Liz Whitney John Winstead Phil Clancey Ryan Merole Gary Frohnhoefer Lisa Clancey Cheryl Merole
History of Troop 10 - Fairfield, CT
LORD BADEN-POWELL’S MOVEMENT, begun in Great Britain in 1908, was brought to the United States in 1910, and two years later the Reverend J. MacLaren Richardson, then pastor, introduced Scouting to the First Presbyterian Church. Nine other troops had been formed in Bridgeport. Troop 10 was organized on December 6, 1912, with ten charter members. The Reverend Richardson served as Chairman of the initial Troop Committee. Mr. Robert Cunningham, an upholsterer, was our first scoutmaster, and Charles W. Paul was scribe. Also serving on the troop committee were Neil Muirhead and Sunday School Superintendent Walter J. Baird.
In the summer of 1913, Troop 10 had its first camping experience at Pine Rock Park. This particular breed of men and boys was a rugged group. Among the projects listed was a hike to Hartford!
During the First World War, John C. B. Storrs, a Scotsman, employed by the American Gramophone Company, became a scoutmaster of Troop 10. John Storrs had been a member of the Territorial Army of Great Britain. In 1918, Troop 10 held a record in the City of Bridgeport for selling the most Liberty Bonds of any civic group. During that era, lawns were plowed up and turned into potato fields. Troop 10 had its own potato field. Espirit de corps and pride in the troop must have been at an all time high. John Storrs later became Assistant Deputy Commissioner in the local Scout Council. Burton R. Andrus, a pattern maker at Gregory’s Job Shop, and graduate of the Springfield Industrial Institute, became Scoutmaster.By 1923 a Mother’s Auxiliary had been organized for Troop 10, and the Mother’s Auxiliary initiated the first annual Parent Banquet that year. The troop waited on tables at the Men’s Class Supper, although the Presby Men’s Class had not yet become sponsor of the troop. Troop 10 first began to use the church basement for their headquarters in 1933. On March 19, 1934, the first annual Father-and-Son Banquet was held and, on March 13, 1935, the Presby Men’s Bible Class was registered as the sponsor of the troop.
These were the years when James H. “Pop” Haigh began his long and faithful record of service with the troop, serving in one capacity or another for almost thirty years, as a scoutmaster, assistant, troop committee man, and first-class fundraiser. In the basement of the church, Pop’s Hobby Shop came into being, and here this grand old man of scouting imparted to two generations of scouts his knowledge of a score of merit badge skills.
In the troubled year immediately before World War II, the Emergency Service patrol represented civilian defense. Troop 10 enlisted in the patriotic work and between 1940 and 1942 was stationed, intermittently, at Beardsley School in an around-the-clock vigil, helping to enforce blackouts and participate in activities that later became grouped under the agency of Civil Defense. These were also years when the older members of the troop exchanged a scout uniform for the uniform of a branch of the military service.The years following World War II saw a resurgence of scouting. In 1957 three members of our troop were cited for valiant endeavor by the City Fathers when, returning from a hike, they sighted a brush fire near the entrance of Beardsley Park and extinguished it. The heroes of this occasion were members of Explorer Scout Post 10, an innovation in scouting. It was the custom for the troop to camp out on the Bridgeport City Hall Green at some time during the month of February, and for three years in a row, 1958-1960, the troop was driven indoors by the severity of the weather, taking refuge in their first home, the church gymnasium. In October 1960, more than six thousand boy scouts and two thousand scout leaders of the area conducted a Liberty Bell Campaign, encouraging voters to exercise the privilege of voting.
In 1962, the church was razed in order to allow the construction of Interstate 95. A new church building was to be built on Route 59 in Fairfield. In the interim, with no place to gather, scout meetings were held in the basement of the home of their Scoutmaster, Robert E.(Bob) Myers. In 1965, the construction of the First Presbyterian Church of Fairfield was complete, and it has been the meeting place of Troop 10 ever since.
Bob Myers had joined Troop 10 in 1954. Bob has remained a very active and inspirational leader for 56 years, including nineteen years as a scoutmaster. Bob has twice received the Key Peg Award, an honor established in 1962 and announced annually to recognize the winners for their outstanding service contribution to Troop 10.
There have been seven scoutmasters between 1990 and 2015: Tom Cunningham, Deno Gualtieri, Fred Finch, Tom Pabis, James (Jim) Callahan, Dan Cassette and current Scoutmaster Phil Clancey. These men and the loyal volunteers on the troop committee give their time and effort to Troop 10 even when most of their sons have long ago graduated from the troop.
Still proudly sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church Bible Class, today’s troop can boast 100+ years of continuous service. Over the years, uniforms have changed, leadership has changed, and you probably won’t see any members of Troop 10 sleeping outside the Bridgeport City Hall. However, you will see them outdoors helping clean up the church grounds each fall and spring, supporting community service efforts such as the Red Cross and American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, and working together on Eagle projects all over Fairfield County.
In 100+ years of existence, over 1800 boys, men, and women have registered with Troop 10 of Fairfield and have been active in promoting the philosophy and sharing the spirit of Boy Scouting as it was originally envisioned in the eyes of Lord Baden-Powell all those years ago.