American Legion, NORTHAMPTON POST NO. 56

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NORTHAMPTON POST NO. 56

Cape Charles, Virginia

American Legion, 1924

In the summer of 1919, Northampton Post No. 56 was duly chartered, due primarily to the efforts of Comrade Ames, with the following charter members: J. T. Ames, J. B. Crosley, H. L. Carpenter, W. C. Downes, J. W. Daniel, L. Fulcher, J. R. Guy, E. J. Hunt, E. D. Johnson, D. W. Peters, J. W. Parsons, Jr., A. Raylfield, I. G. Reid, G. P. Smith, V. C. Taylor, A. L. Ward and W. E. Wilkins.

Since its organization, this Post has been very active in community affairs and community welfare. It has given its aid to all worthy enterprises which have been for community uplift and progress, such as the Northampton-Accomac Memorial Hospital and the Northampton Memorial Library.

On each Fourth of July the Legionaires have held fitting celebrations for our Independence Day. Unselfish business men have contributed to the funds raised by the Legion to finance band music far the benefit of the community.

November 11th-Armistice Day-never passes without being properly observed, and its real signification and importance kept before the people. Large parades, football games and good speaking have been features. On Armistice Day, 1922, the local Post held a large banquet in honor of the veterans of the Civil War, and invited as guests all Spanish-American war veterans, together with all World War ex-service men whether Legionaires or not. On Armistice Day, 1923, the Post was presented with a beautiful stand of colors by the Ladies' Auxiliary to the Legion, with fitting ceremonies. Rev. L. A. Thomas, of Cedar Grave, presented the colors for the Auxiliary, and Mr. M. E. Bristow, of Richmond, accepted them for the Legion.

For the last two years Memorial Day has been observed by Northampton Post No. 56 in a very unique manner. On the Sunday nearest May 30th the Post firing squad with the colors, together with officers and members of the Post, have journeyed to every cemetery on the Eastern Shore where ex-service men are buried, and practically at their own personal expense, fired valleys and held memorial exercises in memory of their dead buddies. When one recalls that the Eastern Shore is about 100 miles long and contains dozens of cemeteries scattered through its entire length, one will get a good idea of what a great task this is. What is more, the Legion intends to continue this rememberance of its dead in the future.

The Post has been very active in the educational affairs of the surrounding communities. An educational committee, composed of Comrades DeHaven, Peters and Parsons, has prepared plans for night schools for illiterates thus to form a close co-operation with the school authorities to stamp out illiteracy in the Old Dominion. In this connection it must be stated that due to the efforts of members of the Post several young children who were in the county poorhouse have been placed in graded schools to insure them an equal chance for education. In the winter of 1924 the Post initiated an essay contest, open to all High School pupils in the county, on the subject, "How can the American Legion Benefit the Community." Two gold medals were offered as prizes. Capeville High School was fortunate in winning both first and second places.

Believing that all High Schools should fly the flag, the Post presented a sturdy flag pole to Cape Charles High School for this purpose. It is our desire and aim to have a Legion flag pole at every school within the county.

It was brought to the attention of the Post that the local troop of Boy Scouts had disorganized. Recognizing a service and a duty to the young boys the Post set to work to remedy matters. Comrade Warner was appointed scoutmaster and Comrade Bounds assistant to reorganize the troop and to cause it to function again. After much earnest work they succeeded in bringing together many of the old Scouts and joining them into a new troop. It is very gratifying to know that the "Legion troop" is one of the best on the Eastern Shore.

While the Legion is not in politics, yet naturally it is vitally interested in the government and in politics. We recognize the fact that a good government is the result of a well-informed voting population. The local membership is composed of 100 per cent voters. To go a step further are urging all white men and women of voting age to register, pay their poll tax and vote. Comrade Lowe is conducting night classes in government and citizenship for the benefit of the entire community.

The Legion is represented on the Town Council by Comrade Daniel, on the school board by Comrade Peters, on the county health unit and county council by Comrade J. Parsons, Jr.

The Legion has always stood ready to conduct military funerals of deceased veterans, regardless of the personal sacrifice incurred. Its members have journeyed from Cape Charles, where the Sea and Bay meets to Maryland's line, in all kinds of weather to inter the sacred dust of comrades "gone west." During the few years of its existence Northampton Post No. 56 has buried in military form, nearly twenty ex-service men.

During the spring of 1922 the Legion began to feel the need of a helpmeet, as all bachelors do sooner or later. After considerable courting, a number of ladies agreed to "take a chance," and chartered the Ladies' Auxiliary to the Legion on December 17th with an enrollment of twenty five members. The ladies were supported in this enterprise by Dr. Kate Waller Barrett. The officers at the time of organization were: Mrs. J. T. Daniel, president; Mrs. J. R. McAllister, vice-president; Miss Myrtice Gardner, treasurer; Mrs. F. M. Floyd, secretary. The present officers are: Mrs. J. S. McMath, president; Mrs. J. T. Daniel, vice-president; Mrs. Francis Thomas, treasurer; Mrs. Lee Vincent, secretary. The Auxiliary has been a source of inspiration since its initiation, it has never fallen down on the job or failed us in time of need. It is impossible to praise our ladies too highly for their services and co-operation.

Limited space prevents our enumerating the many pathetic cases of disabled veterans handled by this Post and we will only mention one. The case of Comrade Bundick was, a sad one. He was discharged from a hospital in   after an operation for pleurisy, with the wound still unhealed. He lived under unsanitary conditions for months, steadily growing worse, without help from the government and without money to hire a doctor. When the Post took up the case (which was as soon as it was brought to its attention) it was too late to save Bundick, although ample medical aid was summoned and a nurse requested from the Veterans' Bureau of Norfolk. Discovering that his family was unable to give him proper burial, Legionaires solicited public contributions, took charge of the funeral arrangements, and carried the body a distance of thirty miles and buried it with military honors. Northampton Post No. 56 has not only done its duty towards the disabled veteran, but it has also responded to an even higher call, if such be possible. The proceeds of tag days have been donated to our War Orphans. On a single occasion almost $75.00 have been turned in for this purpose.

During the final Adjusted Compensation drive we were not idle. Meetings were held, personal work was done, letters and telegrams were sent to our Congressmen urging them to support the bill-we know the result. And now the Legionaires are "individual committees" to assist ex-service men everywhere to fill out and prepare their applications.

In September, 1922, a voiture of the 40-8 was organized with appropriate ceremonies, 15 "P. G.'s" were suddenly taken back to sunny France on the "Box-Kar Special." It is planned to have a number of "P. G.'s" at the Danville convention in August. The local voiture is represented in the State offices by Comrade Hoffmaster, treasurer.

At the Fredericksburg convention the Post was given recognition on the Department Executive Committee by the election of Comrade J. Parsons, Jr., to that body as first district committeeman.

On the Eastern Shore the Legion is growing in importance. It is recognized as a body of men who have continued their service after the war, who are banded together for the good of the community. But what has been done in the past only acts as an impetus to further service in the future. We have these plans to carry on in the future: A club house which may be used as a community center as well as all Legion activities; flag poles at all high schools; to have all white persons of voting age to register and vote; to foster the organization of Boy Scout troops; to back movements for better schools, better roads, and better government; and last but not least. to see that our disabled buddies and our War Orphans are cared for properly.

Officers since organization:

1919-D. W. Peters, Post commander; J. B. Crosley, vice-Post commander; J. T. Ames, treasurer; J. W. Daniel, war risk officer; V. C. Taylor, adjutant.

1920-D. W. Peters, Post commander; John Parsons, Jr., vice-Post commander; A. L. Ward, treasurer; J. W. Daniel, war risk officer; V. C. Taylor, adjutant; J. R. McAllister, chaplain.

1921-V. C. Taylor, Post commander; M. E. Bristow, vice-Post commander; A. L. Ward, treasurer; T. W. Daniel, war risk officer; J. C. Farlow, adjutant; J. R. McAllister, chaplain; R. R. White, historian.

1922-M. E. Bristow, Post commander; R. H. Reynolds, vice-Post commander; J. W. Daniel, adjutant; F. Hoffmaster, treasurer; J. Parsons, Jr., war risk officer; J. R. McAllister, chaplain; F. Floyd, historian; Max Brown, sergeant-at-arms.

1923-Jno. Parsons, Post commander; E. J. Hunt, vice-Post commander; E. T. Warner, adjutant; Frank Hoffmaster, treasurer; F. M. Floyd, chaplain and historian; J. T. Ames, sergeant-at-arms.

1924-C. G. Brown, Post commander; John Parsons, Jr., vice-Post commander; E. T. Warner, adjutant; F. H. Hoffmaster, treasurer; F. Floyd, chaplain; E. E. Guy, sergeant-at-arms; Wm. F. Ayres, historian.