good for us. Go down to Wauwepex some time and see for yourself how what you built in 1929 still carries on in 1947. A great building can, like a great institution, also be the “lengthened shadow of a man.”

 *    *     *


The question of endowments has been before the Council from time to time ever since the Council was formed. As soon as the Camp was purchased the question again came up more or less frequently. The objective has been to set up an endowment fund large enough to cover the capital expenditures of the Council out of income of the endowment. On June 16, 1935, Chief Covey sent Carl Stedman Brown a check for $25 as the beginning of a “Trust Fund” for this purpose, saying that he intended to make other contributions in the future. The question also came before the Council in 1936 and the idea  was approved. But all the efforts and all the talk in this respect have up to this writing availed but little. The proceeds from the sale of some stock were subsequently added to the fund, which now amounts to $2,700. Occasionally, a Will is probated that makes a legacy to the Scouts, and gifts come in from time to time in the nature of trusts, but over the years the idea has been a dream only.

*    *   *

Chapter Four

Administrative Problems

During the thirty years this history records, there have been relatively few changes in the administrative and executive offices in the Nassau County Council. There have been but eight presidents. Chief Covey has functioned continuously since 1917 and has been the Scout Executive during all that time. The Assistance Scout Executives have also been reasonably few. Mr. Southworth entered the Council in 1917 and resigned in 1925 to take the office of Scout Executive in the Hendrick Hudson Council covering several villages along the east bank of the Hudson. He returned to Nassau in 1934. The other Scout Executives will be found in the addenda. There has been but one instance where an Assistant Executive was summarily removed, and in the other (1946) case, he was given ample time to find another field of Scouting.

During 1929, it was discovered that the Assistant Executive was not working out to the satisfaction of the administration and was not doing the job. He was asked in a friendly way to resign but refused to do so. He was then given an ultimatum and resigned October 3, 1929, but soon thereafter began suit for his full contractual recompense. He sued for $625. And finally settled for $300. The other Executive mentioned found a place in another Council and went away happy. These are the only cases I have found where we picked the wrong man or he picked us and the affiliation did not work out as hoped for.

During 1929, a certain Scoutmaster and six Committeemen were found to be wholly deficient in the management of a Troop—so utterly deficient that after a hearing before a special committee, they were disqualified for the respective offices and summarily refused registration. In one case, the Council refused to recognize a Scoutmaster as such, but accepted him as a Councilman.

The stream of manpower has flowed rather smoothly over the thirty years, the rapids and whirlpools being few and far  between.

*    *    *


Dealing as Scouting does with human nature, it naturally follows that an organization as large as Nassau County Council will face criticism and misunderstandings from time to time from various sources. It must necessarily be so. The history of the Council is, however, remarkably free from such incidents. There is one point on which there has been more ambiguity than, perhaps, any other and that is, Just what does the County Council do for the individual Troops and the individual boy? It is not easy to answer that question definitely, because it may be summed up in one word “everything.” You cannot tell exactly what a bank president does in the bank. One bank president when asked this question replied: “My job is to see that the bank makes money.” And that is no small job either. The churches could not properly function unless they had organization, cohesion and supervision. There must be some central body whose duty it is to see that the machine runs smoothly. The public schools need their principals and their superintendents, their Boards of Education and their Regents. There must be a central power house and a central authority or all business and all organized effort would fail. In our public setup in this country, we have the Congress, the states, the counties, and towns, and cities, and villages, and we work up through the lower into the higher realms of administration. We would have chaos otherwise.

In Nassau County as of December 31, 1947, we had 248 Scout Units with some 7,719 boys enrolled, to say nothing of  Scoutmasters and Committeemen and all such. Imagine the chaos that would result if there were no coordination of these various groups, no central office where everything came together. In Nassau, the Mineola Office keeps the records of everything that every man and boy does in Scouting. These records are voluminous and accurate. Every Merit Badge that is given out is recorded, every advancement that every boy makes is set down. The completeness of these records is amazing. In preparing this history, I have asked the office to prepare a list of Council Presidents and their terms of office. I have asked for the names of the Sagamores and the Buckskin men. I have asked for the holders of the Silver Beaver. I have asked for much statistical information that has been sent from year to year to the National Office. Scouting could not function without these records because here is where Scouting History is made. Just as the school and the college and the army and navy keep records of what men do, so Scouting does the same.

The County has been divided into seven Districts and each District has a Scout Executive in charge. It is his particular business to see that the various Troops are functioning successfully. Scouting does not run itself. Somebody runs it all the time. The money raising campaign is handled from the Council Office in Mineola. So is the Camp. So are the Troops and the District organizations. Scouting does not operate on a hit or miss principle. It is an exact science. Some people have never understood what makes Scouting “tick.” It is supervision and hard work and team work. The power house of Scouting is the Council Office. If Scouting succeeds, it is here reflected in statistical records; and if it fails, it is here set down, and the blame is placed. If weaknesses show up in the statistics, the causes are located and corrected. The best way to answer this question is to take a Scoutmastership and it will soon be seen what the Council does. Like electricity or steam, you may not see it; you can only see what it does.

The second question is: Where does the money go? You cannot keep eight trained men going night and day and almost seven days a week without spending money. Besides the payroll, we have rent, stationery, telephone and general overhead. Scouting cannot run without money—say twelve dollars per boy per year, or less than a dollar a month to keep him supplied with all that Scouting stand for. All training processes are costly, and it is cheaper by  far to train a boy in the way he should go as an individual, than to pay his board while in prison.

During 1922, a certain District ( I leave out the name for obvious reasons) made a definite complaint against the County Council. There complaints were so significant and characteristic that I give them here:

1.    It was claimed that the office was inefficient. That did not hold water. It was claimed that the girls did not have enough to do. That was a silly charge. Somebody had visited the office and found a girl idle.

2.    That the two Executives (there were only two at that time) did not spend enough time among the Troops. The answer was that they were spending half of their time visiting the Troops, and, moreover they could not possibly cover Nassau County adequately because of the large number of scattered Troops. That, also, would not hold water, because it is the function of the Executives to see that the Scoutmasters and Committeemen do their jobs and not to spend their own time in “pastoral calls” on the Troops. The latter would have been desirable, but there was neither the time nor the manpower nor the money to do the job this group asked for. In answer, the office prepared a diary of what the Executives did for a month. That settled the question.

3.    That the Council Office was spending too much money, which charge also did not prove out. We were not spending enough. We were, even then, trying to do the job too cheaply. That was the underlying reason for the complaint. The answer: Spend more money and get better results.

4.    The District, as above noted, was not getting any benefit out of the Council Office. This complaint was so ridiculous that it is merely mentioned to show that such complaints have existed. They still do in spots. The same question might be asked by any church or school or any other organization that has one head and many arms and legs. Without the head, the arms and legs would be running in all directions, each trying to do the job, but without teamwork and direction. The ball team without a manager would never win a game except by accident. It is he who shows the team how to play ball together and not as individuals.  Pennants are won by teams, not by individual players, however important and skillful they may be.

Fortunately, these criticizers have been few and infrequent and never vicious, but the result of not understanding what makes Scouting function. The best way to answer all such complaints and misapprehensions is to get into the game hard and you will soon find out what makes the wheels of Scouting go ‘round.

I give this subject a place in this history simply to show that such criticism has existed and will exist as long as men are constituted as they are, but the outcropping of displeasure has been handles diplomatically and always the complaining parties have gone away satisfied with the answers and remained good friends. They just had to get it out of  their systems.

*    *     *


The old time setup of the Nassau County Council was not in keeping with National policy. The “kickback” idea was equally at variance with National. Nevertheless, the Council was functioning smoothly and effectively. The local pride in the various villages was running high. There was, thus, a rivalry and a spirit of competition to see who could do the best  job financially, as well as Scouting-wise. National frequently called attention to the fact that we were out of step with the general policy that has proven sound in other places. We were not doing the job in the technical sense, as it should have been done and in spite of all our successes, we were definitely told we could do better in respect to enlisting more boys. After long consideration and much discussion and many long, drawn-out meetings, it was concluded to put the new plan into effect. This plan contemplated seven Districts with a Scout Executive responsible for each District.

Kickbacks were abolished. (A “kickback” is the return to a community of part of the funds raised during a campaign on an agreed basis. Thus: A quota of $1,000 is accepted for a village on the agreement that all that is raised above $1,000 is split 50-50  with the village for local use. If the quota is not reached, the village gets nothing. This practice was discontinued in 1946.) The District Plan was carefully worked out so that each Executive would not only have a definite territory, but his burden of work was equalized with the work of the other man. The present setup is as follows:

CENTRAL DISTRICT—East Meadow, Farmingdale, Garden City, Hempstead, Mineola, West Hempstead. In charge of George F. Byrne, District Scout Executive.

WEST CENTRAL DISTRICT—Bellerose, East Williston, Floral Park, Franklin Squire, Hillside Heights, Lakeville Estates, New Hyde Park, Stewart Manor, Williston Park. In charge of  Irving F. Southworth, District Scout Executive.

NORTHWEST DISTRICT—Great Neck, Manhasset, Plandome, Port Washington, The Roslyns. In charge of Elwin B. Cornell, District Scout Executive.

NORTHEAST DISTRICT—Bayville, Bethpage, Brookville, Cold Spring, East Norwich, Glen Cove, Glen Head, Glenwood, Hicksville, Jericho, Locust Valley, Oyster Bay, Sea Cliff, Syosset, Westbury, Locust Grove. In  charge of  Joseph C. Desmond, District Scout Executive.

SOUTHEAST DISTRICT—Baldwin, Bellmores, Freeport, Massapequa, Merrick, Roosevelt, Seaford, Wantagh. In charge of  Joseph S. Fleming, District Scout Executive.

SOUTH CENTRAL DISTRICT—Lakeview, Island Park, Long Beach, Lynbrook, Malverne, Oceanside, Rockville Centre. In charge of  Gordon M. Henning, District Scout Executive.

SOUTHWEST DISTRICT—East Rockaway, Belmont, The Five Towns (Cedarhurst, Hewlett, Lynwood, Lawrence, Woodmere), Valley Stream. In charge of  Robert F. Parkinson, District Scout Executive.

The new plan went into operation February 14, 1946. It was not an easy transition from the old to the new, and there was some grumbling and hesitancy, but eventually the skies cleared and the plan began to function successfully as National said it would. Out of their broad experiences they have been proved right in this as well as in many other matters.

*    *     *


From time to time, the Council has received contributions in the form of stock of various corporations. The purpose of contributing in the form of stock and not in cash has been no doubt to cut down income taxes in some way. At any rate, there has always been the question of what to do with the stock after it has been received. If the stock were held it might appreciate and the Council would be that much richer, but if the stock declines there is a paper loss. Just when to sell  has been anybody’s guess and such gifts have always involved the element of judgment on the part of the Board as to when to sell. In one case, it appears that somebody claimed that the stock was sold too soon and more could have been realized, had the Council waited. Another stock was worth $170 a share when contributed. It dropped to $105, a loss of some $700. It  is now the policy to sell such stock gifts as soon as received.

*    *    *

Chapter Five

Historical Events


Anyone who has ridden through the country in late spring will have been impressed, if not shocked, at the sight of thousands of trees, large and small, denuded of their leaves and in the crotches a white tent stained brown with the left-overs of the caterpillars that have done their deadly  work and gone on to other fields. The trees are usually Wild Cherry, large and small, and the country side is unkempt and its beauty destroyed by these pests. J. Pierrepont Morgan, the elder, was impressed with this ever recurring sight and offered prices aggregating $100 to the Scouts who destroyed the largest number of “nests”. These nests are about half an inch long, a grayish brown, knot-like band around the twig on which it is laid. Each mass contains about 200 eggs, covered with a light brown frothy glue. The caterpillars hatch just as the leaf buds come out in early spring and a web is started at a crotch. The young caterpillars feed on the new leaves and use the tent for shelter at night, and in the cold weather. Wild Cherry is the favorite, but they also attack apple and peach. In gathering the nests, the egg masses are slit with a knife and lifted from the twig. The twig may be cut off if it does not injure the tree too badly. The trees will be attacked when the hatch comes out a few weeks later. It is not practical to burn the nests because the worms that fall out will start off on their way, bent for destroying some more of the favorite trees. The way to control and even to exterminate the pest  is to destroy the nests before they hatch out. In 1927, one Troop collected 70,578 nests, in 1928 48,113 nests, but in 1929 it turned in only 2,213 nests. The project seems to have died out when the pest seems to have been conquered. The Bank of Rockville Centre followed the example of Mr. Morgan and carried the campaign for one year on the same terms. I am not prepared to say that this project, carried on for several years, was successful or not in eradicating the tent caterpillar, which seems to have a life cycle,  but it was worthy and accomplished much in the way of civic service.

  *    *     *


There are two things which Camp Wauwepex has always dreaded; namely, a forest fire that got out of control and an outbreak of a contagious disease during the Camp season. We have had both. In the spring, forest fires are apt to occur  by reason of the dry leaves and careless smokers. The Camp is heavily wooded, mostly pitch pine and scrub oak. The oak leaves are the more dangerous because they do not fall off  until spring when the new buds push off the old leaves. There are, of course, larger trees but the underbrush is everywhere present and a likely torch for the flames.

I have never seen a real forest fire, except in the movies. They are dreadful things. The destruction of tree and animal life is beyond calculation. Money can not replace the damage. Only long years can do that. We may insure buildings,  but we cannot insure trees. We, who value Wauwepex  beyond its cost  in money, and who prize its trees because of their usefulness as living things, have always dreaded the fire that would sweep through and destroy much of that beauty. Our fears were fully justified. On April 27-30, 1935 it happened. On Saturday, the 27th, at 11 A.M. the call came to Mineola that the Camp was in danger. Mr. Fleming and Mr. Mangam immediately went down, arriving at 2:45 P.M. Men from the 056 Camp at Camp Upton had been called into action. Scout Troop 55 of Garden City,  Troop 178 of Great Neck, and Troop 134 of Stewart Manor  were at Camp for the weekend, and they, together with a force of men under Fire Warden Stivers and Herbert Grace, had been fighting the fire for several hours. They had started a backfire some distance from the Council Ring. The fire was partly under control and the fire lanes were patrolled by Mangam, Southworth, Fleming and Grace to be sure the fire did not break out again. On Sunday, the fire broke out once more and the same crews went into action but in a different area than on Saturday. This time fire struck back of the Sagamore Lodge. A quickly built fire line was made by tractor and disc harrow. The fire also swept down from the north nearly to the Upper Mess Hall. Carl Brown had gone down over the week end. Word was sent to the writer by Mr. Brown. He quickly called the Rockville Centre, Freeport and Hempstead Fire Departments asking for aid which was quickly made available. High powered pumpers were soon under way. For the fifty and more miles to the Camp, the fire engines raced against time, disregarding red lights and speed limits, and did not stop until Camp was reached. The writer, in the car of the Fire Chief of Rockville Centre, paced the way. Upon arriving at Camp the fire was found to be well under control, but 2,000 feet of hose was laid from the lake to the various danger spots and was ready for action, which was not then necessary. One of the heavy pieces of apparatus was backed down to the lake to act as pumper and became mired in the sand. I think it was the Hempstead engine. The New York Telephone Company sent a truck with heavy windlass and dragged it up the hill. Patrols were established until Tuesday morning when a heavy rain made the woods safe from further conflagration. In his official report, Elliott Mangam gives credit for saving the Camp to Mr. Grace, who was the emergency man; the fire fighters from the neighboring farms; the CCC men; the fire wardens; the Firemen from Hempstead, Freeport and Rockville Centre; the boys of Troops 55, 178, 134, 20, 21, 2. Carl Brown, Lucien Stanley, “Southy,” “Joe” Fleming, as well as Mangam of the official staff, all did their duty in full measure, while Mrs. Grace and Mrs. Brown made 300 sandwiches and 20 gallons of coffee for the tired blackened workers who deserve all the praise that can be bestowed upon them. During this fire, Chief Covey was up State on a short vacation. It was the narrowest escape the Camp ever had from fire, and let us hope the only one it will ever have but every year we breathe easier when the dangers of spring fires are over.

*    *     *


Many of us will remember the hurricane that swept over Long Island during September 1938 with devastating force. It  was one of the worst storms of Long Island history and did millions of dollars of damage. Camp Wauwepex was in the direct path of the gale. Trees were blown down by the hundreds, if not by the thousands. Chief Covey immediately went down and reported the trees were “so numerous they could not be counted.” Roads were blocked, wires were down, nine tents were destroyed,  but the buildings were not seriously damaged. The labor of getting the Camp open cost only $167.40, and it was estimated that the replacement of the damaged property would cost about $1,800. The chief damage was to the tree life and one who loves the trees would have been heartsick to view the destruction. Nevertheless, nature is wonderful in that respect, and after some ten years the appearance of the Camp is not noticeably different from before the gale struck. In certain spots there are yet huge trees that still lie prostrate as mute evidence of the forces of nature. As one who values a tree beyond monetary price, the sight that I saw shortly after the hurricane was one not to be wished for again, nor quickly forgotten. Histories (to paraphrase Joyce Kilmer) are written by fools like me,  but only God can make a tree.” Let  us fondly hope we will never have another tragedy like that.

*     *     *


During the Camping season of 1931 there occurred the very thing that all camp directors dread most; namely, an outbreak of a contagious disease. With large numbers of boys living together in close proximity and every chance for contact and contagion, any disease that is communicable is a horror. We can easily imagine, therefore, the blow that came to the Chief  when he discovered that two boys, one from Rockville Centre and the other from Westbury, had been diagnosed by the Camp Doctor Scharf as having symptoms of the dreaded “polio”. The families were immediately notified and the boys were rushed to hospitals. Dr. A. T. Davis, Health Commissioner of Suffolk, was immediately summoned, who hastened to Camp and made an inspection and concluded the conditions were safe. The Board of Directors subsequently gave Chief Covey the right to close the Camp summarily should he decide to do so. The diagnosis being correct and the treatment prompt, the boys were soon on the way to recovery and the danger was averted. From that time on, visitors to the Camp were handed a card at the gate reading as follows: “The Scouts are all in good health. Please refrain from giving them candy, pies or cakes, which upset them. If you have been exposed to any contagious disease, please refrain from contact with the Scouts. Please do not go into the tents or living quarters. The Scouts will be permitted to come outside. There will be no visitors’ swim.”

We can all imagine the shock it must have been to Chief Covey and the worry and care he must have undergone until it was certain that the disease would not spread. It was one of the most thrilling experiences that has ever come to the Camp and was handled in a masterly way which the Board of Directors duly recognized and rewarded the Chief by giving him a three weeks’ vacation.

*    *     *


Camp Wauwepex has been singularly free from accidents in spite of the thousands of boys who have been within its confines over the years. The case of “Polio” and appendicitis and the gun accident, elsewhere reviewed, together with the following incident, were the noticeable exceptions. There are always, of course, minor injuries, and the usual stomach upsets characteristic of boys, but nothing else happened immediately in the Camp that was fatal or even serious.

On the week end of January 29, 1938 a group of three boys and their Scoutmaster went down to Camp for the week end. They  went to bed on Saturday night as usual. They left two frying pans of water on the coal burning stove to allow coal gas to escape. At ten o’clock on Sunday morning, January 30, 1938, Mr. Grace made his rounds, as has been his custom for years, to see if everything was all right everywhere. He found the boys and leader in Cabin 2 (which subsequently burned and was rebuilt elsewhere) asleep. Thinking they had been skating and were tired he went home. They were fully clothed except for shoes. At 11:30 or thereabouts the boys camping in the other cabin discovered that the boys and the Scoutmaster were unconscious from coal gas. They immediately notified Mr. Grace who called a doctor from Riverhead. Meanwhile, the leader of the other camping Troop worked over the unconscious boys and they responded to the treatment. The doctor ordered them all to the Mather Memorial Hospital at Port Jefferson. Covey and Southworth had been notified by Mr. Grace and they were at Camp as soon as they could get there. The coroner found no negligence, but since that time only woodburning stoves have been used in the cabins. Coal gas is, therefore, impossible. This is the only fatality that has ever taken place in Camp.

 *     *     *


Considering the hazards that exist in a program of out-of-doors life and especially in respect to boys of immature age, the wonder is that more serious accidents have not occurred. “Youth lives dangerously” was very well said at the funeral service of a boy: and that is eternally true. Youth will take chances or it would not be youth. There is always the danger of drowning, of cuts by axes improperly used, of broken bones, etc. But over the thirty years of Scouting in Nassau such accidents have been remarkably few in the Camps and elsewhere. Such as have happened only emphasize the fact that they do happen, even though infrequently. Scouting teaches how to avoid these hazards and how to take care of accidents when they take place wherever they may be.

Late in November 1932, the Scouts of Troop 169 of Williston Park were on a 14 mile hike with their Scoutmaster. Scout Douglas Bonacina of Williston Village was struck by an automobile and instantly killed near the Fair Grounds, Mineola. The Troop had circled around the South Shore villages and had kept off the main roads. They were marching in formation when the accident happened. Scoutmaster Alexander J. Madison was leading them. It was believed the boy either stepped out of line when the car passed him, or some part of his equipment was caught by the car.

*    *     *


On Monday, April 19, 1943 the people of Nassau County and particularly of Rockville Centre were stunned by a report that ten boys, members of Ship 14, had lost their lives while on an Easter Cruise. For the record, I here engrave their names in respectful memory.

They  were:
                        Arthur F. Browne                    Roy Nelles
                        Leslie Carr, III                         John Spiller
                        William Dawson                       Arthur J. Thornton, Jr.
                        Roy Hansen                             Whitney Wisner
                        Stanley L. Kolesynski                Robert Wood

They had started out on Sunday, the 18th, in their Ship the “Legionnaire” on a week’s cruise on the Great South Bay. They had laid up for the night in a little creek at Sayville. The next morning the weather was bad and it was a question whether to remain in port or to continue on their voyage.  It is apparent that sportsmanship prevailed over good judgment and caution. The Ship was in the charge of Frederick Mayer, as Skipper. The regular Skipper, Robert J. Poulson, was not on the trip. The water  was very rough. It  seems that one of the boys fell overboard and the dinghy was launched in an effort to rescue him. The little boat was overturned and two boys were in the water which was very cold as it naturally would be in April. In maneuvering the “Legionnaire” to bring its alongside the dinghy, it capsized, throwing the other boys and Mayer into the water. They got hold of life preservers, joined hands and kept afloat as long as they could, but one by one they sank from exhaustion. Mayer was the only survivor. The exact cause of the fatality is not and may never be definitely known. The immediate reason was no doubt that the boat was brought sidewise to the heavy sea and it rolled over, but did not sink. Eventually, all of the bodies were recovered, but one or two were a long time in the water before their bodies were found. This was a tragedy of tragedies and the whole County  was saddened as it had seldom been saddened even in war time. A memorial service was held on  Sunday afternoon, May 2, 1943 at the Southside High School,  Rockville Centre, which was one of the most impressive and beautiful services I have ever attended. It was most appropriate, touching in its simplicity, reverent in its eulogy, beautiful in its staging and altogether fitting to honor young lives so tragically sacrificed. As the curtain came slowly down to the echo of taps, a cold shudder ran down my back and tears filled many an eye as the audience filed out without a word being spoken. I  shall carry that  picture as long as I live. To be honored and remembered thus was almost worth dying for. I could wish for no more fitting memorial than was given to the ten Scouts who wore the Sea Scout uniform and whose Easter Cruise turned out so tragically. A year or so later there was dedicated at the South Shore Yacht Club in Freeport a “memory ship,” the “Sea Wolf” bought and paid for by the people of Rockville Centre as a living memorial to the Scouts of Ship 14 who “went down to the sea in a ship and never came back again.”

A memorial window as also dedicated subsequently in the Rockville Centre Congregational Church. Rockville Centre does not forget its dead.

The tragedy of Ship 14 came before the Board at frequent times as the families of the boys made complaints that information was not furnished to them or was not satisfactory in its explanation. The coroner had found no negligence on the part of the Council or Committee; but in due course (January 12, 1944) the District Attorney of Suffolk County  was asked to reopen the case before the Grand Jury, which he did. This body, after hearing all the witnesses, found no criminal negligence and dismissed the case. In due course suit was brought by two of the families against all parties that could possibly  be made defendants in the case. It  was sent to a referee who rendered verdict exonerating the Council, and the various other defendants. The case was appealed and is now pending. It was a tragedy that will be remembered with moistened eyes and heavy hearts by all who went through that experience, even as observers. Ship 14 lives on in the form of the “Sea Wolf,” a graceful and beautiful craft, now in its fifth year of service and which has every device known to boating to make it safe, even a “ship to ship” and “ship to shore” radio and telephone equipment, as a living memorial to the ten boys who so tragically lost their lives on that tragic Easter Cruise.


Scouting does not pay off its devotees in money. It pays in other ways. Let him who would render service for pay find some other avocation and stay out of Scouting. The boys receive their Merit Badges for work done, which eventually find their culmination in the Eagle Badge. The Scoutmasters receive their Scoutmaster’s Key and certification of  work done. Scouters receive their five, ten, fifteen and twenty year pins and special merit tokens for long service; and those who have long served meritoriously in various capacities receive their Silver Beaver. This is the highest award a local Council can  bestow. Prior to the award meeting, a committee is appointed to review the history of names selected from the Mineola records. At the present time, only four Silver Beavers may be awarded  in any one year in Nassau County. The recipients do not know they are to be honored until their names are called at a Council meeting. By subterfuge, if necessary, they are always brought to the assembly. As each comes forward his citation is read and the token, a small image of a beaver, in silver, suspended from a blue and white ribbon, is hung around his neck. William H. Kniffin has made the presentation for several years and in making the award says as he puts the ribbon  around the neck and gives the Scout grip: “On  behalf of Nassau County Council, Boy Scouts of America and in the name of the National Council, I hereby present to you this Silver Beaver, than which no greater honor can come to a Scouter."

It  is always an impressive service, the other  wearers of the Silver Beaver  being called forward and forming a circle. Every man who wears this symbolic token wears it with price and distinction; knowing that it has a “scarcity value” and, therefore the more valuable. The Silver Beaver is surpassed only  by Regional Award of the Silver Antelope and the Silver Buffalo which are given for National rather than local service.

These are the pay-offs of Scouting. There is not money enough in Nassau County to buy a Silver Beaver; and there is not money enough in the United States to buy a Silver Antelope or Silver Buffalo. Here indeed are the “pearls of great price” to be earned and not purchased, and which are available to the poorest as well as the richest man in Nassau County. As a matter of fact, the wearers of the Beaver are, as a rule, men of modest means and not men of wealth.

*     *     *


Chief amongst the honor societies of the Council is the Sagamore Troop, composed solely of mature Scouters who have seen long service in Scouting. Ernest Thompson Seton, naturalist and original Chief Scout of the Boy Scout Organization and founder of the Woodcraft League, conducted a Campfire for our Scoutmasters. So impressed were the men in attendance that they organized the group into the “Sagamore Troop of Nassau County” on June 17, 1923. It  is a highly selective group and dedicated to service to the boys and especially at Camp Wauwepex. It is they who have done much of the improvements to the Camp. They have their own Sagamore Lodge used the year ‘round and which can sleep thirty men. One cannot become a Sagamore without first doing yeoman service in Scouting for years. We must have some specialty such as cooking, shooting, woodwork, mapmaking, archery, etc. In fact, this is a group of specialists. As an  unincorporated body, it has carried on more than 25 years most effectively. These men have never lost interest in Scouting and in truth have “kept the faith” in the highest of degree. Four meetings are held each year at the Camp. The Sagamores have their own Council Ring in a beautiful setting on top of the hill back of the lake. Their ceremonies are as impressive as those of the Main Council Ring a half mile away. There is no “horseplay” and no frivolity. For that I commend them. These men are there on serious business and they serve by doing. The big Council Ring was originated, built and dedicated by them to the Scouts of Camp Wauwepex; so, also, was the Totem Pole. They met for real work, and play is incidental always. Their colors are green and brown significant of the trees. Their insignia is an arrowhead. The story of their beginning as taken from the record is as follows: One evening in May 1923, a small band of men were gathered around a fire at Wheatley Hills, Long Island. A course in  Scoutcraft had just been completed. These 16 men were Scoutmasters and commissioned officers. They had met to cement friendships formed through the training courses. The object of the meeting was to obtain a consensus of opinion as to what  the future of  the group should be. The result was a Troop of leaders who pledged themselves to be of service whenever help was asked. Thus was born the “Sagamore Troop of Nassau County”, named after the home site of Theodore Roosevelt and because the term “Sagamore” denoted Chief  or  Leader among the Indians.

The highlights of their history are as follows:

June 1923 - Constitution, By-laws and Ritual adopted.
1924 - Dedicated the Council Ring at Camp Wauwepex
1929 - Sagamore Lodge constructed.
1929 - Initiated the Nassau Training Center.
1933 - Dedicated the Sagamore Council Ring at Camp Wauwepex.
Summer 1946 - Constructed Council Ring at Harkness Training Center

*    *     *


At the close of the ceremonies at the Camp on August 17, 1941 in honor of Carl Stedman Brown, President of the Council for 14 years, and at which time the Memorial Gate was dedicated, a long line of Scout men and boys in Scout regalia and in  formation marched through the gate with military precision. Each wore the Buckskin neckerchief - blue with a single white line in  the center. I was familiar with program in detail,  but this was complete surprise to me, even a shock. It was unexpectedly fitting and symbolic and beautiful. I shall always remember that function because of that simple incident.

The Buckskins of Wauwepex is an honor society. It was organized in August, 1923 by Irving P. Southworth, one of our present Assistant Scout Executives and is consisted solely of boys who have been in Camp three seasons - not necessarily in succession. As the Sagamores is a group that invites you in rather than lets you in, so the Buckskins are a “tap” group. During the lowering of the flag at Retreat, the boy selected is tapped as an invitation to become a Buckskin. During the Council Fire they wear a white feather at the back of the head held in place by a ribbon around the forehead. Much of the work of carrying on the Camp is performed by the Buckskins and it is in truth an honor society built upon honor. Every winter they have an anniversary dinner. Here we see the mature products of Scouting, and boys and men come long distances for this annual reunion. To be a Buckskin means something to these young men. Many of them own and wear self-made Indian Costumes.

*     *     *


WILLIAM F. J. PIEL - “A driving force and a hound on detail”

The Five Towns, or “The Branch” as it is commonly called, has produced four outstanding Scout men: Dr. E. C. Smith, for many years Scout Commissioner;  C. Willis Woodford, long associated with Scouting in the Branch and one of the original and most ardent of the Sagamores; Charles A. Hewlett, one of the original Scoutmasters of the county and who attended the Scout Jamboree at Birkenhead in  an official capacity;  and William P. J. Piel. Mr. Piel became interested in the Scout Brotherhood in the Branch and became a member of the Board of Directors in December, 1926. He has left two legacies to Scouting that have endured. These are: (1) the Troopmen’s Code, a detailed and intimate set of instructions as to the work of Troopmen, and which became standard procedure, not only in Nassau, but also throughout  the country.  It compares with the Scout-Handbook in its detailed instruction. (2) The Scouters’ Congress which has been yearly affair since 1927. The Congress consists of three parts: (a) an afternoon meeting of the general type,  followed by (b) sectional meetings which discuss the practical workings of Scouting in its various forms, and (c) the evening dinner. The Congresses have been well attended and are one of the events of the year. Mr. Piel, as elsewhere stated, threw himself into Scouting with full vigor. He was an indefatigable worker as the record plainly shows. It  was he who also conceived the Long House of Nassau, treated at length in this brochure. He left  nothing to chance or the imagination. While he was fascinating, he was one of the most prominent of our Scout men. It could hardly be expected that he could or would continue to hit the fast pace he set during the years after the purchase of the Camp, because he  would in time run out of steam. While on his way to a meeting of the Board, May 5, 1932, it is presumed that he fell asleep at the wheel of his car and ran into a telegraph pole which incapacitated him for a long time. I do not find him mentioned much after his accident, but he left two enduring things in Scout work; namely, the Code and the Congress. The Long House of Nassau also of his creation seems to have died quietly after a few years. Application was frequently made for funds to keep the Long House functioning, but it disappears from the minutes entirely.

*     *     *


Using the same meticulous care as to detail and the same indefatigable industry as he displayed in other matters, William F. J. Piel, in conjunction with the Chief conceived and developed “The Long House of Nassau” in 1929. The date of its founding was May 27, 1929. There is every evidence that Mr. Piel spent endless hours on this project. I have seen the minutes of various bodies that were creditable to the one who kept and inscribed them, but I have never seen so perfect a job as in The Long House of Nassau. The typing is letter perfect and evidences the same attention to detail as all Mr. Piel’s other activities. The Long House of Nassau was an honor society set up from the traditions and ceremonies of the Iroquois Indians. There were no dues. The intent was to reward Scouters who had one meritorious work  with suitable rewards, tokens and emblems in the same sense that the Scouts receive Merit Badges. The legends and ceremonial procedure of the Indians were carefully adapted to the activities of The Long House and it was organized down to the dotting of the I’s and the crossing of the T’s as would be expected in anything that  Mr. Piel undertook. Looking over the list of members, of which there were less than a hundred, I found many familiar names. There was, of course, Carl Brown, Covey, Read and Piel.  Many old timers are included and many  whom I had forgotten as having an interest in Scouting. Some well known names appear in these records. Here are a few: John Myles Flynn, A. C. Wright, Williard G. Waters, Lucien Stanley, John A. Dilg, W. H. Eaton, Dr. E. C. Smith.

The officers dropped their real names and took on Indian names, as for instance, Brown was A-TO-TAR-HO; Covey was TO-NE-AS-AM; and Piel was DA-AT-GA-DO-SE. The members turned in claims for awards, which claims were rated and classified and awards made according to the findings of the “Board of Review.” This in itself must have been an enormous time consuming process. If anything, The Long House was over-organized and the procedure too exacting. Masonry has come down through the centuries with its ritual practically unchanged to the letter and the work is now done exactly as it has always been done. It  has been handed down man to man and not in printed form. It has lived on through the centuries without noticeable changes. But you cannot now set up an organization based upon exactness in following a ritual. Even with admiration for the Indian and his customs and his philosophy of life, unless one is a devotee of Indian lore he would not find much entertainment in an organization based upon something that does not appeal to the average man. For reasons which are not entirely clear, The Long House of Nassau flourished for a time and then died. It lacked something to make it so with the Scouters. Its ideals were of the highest, its objectives most worthy, but it lacked that “something” which has carried Scouting on over the years with no abatement. The Long House left nothing to the imagination but adhered with Masonic accuracy to the established ritual. I repeat, Mr. Piel must have spent untold hours upon this project only to see it dry up and die after only a short life.

“The Long House of Nassau” is described by its founder W. F. S. Piel in a letter to the author as follows:

“So far as I know, the “Long House of Nassau” simply folded up for want of initiative to carry it forward.

There was never an appeal for funds for any Long House purposes during my time in Nassau scouting.

The Long House was my own creation. It  was intended to be an honor fraternity by which the Council honored adults who had served in  local scouting, “who were ‘wise counselors’ of the Scouts”.  Their services were such as might not deserve national awards by, for Scoutings sake, merited Council  recognition.

There was a thought that some day, at Camp Wauwepex, an actual reproduction of a Long House could be built; in which the ancient ceremonial “to honor a man” could be carried out as they were according to the history and traditions of the “Five Nations” of our State and area.

The Long House was based upon the recorded ritual of the Five Nations; in my adaptation of it, with special reference to the Iroquois” New Year’s celebration of confession and penance: i.e. confession before the tribe of one’s shortcomings and promise of atonement for the coming year. All warriors took part in this New Year festal celebration; - it occurred (as does Scouting’s birthday) in February.

I am sorry that I cannot give you any further help. I also particularly regret that I had to forego continued participation in the Council’s affairs when I and my family removed to Connecticut.” 

*     *      *


From an administrative standpoint, undoubtedly the most ambitious undertaking of the Council was the “Troopmen’s Code” and the “Congress of Scouters”. It  was the brainchild of William F. J. Piel as foresaid who served on the Board 8 years. Mr. Piel says the spade work of the Code was done on weekends at Camp. When completed, it presented an outline of the duties of the various positions in Scouting in great detail. It omitted nothing, but included everything pertaining to the various activities of the men and boys who constituted the Scout family. It  is entirely too voluminous to review in this story, but it is in substance the Scouter’s Bible and book of rules and tells him exactly how to do what. It resulted in the annual  Scouters’ Congress now held in the fall of the year end which has always been an outstanding success. I have attended all of these gatherings and it is the high spot of the year. I distinctly remember the first Congress,  October 26, 1927, which was run by a stop watch, timed almost to the second as would be expected of Mr. Piel. The Code must have consumed innumerable hours of time and thought on the part of Mr. Piel, and it was in truth his baby.

*     *     *

Chapter Six

Outstanding Men

The story of the Nassau County Council is the story of men who have come into Scouting and who have carried on over the years as good soldiers. The “long termers” are relatively few in comparison with those who have come into the organization and worked a while and then gone out. The turnover in manpower has been heavy as would be expected. It is not, however, the spectacular Scouter who shines as a brilliant star for a time and then fades out, that keeps organizations of this kind functioning, but rather the star of lesser brilliance that shines on and on like Tennyson's brook forever. This history is studded with names of men who have come into Scouting and done most excellent  work, even brilliant work, and them, for some reason, have lost interest. That is lamentable. Nevertheless, if  Scouting were not greater than any one man or any dozen men, it would not have survived. And because it has in it the seeds of permanence, men may come and men may go, but the work continues on. Perhaps it is better so. The grim reaper has taken his toll, perceptively go; but so, also, have loss of interest, the cares of business, and social life taken their toll. Upon reading the records, I find this fact to stand out prominently. I am glad, however, to be counted among those who have never lost interest and who enlisted for life when they signed up and took the Scout Oath and repeated it time and time again; “I will do my  best”.

I here pay tribute to those who have carried the torch high and kept their interest over the years.

*     *     *

DOCTOR E. C. SMITH - Commissioner from 1919 to 1946

For consistent work over a long period of years and a never ending interest in Scouting, I here pay tribute to Doctor E. C. Smith, now living with his daughter in Florida. For many years, he was as much a part of the Scout Movement in Nassau as Chief Covey. He was a thoroughly consistent member of the Board, and Scout Commissioner for 27 years. Wherever and whenever the Scouts gathered for any purpose whatsoever, from a field rally to a Court of Honor or a Camp-O-Ree, he was there.

For many years he spent his summers at Camp Wauwepex doing his Scouting there. When his eyes failed him he still carried on. He never missed a camping season, and as a rule the full season. During his last two or three years, and when the war  was on and help scarce, he took over the Craft Lodge when he could hardly see what he was doing. I remember him one day testing the edges of the axes the Scouts had just ground and either saying “Okay” or “Give it another turn on the grindstone.” He knew his Scouting as few men have ever known it. He was our “Uncle Dan Beard”—always modest, always retiring, never forward, never given to fanfare and show. He was sincere in the fullest meaning of the term. He went into Scouting because Scouting appealed to him. He never sought honors but they came to him. He was leader at the Birkenhead Jamboree in England in 1929. In his own Troop (Troop 2, Woodmere) he was faithful in the little things and Nassau called him to the bigger things. If any man in Nassau Scouting deserves a niche in the Hall of Fame, he does. Now in his eighties, somewhat incapacitated, he still lives, and the wonder is that he does. Not a stormy life was his, but rather a quiet and deep running stream that moved slowly and majestically ever onward.

*     *     *


Among the men who have given time without stint to Scouting in Nassau, there stands out in bold relieve the name of Carl Stedman Brown. He holds the record of continuity of service in the presidential chair. He lived in Baldwin and first came on the Council as representing that village. The record is that he served the Council as president from 1926 to 1939. He will be best remembered for his fund of apt stories which he told well. He presided at Scout meetings with  dignity and grace, but also with  sly humor. A lawyer by profession, it is a fair statement that he held Scouting his first love. Always a “good dresser,” he stood out amongst the crowd. In a money sense, there were times when the shoe pinched, but one would never have known it from his appearance or his demeanor. He spent a great deal of time at the Camp and together with “Doc” Smith was part of the family that held forth at Chief Covey’s cabin down by the lake. He took his morning dip in the lake. He read detective stories while lounging on the porch. He had a host of friends, and wherever Scouts gathered, there was he. His affection for Scouting was sincere and lasting. He never tried to capitalize his Scout friends professionally. If law business ever came to him through his activities in Scouting, I was not aware of it. He first practiced in Brooklyn, then moved to Baldwin , and became one of the best known men in that section. The record reveals that he gave Scouting “all that  was in him.” As a tribute to him for his long service, a popular campaign was put on in 1940 and money was raised to erect the massive and most appropriate entrance to the Camp. It was dedicated August 17, 1941. The bronze plaque tells his story for future generations to read, and it is a fitting tribute to the man. He is very properly listed among the “old guard.” He died August 4, 1939. The bronze plaque reads as follows:  

“This gateway is affectionately dedicated to the
memory of Carl Stedman Brown, President Nassau County
Council, Boy Scouts of America, 1926-1939

by the

Scouts and Scouters of Nassau County.

He gave generously of himself and took an enduring interest in
Camp Wauwepex”

August 1941

*     *      *

E. K. PIETSCH - A “Santa Claus” in Scouting

The story of Scouting is essentially the story of men - men who have come and gone leaving their impress upon those who were associated with them. Humble yet outstanding was. E. K. Pietsch of Roslyn. He was Scoutmaster of Troop 1 of Roslyn. He died while nearing the age of 80; but for many years wherever Scouting was, he was. In parades, at camp fires, at the Camp itself, he could be found. He could be distinguished by reason of his white beard and his still lithe figure and his activities. I like to tell this story: He was electrician on the Clarence Mackey Estate at Roslyn. It  will be remembered that Mr. Mackey married an Opera Singer. Some time around 1929 things were not going any too well in the financial world. The panic had hit almost everybody and the rich were no exception. Meeting Mr. Pietsch one Sunday at Camp, I said to him, “Well, Pietsch, how’s the old man?” (Meaning Mackey). “He’s all right,” said he. “Where is he living now?” said I. “In my house,” said he. “And, where are you living?”, said I. “In his house,” said he. Draw your own conclusions.

When he died, the school children of Roslyn lined the sidewalks along the funeral way with little American flags in their hands. And thus they honored the old warrior, as well they might. For his funeral service, Chief Covey wrote and delivered for the first time the “Sagamore Prayer.” It  is as follows:


Our Heavenly Father, Our Supreme Sagamore Master, we pray that Thou will help us to realize that our hears must not be sad because Thou, in Thy infinite wisdom, hath seen fit to call our comrade, Sagamore Pietsch, to sit at the high Council with Thee. Help us to keep in mind constantly that as he blazed a trail for us here, so he has gone on ahead to blaze the trail for us to follow through that unknown country beyond straight to Thee. We are not bidding our comrade farewell today for we see him on ahead, Our Great Trail Blazer, making the way easier for us.

Help us, therefore, to be of good cheer, to carry on the work of Scouting among men and boys as he did so nobly before he started on ahead.

The evergreen which he loved so such because it signified to him everlasting life we will hold as a symbol which will keep his memory alive in our hearts and minds forever. His memory will be an inspiration to us. It will give us the courage to carry on. We will not fail him now.

Heavenly Father, bless his loved ones. Give me the faith to believe that all is well. Grant them the strength and courage to follow his trail with the assurance that the time will come when they will be with him again.

And now may the Great Scoutmaster, who watches over all good Scouts, be with us until we all meet at the Supreme Council above.

*    *     *

MORTIMER L. SCHIFF - “A Millionaire in Scouting”

When the writer of this history went on the Council in 1923, he found Mortimer L. Schiff to be the patron saint. Whenever the Council got into financial distress—which was all too often—he came to the rescue with contributions and loans. The latter  were paid as have been all other loans to the Council. He was a member of the Executive Body and Vice President from January 1, 1920 to February 3, 1930. When the Camp was purchased in 1926, he contributed $15,000. And as previously mentioned, on June 4, 1932, Mrs. Mortimer L. Schiff, his widow; his daughter, Dorothy Schiff Hall and his son, John M. Schiff, contributed $45,000 to pay the mortgage which left the property free and clear. We here again record our reverence for and appreciation of Mortimer L. Schiff, not only because of the money he gave but for the long interest he took in Nassau Scouting. We should never forget but long remember that Camp Wauwepex is what it is largely because of what he did to make it so. I shall always remember Mr. Schiff as I saw him at the Hempstead Country Club—the year I have forgotten -- (It was probably in 1926) -- as he stood before the audience. He was in evening dress and immaculate to the last degree of perfection. He made a short talk in his own modest way, and I carried away with me the lasting impression of a perfectly groomed and handsome man giving of his valuable time to the cause to which he gave so much of himself and equally as much of money, and left behind him in Nassau and throughout the Nation living and lasting monuments that will continue blessing mankind as long as time shall be.


For several years and while Scouting was in its infancy in Nassau, week-end training camps were held on the property of Henry Payne Whitney at Westbury. They  were well attended and under the supervision of Dr. E. C. Smith. They were later held at Camp Wauwepex and are still part of the summer program. This work is intended for Scoutmasters in particular. They live in tents, cook their own meals out of doors and are given practical instruction in Scoutcraft by seasoned and trained leaders.

The Council has for many years wished for a property easily accessible from all parts of Nassau County on which such activities could take place, together with overnight and week-end camps for those who do not desire to make the fifty mile trip to Wading River. In 1934, Edward S. Harkness, the philanthropist, donated 34 acres of undeveloped land in North Hills to the Scouts free and clear. The property was still wild, but it has possibilities. It soon began to be used for short-term camping. Water was piped into the property, sanitary facilities installed, and some grading was done.

It has been the hope of the Council that in due time this might be a Scout Center for all of Nassau County. It would include buildings to house the administrative offices—for many years on a rental basis and totally inadequate for the purpose—facilities for training courses, and in every way a real Scout Center. The dream has never been realized, and all that has been done has been in the way of making the Harkness property usable in a modest fashion for Scout purposes. The funds could be obtained by mortgaging Camp Wauwepex, but it has been the intention of the Council, in which everybody concurs, that having the Wauwepex property free of debt, it should be kept that way, as an acknowledgment of the benefactions that have made it so, as well as a broad principle of management. Consequently, Harkness is still much as it was when donated.

Practically every week end the year ‘round for years Fred Austin of Williston Park was at Harkness as a self-appointed guardian of the property. He scarcely missed a single week. Nobody ever asked him to perform this highly useful service, and it has been a labor of love in the highest degree. The property is open to depredation of the public and some damage has been done to the trees by the wood cutters. It  is a fair conclusion to say that no man in Scouting in Nassau has rendered more sacrificing service in a most practical way than he. In recognition of his fine work he was awarded the Silver Beaver in 1945. If ever a man earned this token in full measure, he has done just that. In a period of six months 1,171 boys and men used this property for long or short periods. Mr. Austin now works and lives in New Jersey.  


Here, then, is my story, completed as I sat by a window looking out upon majestic Overlook Mountain up Woodstock  way on a crisp September day, as the setting sun threw a golden glow over the landscape Chief Covey knows so well. It is eminently fitting that this story should have had its inception at Camp Wauwepex and its completion in Woodstock, both places well known to the Chief, and both having that indefinable something “that draws you to it and then won’t let you go.”

It has been quite impossible to review the contributions that several hundred Scouters have made during these thirty years, and the selection of those for special mention has not been easy. A goodly part of these contributions have been made in a quite way, in a local sphere and not on a county wide basis. If anybody has been omitted who is entitled to his recognition it was purely inadvertent, because the Mineola office together with the author made every effort to be fair with everybody in the personal sense. The men especially mentioned have been outstanding in their contributions, but hundreds of other have done their part in making the success of the past thirty years possible.

We have had our problems and our anxieties as well as our thrills, but my opinion is that the thrills have far exceeded the worries. A Nassau County Scouter cannot escape a feeling of pride as he looks over the 600 acres that constitute Camp Wauwepex as he realizes it is all our own and free of debt for some twenty years. That in itself is an achievement, but to use it to the full for the benefit of the boys is still a greater accomplishment.

I repeat what is said in the introduction that this has been a pleasurable experience, highly profitable to the author personally as he reviewed the past, reviving memories that were slumbering and setting them to the music of the printed page. To have lived closely with all that has gone by has been a education in itself and profitable in every way.

List of Appendices

Appendix A - Gleanings From the Record
Appendix B - Executive Board 1947
Appendix C - Past Presidents of the Nassau County Council, Boy Scouts of America
Appendix D - Silver Beaver Awardees
Appendix E - Assistant Scout Executives
Appendix F - Registrations
Appendix G - Total Boys and Units Served
Appendix H - Council Budgets
Appendix I - Campaign Results
Appendix J - Summer Camp Registrations
Appendix K - Summer Camp Receipts and Expenditures


February 20, 1917 - Nassau County Council organized by F. Howard Covey, Scout Executive.

1918 - Reported that Scouts had sold $371,250 of Liberty Bonds.

September 30, 1919 -- Council suspended for lack of funds. 47 Troops - 1,078 Scouts.

January 5, 1920 - First Roosevelt Pilgrimage.

July 16, 1921 - Camp Wauwepex opened at Miller Place, Long Island.

April 19, 1922 - Ruled that the Scout Oath be given at Scout dinners, followed by silent Grace.

June 6, 1922 - Lower Mess Hall authorized at a cost not to exceed $700

July 22, 1922 - First year at Camp Wauwepex.

December 6, 1922 - L. L. McDonald, National Camp Director, wrote "Southy:" "I note with interest your statement that Camp Wauwepex is the greatest Boy Scout Camp ever conducted in the United States. It makes me regret that I was unable to pay you a visit this year." The cost per boy week was $5.61. (Southy is such a modest fellow.) I am inclined to add facetiously, "Brother McDonald, you should use it now!!! Southy is still there and holds the same opinion after all these twenty-five years."


April 2, 1923 - Camp Committee recommended that a shack 14’ x 16’ be erected. This is the "Green Shack" near the hospital, and for a number of years was used as the Hospital.

June 17, 1923 - Sagamores organized.

August 14, 1923 - Ruled that women be not allowed at Camp on week ends. (Subsequently rescinded.)

August 14, 1923 - Refunds of money paid for registration at Camp or balance due to boys going to Camp and not remaining to the end of their registration period were denied. (Subsequently rescinded)

December 6, 1923 - "Nassau County Council, Boy Scouts of America" was incorporated.

1924 - Reported that there were 160 men and boys "to look after at Camp."

November 8, 1924 - Chief’s car stolen at Hicksville while he was at a Scout meeting. Car was afterwards recovered at Huntington, January 8, 1925. Damage was settled for $75. Carl Brown recovered the loss and contributed his services. 

1925 - Quotas amounting to $20,220 were assigned to various communities. July 2, 1925 it was reported that $15,147.39 has been collected.

In the June 4, 1925 minutes I find a list of quotas and the amounts received up to that time. Symbols were used to designate whether the amount was "certain" or "uncertain" by using the letter "s" which meant "sure" and the letter "U" which meant "uncertain." Strange to say, some of the communities that were marked "certain" are still certain today, and some of those marked" uncertain" are still uncertain today. I should like to mention names, but my historic license forbids. But I recognized old friends that have run true to form over all the years.

W. H. K.

October 14, 1925 - Mr. Southworth resigned to take an executive position with Hendrick Hudson Council on the lower Hudson.

May 13, 1926 - Option taken on Camp Wauwepex.

1927 - Boys used their own mess kits. Water was heated on the beach over open fires. After meals, dishes were scraped at the table, mess kits taken to beach, dipped in hot suds, rinsed, put back in table racks. Each boy was on his own. Table dishes were washed by special squad. One gallon of hot water was allowed per boy.

During 1927, 250,040 egg masses of tent caterpillars were gathered and destroyed. Counting 200 caterpillars to each nest, there were destroyed 58,008,000 of these pests. It almost eradicated them. One Troop reported 40,000 collected and destroyed up to March 8, 1928.

1927 - Winter camp had 42 boys and 6 leaders.

March 30, 1927 - Mess kits abolished. Dishes substituted and "if necessary, a man be hired to wash the dishes."

April 7, 1927 - Total campaign pledges reported $224,322.04. Cash received to date, $140,445.69.

July 7, 1927 - Water system - wall, tank and pump - installed. Cost, $2,005.35.

October 6, 1927 - Messrs. Piel Smith, Holland, Meaker and Brown each bought 1,000 trees from the State of New York to be planted in the spring of 1928. (This was done.)

October 6, 1927 - Troopmen’s Code priced at 35 cents.

October 26, 1927 - Troopmen’s Code adopted and ordered printed.

November 9, 1927 - Reported collections to date (on Camp Campaign) of $184,391.73. Balance due on pledges, $99,930.31.

1928 - Water system put in Camp. (handpumps had been used up to that time.)

May 3, 1928 - "Nassau Scout" came out with the first edition.

August 9, 1928 - One of the most notable days at the Camp was August 9, 1928 when the movie "A Day at Camp Wauwepex" was professionally filmed. There was a very large audience of fond parents and friends. Climaxing the various activities was the presentation of a Durant car to the Camp. The writer was present with his camera and made a sizable number of smart shots. The irony of it all came a few days after the car became the property of the Camp when one of the camp leaders was held for speeding somewhere near Smithtown and the story is he was fined $10.

October 6, 1928 - Pledges to date in campaign adjusted to $283,462.04. (6,192 pledges.) (Pledges did not include Great Neck, Glen Cove or the Branch).

November 17, 1928 - Drinking fountain donated by Mr. Ernest A. Nathan of Freeport.

December 13, 1928 - Reported Camp property paid for except $45,000 mortgage.

1929 - Scouts collected 11,500 oranges for "Orange Day." These were distributed to hospitals and homes.

1929 - Sagamore cabin built.

1929 - Winter camp (five days) had 47 boys and 3 leaders. Cost, $175.08 and was self-supporting.

1929 - Tent caterpillar campaign. In 1928, one Troop collected 48,113 egg masses. In 1927, one Troop collected 70,579 egg masses. In 1929, only collected 2,213. Reported that the pest had been practically wiped out. "One of the best public services the Scouts ever rendered."

March 14, 1929 - Upper Mess Hall completed and Anton Walbridge given vote of thanks for the gift. Complete cost, with equipment, $10,646.14.

March 14, 1929 - Camp equipment to cost $15,414.64 authorized.

March 14, 1929 - Leonard J. Buck contributed $500 for Sagamore Lodge.

March 14, 1929 - $556 appropriated for totems for long House of Nassau.

March 14, 1929 - Scouts Eugene Thurston and Robert Lucberg cited for finding sum of money and refusing to accept any remuneration.

April 1, 1929 - 15 applications for Jamboree at Birkenhead July 31, - August 14, 1929.

April 1, 1929 - 12,000 caterpillar nests were left in the office and "hatched out on Easter." They were destroyed.

April 4, 1929 - Telephone poles erected at Camp Wauwepex.

April 4, 1929 - Fire line around lake authorized, to cost $340.

May 2, 1929 - Craft Lodge authorized, to cost $3,500. completed July 5, 1929.

May 27, 1929 - Long House of Nassau founded.

August 29, 1929 - 12 Scouts returned on the "S. S. California" from the Third World Jamboree at Birkenhead, England. Dr. E. C. Smith and Theodore Jennings were in charge.

October 1, 1929 - Charles H. Jones (former cook) was made caretaker at Camp Wauwepex at $120 per month. He lived in the Hospital building. He remained about two years.

October 26, 1927 - Troopmen’s Code adopted. First Scouters’ Congress held.

1930 - Sea Scouting was added to program.

1930 - For several seasons there was operated the "Indian Village" with tepees as tents. The boys really camped out on their own and had elaborate headdresses and costumes. In 1933 it was changed to the "Wilderness Camp."

1930 - Camp Cook signed up for $40 per week. (Now we pay twice that.)

1930 - During the early years and up to about 1940, the Council depended largely upon large gifts and chiefly from the monied men of the North Shore. The villages were not expected, nor did they, raise any considerable amount of money. There were a few large donations in contrast with many small ones, and the latter is the safer way as we subsequently discovered. At the present time, the villages are carrying the burden of the work, and the larger gifts are not only decreasing in number, but also in amount. We have gone democratic in that respect. The day of big gifts seems to be definitely over and we are in a large sense "on our own."

January 2, 1930 - Anton Walbridge creates credit of $3,000 a month for 4 months, to be drawn on as needed.

February 13, 1930 - Mortimer L. Schiff resigns as Director.

April 1, 1930 - Sunrise Scouter first published.

April 13-17, 1930 - Forestry Camp held at Camp. During this time the Scouts planted 5,000 trees suitable for the soil and the climate. They are by this time (1947) sizable trees, and are to be found on the slopes on the south side of Camp.

May 1, 1930 - Foote system discontinued.

May 1, 1930 - Assistant Scout Executive Harold A. Baldwin’s case settled for $300.

August 1930 - Cub Scouting started in the Nassau County Council.

September 4, 1930 - Herbert Grace engaged as Caretaker.

October 2, 1930 - Reported that we have $32,000 notes payable and $45,000 mortgage on Camp.

1931 - First Silver Beavers awarded to Dr. E. C. Smith, Carl Stedman Brown, Albert Z. Gray and William F. J. Piel.

1931 - 585 Scouts camped at Camp Wauwepex in addition to the summer season. In 1932 there were 929.

January 8, 1931 - Frederick W. Road, Sr. elected to Board.

February 25, 1931 - Ruled that "no part of Scout organization shall enter Community Chest this year."

March 27, 1931 - Fireproof storage building discussed and recommended.

April 2, 1931 - Campaign to raise $100,00 for 2 years authorized.

April 2, 1931 - Scouts enter the Community Chest of the Branch.

July 2, 1931 - Cost per Scout for 1931 $7.79 vs. National average $9.86.

July 2, 1931 - Borrowed on notes from:

Devereux Milburn                $1,000
Joseph P. Grace                    1,000
Albert Z. Gray                       1,500
Leonard J. Buck                    1,000
Acosta Nichols                         500
Henry Minten                            500
William H. Kniffin                   1,000

August 6, 1931 - Long House of Nassau still functioning.

August 9, 1931 - Paul Siple who accompanied Admiral Byrd on his voyage to the South Pole and was then a Scout visited the Camp.

September 3, 1931 - Authorized present Camp Caretaker’s home. Cost $4,328. Completed in 1931.

1932 - Camp made tax free.

1932 - There was for a few seasons a "Land Ship" for "Sea Scout Training." An imitation ship was built. The "Swordfish" was anchored at Jamesport as was also the "Half Moon", a Ketch. Both were used in Sea Scout training.

1932 - First Scoutmaster’s Keys awarded to:

Edward K. Pietsch (deceased)
Dr. Edward C. Smith
Charles A. Hewlett
C. Willis Woodford (deceased)
Herbert Tatem
Willard G. Waters
Eugene Lee
Charles Stearns (deceased)
Albert Burtis
Louis W. Felter

1932 - Shack for Chief (near Lower Mess Hall) recommended.

1932 - Boy, taken with appendicitis at Camp, removed to Mather Memorial Hospital at Port Jefferson and operated upon.

As an example of the quantity of food consumed during a season in Camp, I found for the year 1932, with 299 boys in Camp for 1005 "boy week" that there were served 9,948 meals which required:

6,650 qts. milk      450 doz. eggs
415 lbs. fish          856 lbs. butter
2 ½ tons meat       3,485 loaves bread

August 14, 1932 - Schiff Memorial dedicated. Mortgage burned.

1933 - Lake stocked with bass and pickerel. Subsequently, several requests were made by various persons for permission to fish in the lake. The council has steadfastly refused to grant such permission to those outside of Scouting.

April 21, 1934 - Body of Gustav Glatter found through assistance of Scouts. Acknowledged by Police Department for efficient work.

June 18, 1934 - S. S. S. 5, Great Neck, awarded Regional Flag.

August 1934 - Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker visits Camp.

September 6, 1934 - One and a quarter acres were purchased in order to straighten the road at the entrance to the camp. Cost $300.

October 4, 1934 - A belt and buckle made in the Craft Lodge was authorized to be given to Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker as a souvenir of his visit to Camp August, 1934. This was acknowledged by Capt. Rickenbacker March 30, 1935.

1935 - 1,301 Scouts used the overnight and short term facilities at Wauwepex.

1935 - Meals served - 29,831
            Cost                $5,204.51
            Per Meal         .19
            Per Day           .58

846 boys and 379 leaders camped at Wauwepex in addition to summer season.

January 1935 - S. S. S. 5, Great Neck, appointed National Flagship.

April 27-28, 1935 - Fire sweeps the Camp.

1936 - Raised $57,325.50 to October 8.

May 7, 1936 - Alumni of Troop 4, Floral Park, known as the "Black Arrow" was reported to be building a shack for Mr. Southworth. He still uses it.

November 5, 1936 - Executives who work nights not to report at office until ten o’clock the next morning.

December 18, 1936 - Projected to set up trust fund for maintenance of Camp. Chief Covey sent in the first contribution of $25.00.

1937 - Campaign raised $54,954.48.

October 7, 1937 - In consideration of the National Jamboree at Washington, D. C., the Council authorized 99 commemorative medals to be made and given to those in attendance.

November 4, 1937 - Scout Retirement Plan adopted.

1938 - Camp Director asked permission "if he found a few extra dollars to build a little cabin somewhere on camp property where he would be able to get some sleep and privacy. He said he would donate the building to the Camp upon completion." All that this amounted to was a lot of kidding. (Camp Committee Minutes.)

September 8, 1938 - Administration building at Camp Wauwepex authorized. Cost $1,000.

1939 - Chief Covey stated that he had no privacy; too much company; shack in wrong place - "like Times Square"; no rent; no retreat; no winter facilities.

1939 - New Administration building built. Old Adjutant’s building torn down. Camp Director’s shack moved. Ladies Comfort Station built.

January 12, 1939 - a whispering campaign. Suggested "that key men throughout the Council be secured to make it their business to bring up favorable comments whoever in conversation with various groups at various functions they attend."

July 6, 1939 - Patrol Cabin number two burned.

September 7, 1939 - Woodburning stoves for patrol cabins approved.

September 7, 1939 - Memorial to Carl Stedman Brown approved.

October 5, 1939 - Gift of 34 acres from Edward G. Harkness reported.

October 20, 1939 - Harness property acquired.

December 3, 1939 - At Rifle Range at Camp gun was accidentally discharged and bullet grazed the fingers of a boy. Not serious.

December 12, 1940 - Newsday expedition reported in process.

January 8, 1941 - Lord Baden Powell dies.

January 9, 1941 - Newsday offer to bear expense of trip by bus to Philmont Scout Ranch at Cimmarron, New Mexico.

March 6, 1941 - Scout at Bethpage drowned while saving the life of another boy.

April 3, 1941 - Frederick R. Heidtmann selected as leader of Newsday Expedition, and W. Douglas Mathewson as assistant leader.

June 30, 194 1- Reported that 809 boys and 362 adults had used Harkness in 6 months.

July 65, 1941 - Newsday Expedition to Philmont Scout Ranch - Rock Mountain Scout Camp.

August 17, 1941 - Carl Stedman Brown Memorial dedicated.

January 8, 1942 - Council took over work of running money raising campaign without outside assistance.

January 30, 1942 - Walter Head Award for accomplishing objective received for second time.

September 7, 1943 - Fire which burned for two days destroyed approximately 506 acres of the Camp woodland. It did not reach the buildings. (Not to be confused with the 1935 fire.)

September 9, 1943 -Council was reported for the first time out of debt and with money in the bank.

October 8,1943 - District Attorney of Suffolk County reopened the Ship 14 case before the Grand Jury.

January 13, 1944 - Grand Jury reported no negligence found and dismissed the case.

March 9, 1944 - Reported that Sea Scout Ship 14 had raised $2,581 for the purchase of a new Ship. This was through the efforts of the Nassau Daily Review-Star and William H. Kniffin.

April 13, 1944 - Moving pictures of activities at Camp were authorized. This was later taken by Peter A. Leavens at a cost of about $1,000.

June 8, 1944 - Reported that two refrigerators at $455 each and two milk boxes at $215 each had been bought for Camp.

November 2, 1944 - Reported that Commodore Remington’s grandson had been killed in action.

1945 - Reported that two new oil burning cook stoves had been bought for Camp at a cost of $2,424.

1945 - Financial "Kickbacks" to villages discontinued.

1946 - National Training School operated at Wauwepex April 28 to May 4.

January 10, 1946 - In recognition of his long and faithful service, Dr. E. C. Smith was made "Chief Scout of Nassau County."

as of 1954

Albert L. Anderson                       Halsey B. Knapp
Frederick F. Boik                         William H. Kniffin
Henry C. Bickmeyer                      Nathan D. Heiman
Dr. Walter S. Boardman                Sterling W. Mudge
Dr. Earle G. Brown                       John W. Pfeiffer
Herbert P. Buerger                        Frederick W. Read, Sr.
Edward V. Buxton                        Franklin Remington
Hon. Henry J. A. Collins                C. Ray Ross
Leonard J. Cushing                        John M. Schiff
John A. Dilg                                  Theodore R. Schulz
Dr. Albert J. Dillinger                     Joseph C. Sealy
John W. Dougherty                       Saul I. Silverman
Milton C. Everett                          Herman K. Sloman
Edwin A. Fish                               Dr. Edward C. Smith
Albert Z. Gray                              Eugene W. Staehle, Sr.
W. Davis Hegeman                       Arthur E. Taylor
Charles V. Hickox                        Ronald S. Wishart
Hon. Cortland A. Johnson            William H. Zaun

as of 1954

Henry M. Earle   1917-1919 (deceased)
Harry L. Hedger 1920
John W. Anderson 1921
Thomas E. Hartman 1922-23
William J. Russell  1924-1925 (deceased)
Carl Stedman Brown  1926-1939 (deceased)
Frederick W. Read, Sr. 1939-1941;1946-1947
Elvin H. Edwards 1942-1946 (deceased)
Cortland A. Johnson 1948-1954
Sterling W. Mudge  1954-



Dr. Edward C. Smith
Carl Stedman Brown (deceased)
Albert Z. Gray
William F. J. Piel


Frederick W. Read, Sr.
Charles A. Hewlett


C. Willis Woodford (deceased)
Robert W. Sykes


Frederick R. Heidtmann
Lucien C. Stanley


John H. Huhn (deceased)
E. K. Pietsch (deceased)


Willard G. Waters
Marvin M. Brooks


Philip H. Donnler, Jr.
G. Herbert Tatem
William H. Kniffin


Richard Franz
George B. Hammond
Emmett R. Shute


Robert J. Poulson
Carl J. Lord
Arthur E. Taylor


W. Douglas Mathewson
Ansel Raynor
William A. Wolf (deceased)


Harry W. Bigelow (deceased)
John A. Ross
Fred Zowe


W. Davis Mageman
E. Roth James
Franklin Remington


George J. Abrahams
Eugene W. Staehle, Sr.
William J. Trowbridge


Rev. John E. Garstenberg
John W. Pfeiffer
William R. Witherell


Frederick W. Austin
Frederick F. Beik
Elvin N. Edwards (deceased)
George Joslin


Frank Benjanski
Herbert P. Buerger
John W. Dougherty
William Wenz

as of 1954

Irving F. Southworth 1917-1925; 1934-1954
Clayton S. Ingison 1926-1928
Haron A. Ross 1926-1939
Harold A. Baldwin 1927-1929
Elliott A. Mangan 1929-1937
Joseph S. Fleming 1930-1951
Russell C. Lauver 1937-1942
Donald A. Stevens 1942-1943
Arthur P. Nowkirk 1942-1946 (deceased)
Walter M. Magee 1944-1946
Gordon M. Henning 1946-1950
Elwin B. Cornell 1946-1951
George F. Byrne 1946-1951
Robert F. Parkinson 1946-1953
Joseph C. Desmond 1947-1950
Morton C. Yutes 1949-1949
Robert A. Paul 1950-1950
Edward J. Kearns 1950-
Leroy V. Brown 1950-
Frank Edgerton 1950-1954
David F. Le Feber 1951-

1917 - 1947

Date Total
Total Active
Scouts  Senior Scouts  Cubs
February 1, 1917   1078  1078    
Dec.31, 1917 53  1163  1163    
Dec. 31, 1918 54 1026  1026    
Oct. 1, 1919 * 48 1078  1078    
Dec. 31, 1920 45  987 987    
Dec. 31, 1921 49  1037  1037    
Dec. 31, 1922 56  1204  1204    
Dec. 31, 1923 61  1304  1304    
Dec. 31, 1924 76  1719  1719    
Dec. 31, 1925 85  1987  1987    
Dec. 31, 1926 84  2058  2058    
Dec. 31, 1927 88  2328  2328    
Dec. 31, 1928 90  2486  2486    
Dec. 31, 1929 94  2618  2618    
Dec. 31, 1930 101  2919  2924  85  10
Dec. 31, 1931 119  3120  2920  83  117
Dec. 31, 1932 135  3685  3155  138  292
Dec. 31, 1933 140  4052  3579  194  279
Dec. 31, 1934 148  4165  3588  232  345
Dec. 31, 1935 150  4586  3895  230  461
Dec. 31, 1936 159  4755  3897  311  547
Dec. 31, 1937 154  4913  3885  350  677
Dec. 31. 1938 158  5182  4844  377  761
Dec. 31, 1939 171  5783  4392  357  1034
Dec. 31. 1940 186  6437  4479  334  1624
Dec. 31, 1941 201  6103  4649  405  2049
Dec. 31, 1942 204  7222  4654  429  2139
Dec. 31, 1943 210  6790  4133  296  2361
Dec. 31, 1944 226  7763  4470  263  3030
Dec. 31, 1945 236  7496  4120  217  3159
Dec. 31, 1946 237  7229  3572  161  3196
Dec. 31, 1947 248  7719  3659  310  3750

* Council disbanded because of lack of funds. Reorganized Jan. 1920.

Note: In addition to the above, we had boys registered in military service as follows: (All as of Dec. 31)

1943 - 352
1944 - 520
1945 - 525
1946 - 170
1947 - 47

1917 - 1947

Date Total
Total Active
Scouts  Senior Scouts  Cubs
Dec.31, 1917 54  over 1,163  over 1,163 (Records incomplete)
Dec. 31, 1918 64  1,331 1,331
Dec. 31, 1919* ? 1,347 1,347
Dec. 31, 1920 54  1,550 1,550
Dec. 31, 1921 57  1,447 1,447
Dec. 31, 1922 62  1,650 1,650
Dec. 31, 1923 65  1,835 1,835
Dec. 31, 1924 82  2,256 2,256
Dec. 31, 1925 83  2,543 2,543
Dec. 31, 1926 94  2,834 2,834
Dec. 31, 1927 96  3,351 3,351
Dec. 31, 1928 97  3,410 3,410
Dec. 31, 1929 103  3,752 3,752
Dec. 31, 1930 102  3,896 3,801 85 10
Dec. 31, 1931 120  4,417 4,418 126  143
Dec. 31, 1932 137  4,805 4,271 170  364
Dec. 31, 1933 147  5,401 4,697 218  486
Dec. 31, 1934 153  5,706 4,862 297  547
Dec. 31, 1935 159  6,105 5,058 329  716
Dec. 31, 1936 165  6,421 5,210 378  833
Dec. 31, 1937 164  6,599 5,173 456  970
Dec. 31, 1938 168  7,074 5,336 523  1,215
Dec. 31, 1939 177  7,738 5,695 479  1,564
Dec. 31, 1940 195  8,596 6,938 494  2,114
Dec. 31, 1941 210  9,453 6,129 540  2,784
Dec. 31, 1942 214  10,064 6,360 598  3,166
Dec. 31, 1943 224  10,188 6,360 591  3,531
Dec. 31, 1944 234  11,036 6,336 589  4,111
Dec. 31, 1945 252  11,613 6,375 579  4,659
Dec. 31, 1946 257  11,047 5,969 432  4,646
Dec. 31, 1947 270  11,130 5,477 396  5,257

* Council disbanded because of lack of funds. Reorganized Jan 1928. Total Units served in 1919 unknown as records are incomplete.

1919 - 1947 Inclusive

Year  Amount
1919 $14,240
1920  15,950
1921  12,950
1922  11,465
1923  13,605
1924  17,475
1925  21,941
1926  23,176
1927  21,986
1928 21,985
1929  30,723
1930  34,275
1931  30,522
1932  31,098
1933  32,050
1934  37,457
1935  46,908
1936  44,471
1937  45,749
1938 51,854
1939  52,064
1940  59,632
1941  62,230
1942  63,952
1943 63,579
1944  64,413
1945  68,750
1946  109,306
1947 106,980


Year  Amount Raised
1920 $12,964.21
1921  11,536.53
1922  10,850.25
1923  10,457.50
1924  12,638.15
1925  17,081.87
1926 & 1927 (campaign for Camp Wauwepex) 183,986.04 cash collections reported up to  11/30/27 with an additional $78,336 in pledges.*
1929 - Foote System used. Discontinued 5/1/30
1930  25,235.00
1931 & 1932 105,082.57
1933  36,121.64
1934 37,283.64
1935  41,283.94
1936  47,672.55
1937 42,968.49
1938  47,961.87
1939  48,044.62
1940  50,848.03
1941  46,936.84
1942  51,130.42
1943  66,010.09
1944  74,002.44
1945  83,669.38
1946  83,124.46
1947  88,649.79

* These pledges were paid during the next year or two. Of course, there were some cancellations, but not many. Assuming $268,322 of the 1926 Campaign and $105,082 of 1931-1932 Campaign were collected, the Council has raised since 1920 a total of $1,322,876.32. There is but one major contribution; namely, that of $60,000 from Mortimer L. Schiff and family.


Year No. Scouts Only No. Scout Camper Weeks
1921  133  250
1922  190  425
1923  280  602
1924  253  588
1925  410  921
1926  379  863
1927  466  1138
1928  495  1234
1929  506  1371
1930  436  1165
1931  425  1119
1932  404  949
1933  448  1135
1934 455  1061
1935  501  1207
1936  529  1484
1937  567  1537
1938  542  1479 ½
1939  550  1347
1940  575  1524 ½
1941  716  1612 ½
1942  653  1665
1943  553  1364
1944  753  1755 ½
1945  822  1838 2/3
1946  678  1607 1/6
1947  511 

1185 1/6


Year Receipts Expenditures Costs/Fees per week
1931  $11,342.56 $11,736.99 Cost per week $7.50
1932  8,406.13 8,788.95 Fee $8.50 per week
1933  9,867.50 8,939.23 Fee $8.50 per week
1934  9,430.25 9,326.18 Fee $8.50 per week
1935  10,532.05 9,603.24 Fee $8.50 per week
1936  12,785.60  11,285.91 Fee $8.50 per week
1937  13,128.50 12,697.16 Fee $8.50 per week
1938  12,822.87 12,646.77 Fee $8.50 per week
1939  11,503.52 11,633.31 Fee $8.50 per week
1940  13,173.70 12,414.34 Fee $8.50 per week
1941  16,707.75 14,561.19 Fee $9.00 per week
1942  15,457.33 15,108.92 Fee $9.50 per week
1943  15,436.97 13,026.62 Fee $10.75 per week
1944  19,868.96 19,010.04 Fee $11.00 per week
1945  21,657.29 19,100.62 Fee $11.00 per week
1946 18,302.76 22,150.43 Fee $11.00 per week
1947  18,156.87 22,139.22 Fee $15.00 per week

What an amazing document! It really is a wonderful look back at the hard work that went into forming the Council and opening Wauwepex.

When you're ready, please head back to the main Onteora page.