Eagle Scouts

From 1910 to 1914, no specific merit badges were required for Eagle Scout, nor was being a Life Scout or Star Scout a requirement. A First Class Scout could go directly to Eagle Scout by earning any 21 merit badges (none of which had to be among the five required for Life Scout). Arthur R. Eldred (pictured on right) was the first Eagle Scout, having received the award on Labor Day in 1912.  He actually finished the requirements for the award in May 1912, but being as they had not made the medal yet, it was not presented to him until Labor Day. He was about 17 at the time.

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

There was just one Eagle Scout from Texas in 1913 (There were only 54 in the entire country that year) W. E. Merrem of Shiner, Texas. He was Eagle Scout number 37th in National BSA history. There were only 19 Eagles awarded in 1912 and none in 1910 or 1911. His medal would have been the Foley variety of which only about 350 were awarded between 1912-1915 when the company went out of business and Dieges & Clust started making them.  Merrem was the 18th person in 1913 to receive the Eagle Medal. In 1913 there were no Star or Life Scouts awarded in Texas. They were so few that everyone that got it was listed by name and city/state. If there were no Texas Eagle Scouts in 1912 then W.E. Merrem would be Texas very first Eagle Scout.  He is also the "First Eagle Scout West of the Mississippi River."

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.'"

Sincerely,
ELMO MERREM

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.

Requirements Changed

Later the requirements for Star, Life and Eagle were changed and additional required merit badges, community service and time requirements were added.  It was not until 1927 that Eagle Palms were added to the list of awards for Boy Scouts.  The Eagle Scout Award could be earned by adults until 1965.  In 1965, a requirement was added to Eagle that an Eagle Scout applicant must have served for at least six months in a youth leadership position since becoming a Life Scout.  Adults could not do this so they could no longer meet all the requirements for Eagle.

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:

| Buffalo Trail Council Eagle Scout List |
| Chisholm Trail Council Eagle Scout List |
 | Comanche Trail Council Eagle Scout List |
| Concho Valley Council Eagle Scout List |
| South Plains Council Eagle Scout List |
 | Texas Trails Council Eagle Scout List  |

Other Sites
| Home | National Eagle Scout Association |


Our thanks to David Eby for providing us the information on W. E. Merrem of Shiner, Texas.  Our thanks to the The Wolters Memorial Museum in Shiner, Texas, for provided with the information concerning W. E. Merrem.

Last Updated:  January 5, 2012

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