In fact, of the first nine Eagle Scouts, eight - including the first, Arthur Eldred, in 1912 - did not earn either Life or Star Scout recognition.
In 1914 the Committee on Badges, Awards, and Scout Requirements made certain merit badges compulsory for Eagle. When the number of Eagle Scouts declined in 1915, the committee said the drop "...is accounted for by the fact that the standard for the Eagle Badge was raised by making compulsory the securing of the badges in Athletics or Physical Development, Camping, Cooking, First Aid, Life Saving, Pioneering, Pathfinding, Personal Health, Public Health, Bird Study, and Civics, in addition to 10 others which may be chosen from the various subjects."
A Scout earned his Star Award by earning just five merit badges, being a First Class Scout and appearing before an examining committee. For Life, a Scout had to qualify for ten merit badges and be a First Class Scout. However, he had to earn the First Aid merit badge, which required six months service since becoming a First Class, and the Physical Development merit badge (which also required six months to earn) or Athletics. In addition, he had to earn Personal Health, Public Health, and Life Saving or Pioneering.
First Eagle Scouts in Texas
Merrem is buried in the Sam Marcos Cemetery in San Marcos, TX, having passed away on June 29, 1982. A plaque that commemorates his accomplishment is posted at his grave. He served in Marine Corps and was a pilot in World War I. His obituary can be read HERE.
Here is what he had to say in a story he wrote for The Southwestern Scout, published in January 1914:
"In May, 1912, when I was fifteen years of age, a local troop of Boy Scouts was organized here (in Shiner, TX) and I became a charter member. The motto, 'Be Prepared.' became my watchword, and it was the height of my ambition to work my way up in the greatest movement ever started for the elevation of the American boy.
"By close application and devoting my spare time to scout work I was the first of our troop to pass as a 'first class scout' and was soon appointed patrol leader; it was then that I became ambitious to become an 'Eagle Scout.' I adopted 'I Will' as my slogan, went into each detail heart and soul and what at first appeared to be insurmountable obstacles were gradually overcome; and in June this year (1913) I was created an 'Eagle Scout,' the first west of the Mississippi River.
"To those of my comrades who are ambitious to win the 'Eagle badges I will say, 'Go in to win.' A little grit, determination, perseverance and close application to the scout manual will finally win out, and when you are called upon to stand the test you will 'Be Prepared.'"
According to the Dallas Morning News, dated May 24, 1914, Richard Kimmons and Winguit Turner, both of Dallas, were the second and third Eagle Scouts, to have gained that distinction, along the lone boy this side of the Mississippi River. There were but ninety Eagle Scouts throughout the United States.
For more information on the first Eagle Scout go to: Arthur Rose Eldred
For the Eagle list of a specific council, just click on the name below:
Trail Council Eagle Scout List |
Last Updated: January 5, 2012