Dan Beard remembers his child friends including Ralph Hemingray

[Trade Journal]

Publication: Boys' Life

New York, NY, United States
vol. 24, no. 11, p. 25, 52, col. 1-3






SAY, boys, I am dizzy. Been swinging around the circle and circling around the swing so much in the last few days that it makes my head swim. I am dictating this in our camp in the forests of Pennsylvania, where everything is quiet. The boys have all gone home and nothing disturbs us but the whistling of the deer in the daytime and the hooting of the barred owl at night, and the scampering of the flying squirrels amid the rafters overhead. It is very restful here, and we certainly need the rest, for my brain is still in a whirl. When I close my eyes I see before me all that array of young artisans displaying their wonderful little jewels or model coaches in competition for the grand scholarship prizes of the Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild. Scouts from the far North in Canada, Scouts from our Southern and Eastern States, each bringing self-made, fairy coach for the competition. The workmanship on these delicate little vehicles proves conclusively that our Scouts are skillful, not only with the log cabins which I have taught them to build. Not only in making noggins of burls cut from the forest trees, or making ditty bags and neckerchief slides from diagrams in BOYS' LIFE, but also in doing work as dainty and as skillful in metal, wood and cloth as did the artists and craftsmen in the olden days when kings stooped to pick up the brushes for artists, and pope and emperors entertained the craftsmen.




Among those present seventy-odd years ago, left to right, General Lew Wallace, commander of the troops; Capt. James H. Beard, artist, on Lew Wallace's staff; Capt. T. Buchanon Reed, author of "Sheridan's Ride," on Lew Wallace's staff; Dan Beard, confidential adviser of the general, and orderly in command of the field hospital.


All of which boys, proves or verifies what your National Scout Commissioner has constantly claimed, that the big outdoors develops the intellect, gives self-reliance to the character and skill to the fingers. A boy who can make a noggin out of the burl from a white oak tree, and give it a wonderful polish, like the one that hangs at my belt, can also build one of those coaches, for skill is skill and art is art, and both must have a natural kindergarten training.




Where the pump stand at which General Lew Wallace made his toilet before ringing the front door bell.


But, every new bunch of my boys I rub up against makes me more enthusiastic and more energetic in booming our great Scout Movement. At Buffalo, the Scouts were great. At Parkersburg, West Virginia, they were as fine a lot of Scouts as I have ever met; and when I recently rode on the box of a Dead Wood Stage through the avenues of the Chicago World's Fair, the Scouts that lined the driveways, the Scouts that were inside the stage, the Scouts that were in the "covered" wagon, were a most inspiring lot of boys. They whooped and grinned with glee every time the old-time, long-haired Buckskin Scout, who rode in front of the stage coach, fired his six guns into the air.




"The early boyhood home of Daniel Carter Beard, National Scout Commissioner, Boy Scouts of America, was spent in this house."


The Scouts that I met at the Fisher Body Contest were artists, every one of them. They were a brilliant body of boys. The Cincinnati, Dayton and Zanesville Scouts are as fine boys as the make them.

Of course, this means a splendid lot of scoutmasters and an efficient lot of Scout Executives. But, as I have often said before, our Scout Executives form a unique band of men. I doubt if any organization religious, educational or political can equal them in ability, enthusiasm and ethical stamina hold on! I forgot I was talking to you boys. What I meant to say that our executives are a lot of square shooters and bright men.




This Scout is wearing a self-made Indian outfit which equals any made by the Red Men themselves.


Mr. Fisher, of the Fisher Body Company, and his officials; Mr. Rufus C. Dawes, President of the Century of Progress Exposition and brother of General Dawes: the Mayors and Governors of all the States in that section, are all proud to line themselves up with the Boy Scouts. Mr. Howard S. Gillette, the Commander of the Sea Scouts, with his natty white nautical cap, white trousers and blue and silver trimmed coat, made a striking figure on the Fair grounds, and his splendid band of Sea Scouts are something of which to be proud. They met us at the station upon our arrival.




Above is the tablet placed on the house. On either side is the Dan Beard Medal, left showing the face and right the reverse


NO wonder my head is a whirl. Rushing through the streets of Chicago, escorted by motor-cycle policemen, blowing their whistles and holding up traffic! Dashing through the streets of Cincinnati, the place of my birth, in the same manner. Flashing by the red limits holding up traffic is an exciting game for a youth of my tender age, but the real thrills I got were riding on the Dead Wood stage at the World's Fair and driving the Covered Wagon in Kentucky. The thrills came from a realization of the fact that WE, the Boy Scouts of America, are now preserving, for future generations, the pioneer folk lore, the real pioneer history, and the best of all the real pioneer spirit of that grand race of people whose moccasin tracks marked the path for the glistening rails and broad highways; the dead embers of whose camp fires marked the sites of our cities; while the courses traced by their canoes are now followed by modern steamboats; and every train, every boat is carrying Scouts and spreading the gospel of usefulness to the world, preaching CONSTRUCTION in place of DESTRUCTION!




"The Swimming Hole," Band Lick, from a rare engraving, is shown on the left


Several times I have told you boys how I acted as the orderly in charge of a hospital in a vacant dwelling house back of the lines during the Civil War, where I attended the sick and wounded, unaided. This may give a wrong impression. There was no battle Fought at Covington, but Confederate General Kirby Smith was somewhere in front of us, behind the belt of woods along the shores of Bank Lick, and our batteries and the big cannons from the forts, as well as the infantry, often fired at those suspicious forests. Of course, there was a number of casualties. Men on picket duty were wounded in skirmishes, and men everywhere got sick. My pet patient had bayonet hole through his thigh, and the antisceptic I used was a palm leaf fan, to keep the flies off the wound, and the patient recovered.




On the right note the packs, all fastened with the famous diamond hitch from diagram I made for BOY'S LIFE


No Man's Land was the "commons" of grass covered meadows between the fortification and the wooded shores of Bank Lick, and this was dangerous ground, Because our forts and our rifle pits often sent both bullets and cannon balls hurtling across it. Not infrequently our gang of Daniel Boone Scouts heard the whistling and singing of the minnie balls over their head as they crept along the swale.

No, thank goodness there were no battles: but often the fire bells bellowed the alarm and the long roll beat on the drums, sending the troops double quick into the rifle pits and the artillery dashing up the old Lexington Pike. It furnished plenty of excitement and thrills to the boys of the Boone Scouts, who are now the Grandfathers or Great-grandfathers of the splendid Boy Scouts of America who were gathered at the Camporal back of Covington.

It is funny how time shrinks things. When they were building; the Roebling Bridge across from Covington to Cincinnati, and had stretched a frail cobweb from the top of one pier to the other, precariously supporting a one-plank suspension bridge, I walked across it while it waved and swung in a most alarming manner. I was only a boy. and I thought I was mighty high up in the world, but bless my soul! How that bridge has shrunk! The towers no longer look high, the Ohio no longer looks broad, the Licking River, looks like a muddy creek

But there is one thing that has not shrunk. It grows larger and larger as time goes on. And that is our veneration for the nobility, courage and perseverance of the old pioneers who settled this country, and the young pioneers of to-day, the Boy Scouts of America, who are taking their places and emulating their achievements.

AS I stood on the high banks of the Licking River and saw them unveil the tablet, of bronze which tells the world that that house is where your National Scout Commissioner lived when he was a young boy like YOU, it was difficult for me to realize that I was not still a boy. I looked around for my pet crow, which should have been hopping along the rail of the fence. The house was there, much as it used to be. But there were not there any of the mischievous but lovable boys I used to know. I listened in vain to hear the familiar call, "Whoo-ah! Whoo-ah! Whoo-ah! Dan Beard!", and looked in vain to see Will Benton, Frank Woodall, Harry Lendrum, Monkey Scholes, Ralph Hemingray, Doc Thomas or Daddy Kyle holding up two fingers, which in our sign language of that day meant, "Come and go swimming."

They tell me that two of the little girls I once knew (they are now aged ladies) stood on the opposite side of the street, watching the ceremonies; but as Rip Van Winkle might say, my dog ''Snider" was not there to greet me. The cistern where I took General Lew Wallace to wash up, and where I gave him a broken glass to look in while he combed his hair, is hidden under a flat paving stone. But the eternal spirit of the American Boy still exists and, in spite of what some people say, the boys of to-day are much better than the boys of yesterday largely due to the influence of our great Scout Organization, although loyalty to my old gang, compels me to make an exception in their favor.

I wish the Scouts east of the Allegheny Mountains could have been with us, and formed part of the parade which Mr. Waller W. Head, our President, and your National Scout Commissioner reviewed as the Scouts marched by my old boyhood home. They tell me that the parade took an hour to pass.

It was a wonderful privilege for Mr. Head and your National Scout Commissioner to be permitted to congratulate Thomas Farris of Richmond, Kentucky, upon winning the Dan Beard Memorial Medal which goes each year to the best all-around boy in Kentucky. This Madison County Boy Scout who won the much coveted token, as the outstanding boy of ALL Kentucky, brought great honor to the Blue Grass region.

The Medal was endowed by George Dupont Pratt, Treasurer of the Boy Scouts of America, for a hundred years, and each year one goes to the Kentucky boy voted by the jury of the Governor's Committee to lead in civiv virtues. The medal was inaugurated by Colonel Keith Evans, Governor Laffoon and Ex-Governor Sampson of Kentucky; Governor Pinchot of Pennsylvania; Charles Dana Gibson, the famous artist; Barron Collier, of the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America, and Mr. Pratt.

NOW let me put in a BUT But, there is one thing I forgot to say, when congratulating Scout Farris, and that is, that every winner of the Dan Beard Medal for Civic Virtue should plant a walnut from Boonesborough in some park designated by the Governor or his Scout Executive, and thus start a Memorial Grove.

On account of my extreme youth (?), the first medal was presented to me. The second medal was presented to Scout Shepherd Musson. That means that there should be two trees already growing, and the walnut from Boonesborough, with the green husk still on it, should be planted this fall for the third tree. This will link old Daniel Boone up with us boys of to-day! This is a great country and our Scout Movement is the



Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:May 14, 2011 by: Bob Stahr;