Charles Milton Heistand – September 18, 1897 – November 6, 1987
Charles M. “Chief” Heistand joined Scouting shortly after the organization was founded in the United States in 1910. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout and quickly went on to a career as a Scouting Professional. Prior to coming to the Chester County Council, Chief was the Scout Executive of the Oil City, PA Council and was recommended to Chester County Council by former Scout Executive (and later Chief Scout Executive) Arthur A. Schuck. Chief became the Scout Executive of Chester County Council in 1923 and served as the Program Director of the Council’s summer camp, Camp Rothrock. Seeking to improve the summer camp experience for the Scouts, Chief was intrigued by a program he had read about called the Wimachtendienk and in 1924, he contacted E. Urner Goodman, the founder of the Order of the Arrow, for more information about the program.
Greatly interested in the Order of the Arrow, Chief decided to introduce the program to Camp Rothrock in 1926. The Lodge #22 charter was approved on May 17, 1926 and nine new members were given their induction by Goodman. All nine were given both the First (Ordeal) and Second (Brotherhood) Degrees at Hilldale, a weekend campground of the council located along the Brandywine Creek. Chief was bestowed the Vigil Honor on October 29, 1926 at the 6th Meeting of the Grand Lodge at Camp Indiandale of the Reading Area Council and was given the name “Haschawige” which translated means “The Square One”.
Chief was instrumental in the decision to purchase the Horseshoe Farm and relocate the council’s summer camp program to that property along the Octoraro Creek in 1928. Chief also played a major role in the development of the new camp. Shortly after the property was acquired, Chief asked C.C. Cole, the first Camp Ranger, if there was a suitable area on the property for a ceremonial circle for Lodge 22. C.C. took Chief to a natural outcrop of rock that both men decided would be perfect for the purpose. That ceremonial circle is still in use today and is one of the most beautiful ceremonial sites in the country.
In 1929, Chief left Chester County Council to become the Scout Executive of the Queens Council in New York City. As the Scout Executive for the Queens Council, Chief also played a role in the founding of Suanhacky Lodge #49 in 1930. He later served as a region director for Region 2, succeeded Goodman as the National Program Director (a position in which he continued to encourage Councils across the nation to adopt the Order of the Arrow program) and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the National Order of the Arrow Committee in 1952. He served as Assistant Chief Scout Executive under Arthur A. Schuck before his retirement in 1962. Chief continued to serve for many years on the National Order of the Arrow Committee.
Chester County Council and Octoraro Lodge are deeply indebted to Chief Heistand for his leadership and foresight in the acquisition of the Horseshoe Scout Camp and the founding of Octoraro Lodge. Chief is interred at Mount Tunnel Cemetery in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.
Joseph Harlan Brinton – May 9, 1907 – September 13, 1992
Joseph Harlan “Joe” Brinton joined Scouting during the charter year of Chester County Council, 1919. At the time, he was a twelve year old boy who quickly grew into one of our finest Scouts. He earned his Eagle Scout rank on August 13, 1924 and was recruited by then Scout Executive and Camp Director, Chief Heistand to join him as his assistant at Camp Rothrock in 1926. The two were inseparable and together cemented the legacy of Chester County Scouting.
In May 1926, Joe and Chief, along with 7 other Scouts and Scouters were inducted into the Wimachtendienk in a ceremony conducted by E. Urner Goodman. That day, these 9 men were given the first and second degrees of the Brotherhood. Joe was chosen as our first Lodge Chief, a position he held in both 1926 and 1928. On October 29, 1926, Brinton was given the third degree (the Vigil Honor) at the 6th meeting of the Grand Lodge at Camp Indiandale of the Reading Area Council and was given the name “Woapsie” meaning “The White One”. The Council, the Camp and the Lodge flourished under his esteemed leadership.
Brinton, along with Heistand, left Chester County in 1929 to take positions within Queens Council in New York City. Joe’s service within the Scouting community continued through the 1930’s. His service on the National Order of the Arrow Committee blossomed during this time. He served as National Secretary in 1934 and National Chief from 1936 through 1938. It was under his leadership in 1938 where he announced the plans to divide the lodges of the Nation into 15 areas. He continued his service at the National level after his term as National Chief. He helped to establish the Distinguished Service Award in 1940 and became a recipient of that award in 1942.
During Joe’s distinguished professional Scouting career, he held the positions of Queens Borough Scout Executive, Director of Field Service and Assistant Scout Executive for the Greater New York Councils and later, Scout Executive of the Detroit Area Council until his retirement in 1971, where he returned to his home roots near Chester County.
It is an honor to have had the values and teaching of Chester County Scouting brought to the National level by such a dedicated man. He is a true representation of servant leadership and a legend to Octoraro Lodge.
In 2012, Octoraro Lodge introduced the Joseph H. Brinton Memorial Wipunquoak or “White Oak” Award to honor those Brothers who have exhibited strong character over a lifetime of Cheerful Service. Joe is buried in Longwood Cemetery, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
Benjamin James Thomas – February 12, 1877 – July 14, 1932
Benjamin James “Uncle Ben” Thomas became active in Chester County Scouting in the early days of the Council in 1919. He was Scoutmaster of Malvern Troop 1 (later, Malvern 7). He was on the Staff and both Camp Lafayette and Camp Rothrock.
Ben Thomas was our second lodge chief, leading the lodge in 1927. He was bestowed the Vigil Honor on October 15, 1927 at the 7th Meeting of the Grand Lodge at Camp Ranachqua in the Bronx and was given the name “Wingi” which means “A Guide”. Following his service to our Council, Ben served as the National Grand Lodge Secretary from 1930 until his resignation for health reasons in early 1931, as well as a member of the National Executive Committee for the Wimachtendienk. During his term as Secretary, Ben played a key role in the incorporation of Lenni Lenape lore into the ceremonies of the Brotherhood. It is important to note that at the time, many of the National Leaders of the Wimachtendienk were actually adults and Professional Scouters. Ben Thomas was both; at the same time he was Assistant Scout Executive in the Chester County Council, serving under “Chief” Heistand. While Ben Thomas was never recognized nationally for his efforts with the Grand Lodge, and the development of our Lodge, his contributions remain.
In 1933, the summer following his death, the Camp Horseshoe newspaper made reference to a “Wilderness Camp” and the fact that a number of Scouts and Leaders had been elected “officers” at the encampment. The site was Camp Horseshoe’s first camp set aside for the use of Scouts who wanted a special experience away from their stockade camps. The camp was given the name “Thomas” in honor of Ben Thomas. Camp Thomas was used by Senior Scouts and Explorers for some time thereafter. Uncle Ben is buried in Grange Friends Cemetery, Colerain, Ohio.
Carlton Louis Suplee – October 7, 1911 – May 1, 1986
Carlton Louis “Soup” Suplee, following his Scouting career, enrolled at Gettysburg College and joined the Alpha Tau Omega (ΑΤΩ) fraternity. He graduated in 1933 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and made his career as a Chemist with the Gulf Oil Corporation following his service in the United States Navy in WWII. During the 1940’s, he developed numerous patents through his work in the oil industry.
Later, he married Sarah Baldwin, a teacher in the Unionville-‐Chadds Ford School District. He was a Quaker and was very active with his church throughout his life. He is buried at the Quaker Friends Meeting in East Goshen.
George Raymond “Ray” Watson joined Scouting in 1924 with Troop 21 of West Chester and quickly became involved with the Council program. He joined the Camp Rothrock Staff in 1926 and continued to serve through the inaugural summer season at Camp Horseshoe in 1928.
Ray was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout on August 7, 1927 and was elected to serve the lodge as Chief in 1929. As a delegate to the first meeting of Region 3, he was bestowed the Vigil Honor at Camp Horseshoe on May 31, 1929 and was given the name “Nitis” which translates as “The Companion”. It is interesting to note that Ray, and fellow Charter Member, Tom Gillingham, were the first Brothers of Octoraro Lodge to keep their Vigil at the Horseshoe Scout Reservation.
Ray married Mildred Leona Wampler in 1938 and had 3 children. He was drafted in 1942 to serve in the United States Navy in WWII. Following the war, they made their home in Arlinton, VA where he continued to serve as LT (JG) in the US Navy. G. Raymond Watson was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.
Walter Clarence Burkey – July 7, 1905 – October 13, 1997
Walter Clarence “Walt” Burkey joined Scouting in 1922 with Malvern Troop 7 (led by fellow Charter Member Ben Thomas). He was a camper at both Camp Rothrock and Camp Horseshoe and earned the Rank of Eagle Scout on March 10, 1928.
He married Dorothy Sarah Gee and they had 2 sons (both Eagle Scouts in Willistown Troop 78). He had made his career as a Postal Clerk but was well known for his hobby as a beekeeper. Walt served proudly as a leader in Troop 78 where he was awarded the Silver Beaver Award in 1962. He was bestowed the Vigil Honor at Camp Horseshoe on April 29, 1979 where he was given the name “Amoe Nutiken” which means “Beekeeper”. He is buried in the Malvern Baptist Cemetery.
Thomas Ellwood Gillingham, Jr. – August 25, 1912 – April 24, 2004
Dr. Thomas Ellwood “Tom” Gillingham, Jr. joined Scouting in 1924 and became the first Eagle Scout in Oxford Troop 13 on October 18, 1926. He, along with fellow Charter Member Ray Watson, was bestowed the Vigil Honor at the first meeting of Region 3 held at Camp Horseshoe on May 31, 1929 and given the name “Weamgigan” which translates as “Too Big”. He served the Camp Horseshoe staff during its first summer in 1928 as Curator of the Camp Museum and served as Treasurer of Octoraro Lodge in 1929.
After graduating with honors from Harvard, he received his Masters’ Degree from the Univeristy of Arizona in 1936. He spent the next three years in the Far East working as a geologist.
While pursuing a Doctorate at the University of Minnesota, he married Barbara Sickels. His studies were interrupted by World War II where he served as a lieutenant in the Navy in the South Pacific under famed Admiral Thomas Kinkaid.
After the war, he finished his Ph.D. in mining engineering and moved his family to Kellogg, Idaho, where he was employed by Bunker Hill Mining Co. He returned to the East Coast in 1951 to work for the Atomic Energy Commission, followed by a position as Senior Vice President with Kennecott Mining Copper Co. in New Jersey.
Having developed a spirit of service to the community through his early formation as a Scout, Dr. Gillingham was a tireless servant of the Greater Oxford Area including positions with the Chester County Parks and Recreation Board, Oxford Library Board, Oxford School Board and Oxford Senior Center. He received numerous awards for outstanding civic duty in Oxford. He was laid to rest in Oxford Cemetery, Oxford, Pennsylvania.
C. Charles Schmidt
Quite little is known of C. Charles “Charley” Schmidt. He served on the Camp Rothrock Staff as Director of Program in 1926 under Joe Brinton and continued his work with the Council Camps through the inaugural season at Camp Horseshoe in 1928 where he served as Assistant Director Adjunct.
He was bestowed the Vigil Honor on October 15, 1927 at the 7th Meeting of the Grand Lodge at Camp Ranachqua in the Bronx and was given the name “Wullapejuwagan” which means “The Upright”.
OCTORARO LODGE MEMBERS CLASS OF 1926
There is a certain reverence that is often felt when we have the privilege of speaking about those Brothers who paved the way for Scouting and the Order in the very early days of our Council. Our Founding members are held in such high regard simply because they created a world in which we as a Lodge exist. They never intended to be immortalized. They just wanted to give the boys of Chester County the experience of the Scouting movement.
*CHARLES M. HEISTAND
*JOSEPH H. BRINTON
*BENJAMIN J. THOMAS
*G. RAYMOND WATSON
*THOMAS E. GILLINGHAM JR
*C. CHARLES SCHMIDT
*CARLTON L. SUPLEE
*WALTER C. BURKEY
FRANK K. BICKING
WILLIAM E. BROWN
CARROLL E. COX
GORDON J. CREE
WILLARD R. ELTON
CHARLES J. EZRA
WILLIAM K. HATHAWAY
RICHARD L. KRICK
WALTER S. MITCHELL
F.M. PATTERSON SR
F.M. PATTERSON JR
HORACE A. RIGG
JOHN L. ROMIG
GEORGE W. SLOAN JR
GEORGE L. SNYDER
EDWIN M. BLUMENTHAL
JOSEPH C. BRONSON
EARL H. BROWN
HARRY G. DASH JR
THOMAS W. FORNEY
ROBERT C. GORDON
GEORGE E. HALL
A. LEWIS HEISEY
JOHN D. HOOVER
J. REEDER HUEY
ROBERT LEE JACOBS
EUGENE L. KIBBE
LEHMAN E. OTTIS
MAURICE L. PETTIT
E. HARRISON RIGG
DONALD M. RINE
HAROLD J. SCHRAMM
KENNETH E. SOWDEN
WILLIAM D. TILEY
ROGER P. HOLLINGSWORTH