By Douglas Aykroyd
The founding of Hamptons' Boy Scout Troop 177
On the 1st of March 2011, Ansell Palmer passed away after a long illness. He was the last known survivor of a special group of Hampton men and youth who got together in February of 1933 to begin Boy Scout Troop 177. The group was led by Committee Chairman Harley R. Nelson, the pastor of the First Baptist Church, who had previously been the Scoutmaster of Troop 6 in Haverhill, Massachusetts. The First Baptist Church was the chartering organization. Assisting him in this effort was Scoutmaster Robert M. Ford who had earned his Eagle award two years earlier in Newbury, Massachusetts. In addition to the adults on the request for charter, there were 11 new Scouts: James A. Brodie, Thomas E. Clay, Malcolm 0. Carlson, Ashton J. Norton, George R. Janvrin, Kenneth Meader, Kendall Sprague, Arthur L. Roy, Arnold B. Palmer, Ansell W. Palmer, and William F. Pierce. They began as Tenderfoot in February, but by the end of April, over half had earned Second Class. Over two thirds were First Class by the end of September. Scout Ansell Palmer maintained this accelerated advancement pace.
Ansell left Hampton to serve his country in the Navy in World War II and went on from there to the University of New Hampshire. Following graduation, he worked for 30 years for General Electric as an engineer. Once he retired he had much more time to give back to his home town. He served as a selectman from 1985 to 1988 and was president of the Hampton Historical Society from 1991 to 1993. He led the effort to save the James House, volunteered at the SPCA, served as a warden for the First Congregational Church, and worked on community celebrations like the 325th and 350th town anniversaries and Old Home Days.
As active as he was, he always held a special place for Troop 177, frequently attending courts of honor to celebrate the accomplishments of the troop and its Scouts. On the street, in the store, or at church he was always happy to offer his left hand to extend the special greeting shared by Scouts around the world.