Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 28, 2010

Notebook dates to early days of scouting

TRAVERSE CITY — Janet Ruggles uncovered a piece of scouting memorabilia that pre-dates the 100 year history of the Boy Scouts of America.

While looking through some family papers kept in her mother's cedar chest she came upon a notebook, handwritten by her grandfather's brother, Alexander Scott.

Scott, born in 1896, was a Scout soon after Robert Baden Powell started the organization for boys in England.

"I'm thinking the book is from around 1907, the first year that scouting was introduced," said Ruggles, noting that the notebook is similar to a scouting handbook, but written in her relative's script. His address, 25 Howe Street, Hebburn, England is on the first page.

The 50 page document includes map signs, needle and mirror signals, hints on scouting, Morse code, how to build a tent and the motto, "Be Prepared."

"It didn't take long to realize this was a scouting book, though some of it seems to be based on military teachings," said Ruggles, who found many of the scouting hints to be amusing. Some of her favorites include:

-- "Never stand on a hill top to look around, if compelled to cross one, crawl over it."

-- "A Scout smiles and whistles."

-- "Have a schilling in the bank."

-- "A Scout is a brother to another Scout no matter what social class he belongs to."

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