In late 1943 and early 1944 Charles W. Woodson, Potawatomi Area Council Executive, conferred frequently with William G Hoffman, then Samoset Council Executive and Adviser to Area P of the Order of the Arrow, about starting a lodge in our council. Application for a lodge charter was submitted and approved by the National Council on October 21, 1944, with the number 280 being designated for the Potawatomi Area Lodge.
National Council expressed concern because of the similarity between the spelling of the Potawatome Lodge #63 of Bloomington, Illinois and the Potawattomi Lodge #122 of Chicago Heights, Illinois.
Dr. Vince Batha suggested the name “Wag-O-Shag” which was derived from the word “Waugooshance”. Waugooshance, in the tongue of the Potawatomi Indians, meant “little foxes”. At that time, early 1800’s, many foxes inhabited the area and it was also the totem of the local Indian tribe. Waugooshance was also a favorite name with the Indians for crooked rivers, whose winding resembled the eccentric trail of the cunning animals whose name they bore.
Original charter members were: Charles W Woodson, Dr. James Christiansen, Dr. Vince Batha, Robert Jansky, Barton Rodgers, James Huber, Rudolph Timmel, Fritz Grover, Eugene Radke, and Ronald Johnson.
The first lodge officers were: Charles W Woodson, Adviser, who appointed the following: Ronald Johnson, Lodge Chief; James Huber, Scribe; Fred Grover, Treasurer.
The lodge participated with Mikano Lodge #231 at first until we became fully operational. The first lodge tapout took place at Indian Mound Reservation during summer camp periods. During the summer of 1945, 12 senior scouts and adults were tapped out by our ritual team. Ordeal was then completed while still in camp.
The following year the Long Lake property was opened for summer camp. At the first tapout all current Ku-Ni-Eh members were officially made Wag-O-Shag members. At that time all O.A. ceremonies were held at its secret campfire location off the camp property and was eventually completed with a concrete altar.
Over the years the lodge has always been the leader at Area and Sectional Meetings as well as the National Order of the Arrow Conferences.
The Wag-O-Shag Lodge has done an all out effort to improve and promote Camp Long Lake as well. Some buildings at Camp Long Lake were built by the O.A., such as, 2 Adirondack shelters which were later screened in, the original dining shelter – a log cabin, which was originally intended to be half its present size, and serve as the O.A. office during summer camp and a storage building for O.A. equipment during the rest of the year.
All in all the Wag-O-Shag Lodge truly exemplifies what the Order of the Arrow is really about.
With the coming of the early 1930s and a lack of knowledge on the part of the council regarding Ku-Ni-Eh, Ku-Ni-Eh gradually took over as the honor camper society. Ku-Ni-Eh offered more secret rituals, local clans, dedication to the Scouting program, promote camping, and an embroidered patch worn on the right sleeve of the Scout uniform. It should be also noted that at this time Ku-Ni-Eh had a far greater membership than the OA. The National Council finally banned the Ku-Ni-Eh in 1948.
Before we became Potawatomi Area Council we were part of the old Indian Trails Council in Janesville, WI. The honor camper society was called the “Order of the Links”. Membership was bestowed upon nomination by your peers and successful completion of an initiation. The symbol of membership in the society was by the wearing of a single link of chain on the Scout uniform. Secret rituals were used.
Copied from the article by Paul Fisher in the program for the 40th Anniversary Dinner
For more information, please consult our Lodge History Book: