American Legion, SOUTH RICHMOND POST NO. 137

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SOUTH RICHMOND POST NO. 137

Richmond, Virginia

American Legion, 1924

South Richmond Post No. 137, American Legion, was chartered December 15, 1921, being the third of five posts now functioning in the City of Richmond. The Post operated under its temporary charter until July 11, 1924, when the permanent charter was presented with appropriate ceremonies.

Although less than three years old, South Richmond Post has occupied its own Post home since September 1, 1923, the property having been acquired six months previous, but possession was not obtained until a lease to a tenant expired. The building, while small, has been adequate and has been improved considerably through the activities of the Post and its Auxiliary unit. Larger quarters may be secured next year to meet the growth of the Post.

The plan under which the American Legion in Richmond operates today originated in South Richmond, but the movement for separate Posts in the geographical sub-divisions of the city was dormant for two years. In the meanwhile a Post had been formed at Union Theological Seminary, with students as members and the activities confined to the scholastic year only. Then the South Richmond Post was launched, to be followed later by North Richmond Post No. 38, and Church Hill Post No. 151, with a Central Council as an advisory or co-ordinating body for the four regular Posts.

Sixteen members signed the application for the temporary charter at a meeting in Hustings Court, Part 11, on November 22, 1921. Temporary officers elected were Charles E. Maurice, commander; Ernest Y. Hawkins, vice-commander; C. M. Bass, adjutant; Henry P. Johnson, finance officer; H. Ingram Taylor, historian; Littlepage Ingram, chaplain; W. J. Miles, sergeant-at-arms, and C. C. Frye, ,T. C. Duval, A. S. W right, F. B. Dunford, Jr., and B. L. Nicholas, executive committee. These officers were re-elected to serve for the year of 1922.

Officers for 1923 were: John E. Whitmyer, commander; Virgil R. Goode, vice-commander; Charles E. Maurice, adjutant; Henry P. Johnson, finance officer; C. M. Bass, chaplain; B. L. Nicholas, sergeant-at-arms ; E. Y. Hawkins, historian ; Nathan Bear, service officer, and Littlepage Ingram, Dr. Turner S. Shelton and F. B. Dunford, Jr., executive committee.

Officers for 1924, who are still serving, are Earle Lutz, commander; Charles E. Maurice, vice-commander; D. E. Easterly, adjutant; E. Y. Hawkins, service officer; F. B. Dunford, historian; C. C. Frye, chaplain; Leroy Redford, finance officer, and Dr. Turner S. Shelton, H. Ingram Taylor and Charles E. Robertson, executive committee.

South Richmond Post's representatives in the Central Council are Charles E. Maurice and Virgil Goode. Election to the Central Council is for a term of two years. Mr. Goode was first secretary of the council and Mr. Maurice is treasurer of the Legion Memorial Fund, also being grand correspondent of the Grand Voiture of Virginia, Les Societe des 40 Hommes and 8 Cheveaux.

Starting with a membership of sixteen, South Richmond Post had thirty-six paid-up members on the rolls at the 1922 convention. In 1923 South Richmond was accredited with seventy-eight members, and will go to the Danville convention in August with approximately 150 paid-up members. Average attendance at meetings in 1924, including July, has been fifty-two.

South Richmond Post unites with the other Richmond Posts in the observance of Memorial and Armistice Days as well as all civic movements. Yet the Post functions within its own community and has inaugurated the policy of observing Maury Memorial Day, the first Saturday in June of each year, and beginning with 1925 will take complete charge of the affair, including decoration of World War, Spanish-American War and Confederate and Federal graves. It is in Maury Cemetery that the only memorial in the City of Richmond to its World War dead has as yet been erected. This was unveiled on June 3, 1923, with South Richmond Post taking part in the ceremonies.

Among the goals set for South Richmond Post is the erection of a gymnasium for the boys and girls of its community and the establishment of a public park and athletic field. The Post and Auxiliary unit are ready to co-operate with other civic organizations at all times and are doing considerable work in relief of ex-service men and their families and in securing action on compensation claims. Action has been started to secure government markers for graves of South Richmond's World War dead and a cemetery plot will be secured for ex-service men in Maury Cemetery.

Regular meetings are held on the second Friday of each month, while special meetings are held on the fourth Friday of each month. The manual of ceremonies is used effectively and has been an aid to increasing interest in meetings. The initiation ceremony is also used regularly. At the Tune meeting the initiation was staged with the commanders of the other Richmond Posts and the chairman of the Central Council delivering the lectures. Department Commander John J. Wicker, Jr., personally installed the 1924 officers.

Three public ceremonies in the past year have created interest and have helped the American Legion make its ideals known more generally. The first of these was the presentation of a stand of colors to South Richmond Post by the City of Richmond, with Mayor George Ainslie and Department Commander Wicker as the speakers. Earle Lutz presided at the meeting and Vice-Commander Virgil R. Goode made the speech of acceptance. A color guard of four high school cadets made the physical transfer of the two silken flags, which were received by a uniformed color guard of Legionaires. A Memorial Day service at Weatherford Memorial Baptist Church was largely attended, the sermon being by Rev. John Bunyan Hill, a member of South Richmond Post. The public presentation of the permanent charter in July was impressive, the presentation address being made by Colonel John A. Cutchins, grande chef de gare, on behalf of the Department of Virginia. Department Adjutant W. B. Crush also made a short talk.

The American Legion Auxiliary of South Richmond Post No. 137 has been of great value to the Post. The Auxiliary in 1923 was the only unit in the State to receive a citation from department headquarters. Its membership in 1923 has been doubled this year, with more than fifty members paid-up for 1924.

Mrs. Lawrence T. Ingram is president of the Auxiliary, having held that office since its organization. Other officers are Mrs. W. B. Bradley, vice-president; Mrs. George Paul, Sr., treasurer; Mrs. Earle Lutz, secretary; Miss Alice Ingram, historian; Mrs. H. Ingram Taylor, chaplain; Miss Frances Maurice, sergeant-at-arms ; Mrs. T. P. Ashbrook, chairman Gold Star Mothers, and Mrs. A. C. Scott, Mrs. Frank B. Dunford, Sr., Mrs. B. L. Nicholas, Miss Ethel Smith, executive committee.

The Auxiliary has been active in relief work, with Mrs. W. B. Bradley acting as chairman of the committee working tinder the direction of the Central Council. Mrs. E. Y. Hawkins is chairman of the committee on graves decoration, looking after the resting places of twenty-eight World War dead in Maury Cemetery.

The Auxiliary assisted in raising funds for the purchase of the Post home and has practically furnished the club rooms. The auxiliary has contributed liberally toward the hospitalization program and to the endowment fund for the perpetual care of soldiers' graves in France.