Henry DeHaven Moorman
American Legion Post #1
Hardinsburg, KY 40143
The American Legion will celebrate their 100th Year Anniversary soon.. As we look toward the 100th Year Anniversary, we are reminded that one of our local citizens played a significant role in the American Legion’s History. Judge Henry DeHaven Moorman had served in the Spanish American War and again in World War I. He along with many others served in Europe. Henry DeHaven Moorman served with the Judge Advocate Corps during WWI and attended the Paris Peace Caucus.
Henry DeHaven Moorman was a player in the Paris Peace Caucus, the St Louis Caucus after the war and the first National Convention of the American Legion in Minneapolis, MN in 1919. He represented Kentucky and our American Legion Post #1.
Henry DeHaven Moorman was a member of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) and a strong supporter of providing services for our veterans when they returned home. He realized that an organization was needed to help our veterans.
The Paris Caucus laid the groundwork for each state to organize their state’s veterans and submit applications for a Charter with the National American Legion. In the St Louis meeting Charter applications were reviewed and approved for the establishment of Posts in each state. As the story goes each state was to create a State Headquarters. The requirement levied on States required each applicant community or veterans group to have a group of veterans committed to organizing their members as a Post organization.
The Kentucky Delegation met several times and elected Henry DeHaven Moorman as one of the delegates to represent Kentucky at the upcoming National Convention. Each person who was at this state meeting set about recruiting 15 members so their community could apply for a Post Charter. Moorman was to take all of Kentucky’s application to the National Convention and present them for approval. He collected the applications, reviewed them and then laid them face down on the table. Each requestor knew that once approved they would receive a Post Number, i.e. Post 1 , 2, 3, 4 etc. Many of the Veteran Groups wanted the highly sought-after Post #1 designation. They recruited more than the desired number of veterans in hopes that would help them get the Post 1 designation.
Upon arrival at the St Louis caucus, Henry DeHaven Moorman carried in all his charter applications and laid all his applications face up on the table for review with Hardinsburg’s application on top of the pile, resulting in Hardinsburg receiving the cherished and sought-after Post # 1 designation.
As a result Henry DeHaven Moorman was said by some to have had a ‘ slight of hand’, others said that because of his work in organizing our Kentucky veterans he was given the much sought after Post #1 designation. There are still communities in Kentucky who feel they should have had the Post #1 designation.
Henry DeHaven Moorman was on the committee for developing a Constitution and By-Laws, and his contributions were significant. He also contributed to the document known now at the GI Bill which provides numerous Educational benefits for our veterans. He served as the first Post Commander for Post 1 in Hardinsburg; and, the first State Commander for the Kentucky American Legion. He remained active with the American Legion throughout his lifetime.
He died at the Army and Navy Hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas. This was the equivalent of today’s Veterans Administration Medical Centers. His remains were returned by train to Hardinsburg accompanied by his brother Walter Moorman. He is buried in the Ivy Hill Cemetery. There were dignitaries from near and far along with 70 Honorary American Legion Pallbearers at his funeral. In his short life Henry DeHaven Moorman had many accomplishments. He was a member of the bar at age 20, appointed to a Judgeship at age 23, served as our US Congressman and recognized as a Farmer, and Soil Conservationist.
We consider his work with the American Legion Constitution and his contribution to the GI Bill as his most lasting contributions to our veterans.
American Legion Post 1 received its Charter in 1919. Our research indicates that it has been in continuous operation since then. Am Legion Post 1 at one time consolidated with the Cloverport American Legion Post 174's membership, but retained the Post 1 designation, Post 174's Charter was withdrawn. Hardinsburg’s Post 1 has never been successful with a permanent Post Home for any length of time. It has moved from one location to another and endured tumultuous times in its 99-year history. However, it has survived and we plan to stay in business for a long time.
Compiled from personal conversations with older members of American Legion. These conversations and articles found in the Breckinridge County Archives, that were previously published in The Breckinridge News and The Herald News and the American Legion Officer’s Guide. Betty Morris and Daniel Lynn Bolin published article about Henry DeHaven Moorman and his connection with the American Legion. Wikipedia Information on Henry DeHaven Moorman was also used to verify our information.