As GSL Troop 34 continues to celebrate its 100 year anniversary, we’ll offer insight into what a wonderful asset this troop has been to GSL’s youth over the years. Dan Eason was Scout master from 1995-2002 & 2006-2013 and Jim Martin from 2014 to present.
Lucy: From your reading and research, what was scouting like in its early days?
Jim: In the scout archives that I’ve gone through, there is an article from the Commercial Appeal dated September 26, 1922, in which the leaders describe activities at the time, including a patrol at the Crippled Children’s Hospital. There was a big conference at the Gayoso Hotel back in the day. We have a 1944 certificate from the US Treasury Department for patriotic cooperation rendered where the troop helped to sale war bonds.
Lucy: Many think Troop 34 started at GSL, but that’s not the case. Can you expand on this?
Jim: Troop 34 began at Calvary Episcopal Church in November 1920 (through 1932). They spent one year at Bellevue Baptist and then moved to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in 1933.
Lucy: Troop 34 has long been referred to as “The Eagle’s Nest.” Why is that?
Dan: This is because of the high number of our scouts who stay and get Eagle. We have had high success rates over the years.
Jim: The first Troop 34 Eagle scout was in October 1924, J. J. Nix. The sixth was S. Shepherd Tate in 1931.
Lucy: Mr. Tate celebrated his 100th birthday at GSL in 2017. He proudly wore his Eagle Scout ring. Visit gracestlukes.org/news/happy-100th-birthday-s-shepherd-shep-tate to read more about this wonderful day at GSL.
Watch future Messengers and this webpage for more updates throughout the year.
Grace-St. Luke’s Troop 34 is 100 years old.
Several thousand campfires ago, Troop 34 was chartered at “Calvary Protestant Episcopal Church” on November 16, 1920. After a few years there and a short one-year stint at Bellevue Baptist Church, the troop pitched its tent at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, now Grace-St. Luke’s, on the corner of Peabody and Lemaster in 1933 and has been here ever since—the longest continually chartered and operating troop in the Chickasaw Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
The first scoutmaster at Calvary was Gwynne Lockwood. The current scoutmaster at Grace-St. Luke’s—in his eighth rock-solid year in that role—is Jim Martin. There have been 22 scoutmasters. Some served briefly as interims in time of transition, some were legendary.
Alvan Tate served for 13 years. George Clarke, Sr., served three times for a total of 12 years. His son, George Clarke, Jr., served twice for a total of six years. I followed George after he asked me to join him for a beer. “Guess who the next scoutmaster is,” he said. Dan Eason followed me. I only had the job for two years. Dan had it for seven years—the first time—and another seven years the second time.
All of them, from interim to legend, would tell you the same two things: One, as tough as the job is there is none more rewarding. Two, the job has nothing to do with your leadership and everything to do with growing leadership.
Scouts lead. Adults point the way, and get out of their way.
As a scout, it’s up to you.
If the food you make is inedible, you and your fellow scouts don’t eat. If you pitch your tent in the wrong place, you and your tentmate are going to get wet. When you do those things, you don’t do them again.
If you don’t pull together and with purpose, canoes—and patrols, and troops—don’t get where they’re supposed to go. If you don’t reach down to help, no one else climbs up.
From those things and a thousand others you learn to do, you learn to work together, and you learn to lead.
That principle and the application of it in principle has earned Troop 34 the nickname of Eagles Nest, in recognition of the hundreds of Eagle Scouts who wore 34 on their sleeves—my son Gaines being one, just about everyone in his patrol being several more.
There is no better example of what Troop 34 has meant than a memorial article in The Daily Memphian by my colleague Tom Bailey about Bill Deupree who died just before Christmas. Bill was on the founding team of Morgan Keegan, a nationally known and respected financial mind, and a generous Memphis philanthropist.
When asked about Bill, his lifelong friend Henry Turley—who has led the way in shaping and changing Downtown Memphis into what we see today—cited their time together in Troop 34 and the Flying Eagles Patrol. He remembered Bill’s fierce performance in the patrol’s water boiling competition against other troops. He said the dedication and innovation he saw in Bill then was indicative of what he would become and inspire.
Just another couple of Troop 34 scouts building a fire, just like they have for 100 years.
Just like boys and girls will use that light to build the next 100 years.
The Scout Lodge on Peabody is a living, working museum of Troop 34 past and present. If you don’t know where it is or you’d like to know what you can do to help them in what they do, just ask a 34 scout.
They’ll lead the way.
Early Troop Documents
Images Below: Trophies, WWII Certificate
1944 WWII War Finance Certificate from US Treasury
1937 Cup, Armistice Day Parade, Best Unit
1938 Cup, Armistice Day Parade, Best Unit
1947 Fire Prevention Parade, 1st Award