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Scout Letter

Message from Mallory Stephens

Subject: Reminiscences of the Boy Scouts of America Brewster Troop One

My recollections of the Boy Scouts of America, Brewster Troop, are from seventy years ago and may not be totally accurate, but here goes.

The first scoutmaster that I remember was J. Wellington Truran (of the Brewster Truran Family). He was known to the students as “Wimpy”.

He was the science teacher for the Brewster School (grades six through twelve).

My brother,Willis H. Stephens, Eddie and Jimmy Collins (fraternal twins) who lived on Center Street were members of the troop.

My brother was given the choice of “behaving or leaving”. He chose to leave. It’s my understanding the Collins twins were asked to leave.

When I joined in 1942 ,the scoutmaster was William Henthorne, an antique dealer, who lived on Route 6 in Drewville just west of Mastrangelo’s restaurant ( later named Tom’s restaurant and now the Southeast Grill).

He was a tall, easy going man with a moustache.

I don’t think there were more than ten or twelve members, but at most meetings there were only three or four.

Some of the members were Leslie Churchill, Richard Johnston,? Alex Sinclair,? Bob Sinclair.

Occasionally on Saturdays we would work for the war effort collecting scrap metal old tires, cooking grease, aluminum foil, etc.

I think the next Scoutmaster might have been Mr. Podewils (? spelling).

After Mr. Truran retired, there was a vacancy for one or two years during which there were several temporary science teachers including the principal, Herman Donnelly,until Mr. Podewils arrived.

On Saturdays he would take two or three students on hikes.

We walked all around Marvin’s Mountain looking at the mine entrance the first time.

On subsequent hikes we would start on Marvin’s Mtn.and then walk along the ridge south as far down as Croton falls looking at other mine holes and the large rusted smelters used to melt the iron ore ( ? Bessemer Process).

It was a wonderful way to spend the day and learn a little bit about the old mines.

As I remember, to pass the cooking merit badge one had to prepare and serve a four course meal (appetizer or soup, salad, main course consisting of meat or fish potatoes and vegetables,and dessert).

I had three fires all burning at the same time and was very busy.

Mr. Henthorne was there to pass or fail on this venture and also my friend, Charlie Bruno, whom I had invited.

Charlie, who was always a hellraiser, had previously suggested that my chances of passing would be better if we served some wine with dinner. Although it was against the rules, we offered Mr.Henthorne a red wine several times before we started to eat and finally he accepted.

Charlie kept his glass full while I served the food and we all ate.

After the rather average meal was over, Mr. Henthorne got up and with a slight stagger walked off proclaiming what a fine meal and repast he had just enjoyed.

As soon as he was out of earshot Charlie turned to me and said ” If he thought that was a good meal, his wife must be a terrible cook!”

Hope this is helpful.

Mallory Stephens,
Life Scout (1945)

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