On August 4, 1919 fifty Freehold area veterans who "were in the military or naval service of the United States during the period between April 6, 1917 and November 11, 1918" signed an "Application for Post of American Legion." Many of the family names of these signers still reside in the area to this day, and their decendents are current members of Post 54.
The original signers of..
The December 17, 1919 edition of the Red Bank Register reported that at the meeting held on Friday, December 12, 1919 and attended by 170 veterans of the war, Dr. John C. Clayton was chosen to serve as the first commander, Walter Baird as vice commander, and Martin Malia as the first adjutant.
The December 10, 1920 Freehold Transcript reported that about 125 members of Post 54 attended a dinner and meeting at the armory on Monday, December 6, 1920. The election of officers at that meeting resulted in the following officers selected: Bryan Patterson: commander, Earl Dix: vice commander, Vincent Dugan: adjutant, Maltby Conover: treasurer, Maurice Dobbins: chaplain, Charles F. Dittmar: insurance officer, Howard Stokes, Rensen Meyers, Joseph R. DuBois, and Joseph Kennedy : members of the..
The third annual American Legion state convention was held at Asbury Park, only about 20 miles away from Freehold. In addition to the still popular parade, the convention featured a track meet and several boxing matches. One of the matches even featured a future heavyweight world champion (1926-1928), Gene Tunney, the "Fighting Marine."
At the third annual New Jersey American Legion state convention, held in Asbury Park, the float entered by Freehold Post 54 won first prize. The float was titled "Flanders Fields" and featured miniature crosses set in imitation grass plots, with the names of the soldiers from our town who paid the supreme sacrifice.
Documentation at the post shows that the Freehold Post 54 Ladies Auxiliary Unit was formed on September 22, 1922 and that Emma Florence Beach was the first president. In going through old newspapers for the Centennial web site we found a small article in the November 16, 1921 edition of the Red Bank Register that raised some quesitons. The article stated that: "A woman's auxiliary to the Freehold post of the American Legion has been organized with Mrs. Clifford..
The February 15, 1922 edition of the Red Bank Register reported that the post is arranging for a campaign to raise funds for building a Legion home. The article stated that a number of citizens have volunteered to help in the cause.
The February 22, 1922 edition of the Red Bank Register reported that the Ladies Auxiliary held a bazar to benefit the American Legion. The ladies were able to clear $800, which will go into the post building fund.
On September 10, 1922 a branch of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary was formed at the post. The first President for Auxiliary Unit 54 was Emma Florence Beach. Auxiliary Unit 54 is still going strong today and is an indispensable partner in the success of our post. Present Unit 54 leader, Mary Ann Biggs, has been serving as president since 2005.
An article about the American Legion basketball team published in the December 6, 1922 edition of the Asbury Park Press mentions that a "...new hall at 36 West Main Street will not be completed for three weeks." Sounds like Post 54 will have its own home!
The first post home was planned to be located at 36 West Main Street, but that didn't come to be. The December 19, 1922 edition of the Asbury Park Press reported that "The Freehold American Legion received a severe setback when recently informed that the erection of a new hall at 36 West Main Street had been changed and instead a new theater will be built by Snider and Son, owners of the lot."
From the December 12, 1923 edition of the Red Bank Register:
The American Legion post at Freehold has chosen these officers for the coming year:
Commander - Vincent J. Dugan
Vice Commanders - Renson Meyers and John Carawell
Adjutant - Thomas W. Maher
Finance Officer - John Hall
Financial Secretary - Stacy Matthews
Chaplain - Joseph Hardiman
Historian - Thomas Eldridge
Executive committee - William B. Patterson, Charles Miller, Harry..
Here's a little Post 54 trivia that we didn't know. This news clipping is from May 1924 and tells of a benefit boxing show "under the auspices of the Freehold American Legion Monmouth Post No. 54..." which was held at the Freehold Driving Park (later Freehold Racetrack).
The last paragraph says "As an extra added attraction Gene Tunney, contender for Jack Dempsey's world's heavyweight championship will put on the gloves with "Bobby" Williams,..
The July 18, 1925 edition of the Red Bank Register reported that the Freehold American Legion has donated a captured German cannon to the town. This donation was part of the National Defense Day celebration in Freehold. The cannon will be placed at the junction of Broadway and East Main Streets, now known as Elks Point. To see what the ultimate fate of this cannon was, go to August 18, 1942 on this timeline.
Members of Post 54 elected their officers for the coming year: Commander Thomas Mahar; senior vice commander, Lew Tannenbaum; junior vice commander, Rensen Meyers; finance officer, Raymond Lykes; adjutant, William Cox; historian, Stacy Matthews; chaplain, Rev. C.P. Newton; senior officer, Edward Welsh; sergeant at arms, Raymond Thorne.
Documentation found at the post shows that nineteen members of Post 54 signed a mortgage note in the amount of $3,500 ($47,741 in 2017 dollars) with the Freehold Trust Company, making themselves personally liable for repayment. We owe a debt of gratitude to those 19 members who risked their own financial well being during the great depression to secure a post home. Those members were: Thomas W. Mahar, Stacy Matthews, Edward Welsh, Nicholas..
Maybe because November 11th was on a Sunday? The Monday, November 12, 1928 edition of the Asbury Park Press reported that "Altho yesterday was officially Armistice Day, the ending of the World War 10 years ago will be celebrated today with this city and Red Bank as the centers of the county." In Freehold there was a service in memory of Corporal James A. Gere, the first Soldier from Freehold killed in the war. This..