Eagle Scouts have been hatched for more than a century within the youth-developing nest that it the Boy Scouts of America. They’re a rare bird even in 2015 – only 6 percent of Scouts reach the rank.
But in September of 1912, there was only one Eagle Scout.
His name was Arthur Rose Eldred, and at 17-years-old he faced a board of review boasting the Boy Scouts of America’s founders, including Ernest Thompson Seton and Daniel Carter Beard. He received the Eagle Scout rank on September 2, 1912. (Eldred actually found out he would be receiving the honor on August 31, but the Eagle Scout medal was still being designed.)
Almost dubbed Wolf Scout, the Eagle Scout rank only marked part of Eldred’s incredible accomplishments.
The month before he was due to receive the honor, Eldred helped rescue a fellow Scout from drowning. His bravery secured him the Honor Medal.
Eldred went on to graduate from Cornell University, join the Navy, serve in World War I, and establish himself as an agricultural and railroad industry executive.
Throughout his life, Eldred continued his dedication to Scouting. He served on Eagle Scouts’ boards of review and was the troop committee chairman for Troop 77 in New Jersey.
His groundbreaking Eagle Scout rank marked the path more than two million young men would follow. Even in his own family, the four generations that followed Eldred secured the rank.
Now, astronauts, politicians, movie stars, a president, and leaders who shake up the world as we know it can say they’ve earned Eagle Scout. But before them all came Eagle Scout Arthur Rose Eldred.
Learn more about what it takes for a young man to become an Eagle by reading about Eagle Scout requirements.