A descendant of late Cranesville justice of the peace Malcolm Malpass has been trying to locate a picture of Amsterdam Boy Scout Troop 1.
Malpass was a member of the pioneer troop, as was my uncle Stanley Cudmore. Malpass’ great grandson Nicholas Brino is working toward Eagle Scout and the family wants to display a picture of his great-grandfather’s troop at the ceremony.
The national office of the Boy Scouts of America opened in 1910 in New York City. Troop 1 in Amsterdam was in operation by 1915, based at the former East Main Street Methodist Episcopal Church (E.M.M.E.), located at the corner of Vrooman Avenue. E.M.M.E. was popular with English and Scottish immigrants, many of whom settled in the East End. My grandfather was from England and his family, for example, lived on Eagle Street near the church.
E.M.M.E. closed after World War II. After a second life as Kuk’s Furniture House and a third life as a St. Mary’s Hospital mental health facility, the building is now home to Amsterdam’s Creative Connections Arts Center.
In April, 1945 the Recorder reported that alumni of Troop 1 gathered at the Bigelow Weavers Club on Brookside Avenue for their 30 year anniversary dinner.
Malcolm Malpass and Stanley Cudmore attended. So did former Scoutmaster Morton L. Clark, who lived in Hudson in 1945. Clark began the dinner by telling the scouting alumni what he had told them 30 years before, “You boys are making too much noise.”
Clark recalled that Reverend Charles A.S. Heath, the E.M.M.E. pastor in 1914, asked him and William Williamson to form a boys’ club. The club became Troop 1. Some of the original leaders went into military service in World War I. Clark said the troop enjoyed camping trips in Galway and went on hikes to Fonda to attend the Montgomery County Fair.
Clark said he was proud of “the walks of life chosen by the boys of former years.” Clark presented the alumni with an American flag he had preserved from World War I when the scouts raised a remarkable total of $250,000 in sale of Liberty Bonds.
The featured speaker was historian and newspaper columnist Hugh P. Donlon who said it was remarkable that the boys of 30 years ago retained their fun-loving ways.
Years later in his history book “Annals of a Mill Town,” Donlon wrote, “Scoutmaster Bill Williamson and early scouters instilled a lasting comradeship and loyalty far above sectarian and ethnic lines. Corroboration of this was seen during Troop 1 reunions held annually for nearly a half century and after that at five-year intervals.”
Master of ceremonies at the 1945 gathering was George F. Schuchardt, who was a church stalwart. Schuchardt was active in theatrical programs at the East End church.
The Recorder wrote, “The queries covered memories of boyhood pranks as escapades of well-known members were retold to bring general comment and laughter.”
William T. Ingham, president of the alumni group, gave thanks to the men already deceased who helped Troop 1 succeed. Tribute also was paid to troop members who were serving in World War II by vice president Thomas J. Kelly. Scouting District Commissioner Harold D. Gill made a plea for help in carrying on the mission of scouting.
Secretary Archie Griswold read the minutes of meetings from 30 years ago rescued from “attic oblivion.” The newspaper wrote, “Suspensions and reinstatements, delinquencies in payment of dues and other personal matters brought opportunity for much fun.”
Algy Firth led alumni in song and accordion accompaniment was provided by Clement Malpass. Selections included “The Old Gray Mare” as “a reminder of the passing years.”