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OK’s Advance Scouts

Trustworthy, loyal, helpful … first?



 



Located just south of the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, Pawhuska is the seat of Osage County. The town made national headlines in the 1920s for its oil boom riches, and in 1932 as the place where a stolen car triggered the nationwide pursuit of Bonnie and Clyde. Today, it is widely known as the home of Food Network star Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman Mercantile.
 

But the city’s first claim to fame was pioneering Boy Scouts. Pawhuska Troop 1, founded in May 1909 by Rev. John Forbes Mitchell, was among the early forerunners of the scouting movement, and predates the official founding of the Boy Scouts of America on Feb. 8, 1910. They were definitely trailblazers, but  …


THE CLAIM: America’s first Boy Scout Troop was founded in Pawhuska.

THE SOURCE: Osage County Historical Society Museum

FACT CHECK: False

 

The idea of a civic-minded youth group emphasizing self-reliance and good deeds sprang from a field guide written by British cavalry officer Robert Baden-Powell. The first edition of his book — which has seen an estimated 150 million copies produced in the past 110 years  — was published May 1, 1908, under the title Scouting for Boys.

Scouting’s popularity boomed beyond expectations. More than 60,000 Scouts had joined in Great Britain alone by the end of 1908, and record-keeping was not a top priority.

In the United States, the earliest reported Scout troops inspired by Baden-Powell’s writing appeared in 1908: one called Eagle Troop in Burnside, Kentucky, and two in the Pennsylvania towns of Pottsville and Bala Cynwyd. In fact, a troop in Merrickville, Canada, was the continent’s first of all.

Although demonstrably not the first American troop, the Pawhuska Scouts appear to be the best documented and most stylish of the early U.S. Scouts.

Its founder, Mitchell, knew Baden-Powell personally, as they served together in South Africa. His Pawhuska Scouts wore official British Boy Scout uniforms ordered from England, opened each meeting by singing the British national anthem, “God Save the King,” and were led in parades by two drummers and two buglers.

More than a century later, the troop is still in existence and a point of pride for Pawhuska’s population of 3,600. The Osage County Historical Society Museum devotes one of its five main exhibit sections to its Boy Scouts. Among its extensive exhibit, in the final paragraph of a three-panel display, the society acknowledges that the oldest-in-America claim has been “hotly debated.” In tacit acknowledgment of earlier troops, caveats are added: The Pawhuska troop, it is clarified, was the first Scout troop in the United States to 1) receive a British charter and 2) wear British uniforms.

In the end, the Boy Scout spirit of trustworthiness wins the day.


Editor’s note: Oklahoma is rich with history, lore and fun facts, but some of them aren’t quite factual. In this series, M.J. Alexander hunts for the accuracy – or lack thereof – behind some of our state’s stories.

 

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Calendar

December 2019

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

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Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
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Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
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Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
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View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
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Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
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October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
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Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
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More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

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200 Bass Pro Dr.
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Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

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Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
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View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
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Cost: $20 per person, cash or check

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200 Bass Pro Dr.
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Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

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Cost: Free!

Where:
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Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

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Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
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Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
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Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
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Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
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More information

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Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
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View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

The Holiday Pop-Up Shops are coming back to Midtown! With shops rotating weekly, you can find a gift for everyone on your list. Join us to discover 35+ local shops, enjoy treats from Katiebug's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Midtown
399 N.W. 10th St.
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Contact Name: Cleo Rajon

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Cost: Free

Where:
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200 Bass Pro Dr.
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Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
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View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
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View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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View map »


Contact Name: Cleo Rajon

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
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View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
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View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
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View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
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View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
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More information

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Cost: Free

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Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
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View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

The Holiday Pop-Up Shops are coming back to Midtown! With shops rotating weekly, you can find a gift for everyone on your list. Join us to discover 35+ local shops, enjoy treats from Katiebug's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Midtown
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View map »


Contact Name: Cleo Rajon

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
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View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
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View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
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View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

More information

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Cost: $20-$77

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