Thursday, November 1, 2007

Researching Bellairs the Boy Scout

BSA Troop 112
In a 1990 article with the Haverhill Eagle-Tribune, when asked about his childhood, John Bellairs noted he was somewhat of a loner until he made some "lifelong friends in the Boy Scouts."

We know John was a member of Marshall Boy Scout Troop 112 in 1951, and some of his Scouting experiences snuck into his books over the years. Take the story of Johnny Dixon, also a member of Troop 112: he goes off to Scout camp and also meets a lifelong friend in Byron Ferguson [The Mummy, the Will and the Crypt]. Camp Chocorua was probably influenced by his attendance at Camp T. Ben Johnston on Sherman Lake outside Augusta, Michigan, itself about 8 miles west of Battle Creek.

As to what rank Bellairs earned, we asked the BSA Southwest Michigan Council office if they could provide us any details. Their records show John earned his Tenderfoot badge in January 1951, shortly after joining the troop, and he then earned his Second Class badge in July. During the 1952-53 program year John was an Explorer in the troop where he remained until January 1954. At that time he transferred to Explorer Post 63, still at Second Class.

The Scout office, however, found nothing in their archives about Post 63. We were curious if anyone had any knowledge or memories about the Calhoun County-based Explorer Post. Also, anyone with fond memories of Camp T. Ben Johnston?


Anonymous said...

Spent 12 years at "T" Ben, from 1966-1978. Many memories and stories.

Anonymous said...

Explorer Posts were usually sponsored by an organization or business, & were often more career oriented than Scout Troops.

I was at "T. Ben" in the early & mid '60s, & our Troop also stayed in the cabins in the winter. The site was quite hilly & heavily wooded, with a large & rapacious racoon population that were not afraid of us, often going right into our tents if we had food.

My brother ran the daycamp there in the late '70s & early '80s.

The mess hall had a neat totem pole of T. Ben, his wife, & 3 assistants. When the camp was sold to the YMCA all the old buildings were torn down & no one seems to know what happened to the totem pole.