The first meeting of the American Legion will be held at the Court House (grand jury room), at 8 p.m., Wednesday, October 1st, 1919.
Wish to urge every person who enlisted in the Army, Marines, or Navy before Nov. 11th, 1918, and who has an honorable discharge from same to attend. The object of this meeting is to place before you the idea of the organization, a name for our Chapter, on Post, and to encourage a larger enrollment and more enthusiasm.
Greenwood has always been a leader in every laudable undertaking in Mississippi, but for some reason has neglected the Legion, but we feel very hopeful and see no reason why that within a short time we cannot have a Banner Chapter.
Application for Chapter must be into Headquarters not later than Oct. 7th, 1919, and all present applicants for membership must be paid up. Two dollars ($2.00) covers it all. $1.75 of this is forwarded with the application of Chapter and the remaining 25 cents for our expenses.
Going to expect you.
MONROE McCLURG, JR.
From The Commonwealth, October 1, 1919
Three Soldiers Of Leflore County Who
Made Supreme Sacrifice Are
The local post of the American Legion held a largely attended meeting at the Memorial Building at 7:30 Friday evening.
Many matters of local importance were discussed and voted upon; including the naming of this post, "The Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie Post Of The American Legion", after three of Greenwood's soldier lads who gave their lives in battle on the "other side". These were Samuel Reeves Keesler, Second Lieutenant, Observer, 24th Aero Squadron, who died from wounds in a German hospital on October 8th, 1918; Henry Ward Hamrick, First Lieutenant, 326th Infantry, 82nd Division, who was killed by shell fragment in the Argonne Sector on October 15th, 1918; and James Gordon Gillespie, First Lieutenant, Company L, 120th Infantry, 30th Division, who was killed by shell fragment in Flanders on October 18th, 1918. We feel that no higher honor can be bestowed on our revered heroes.
"Soldiers rest, thine warfare o'er;
Sleep the sleep that knows no breaking;
Dream of battle fields no more-
Days of danger, nights of waking."
A resolution to the Board of Supervisors of Leflore County, requesting said Board to procure a record for recording discharges of ex-servicemen was unanimously and enthusiastically carried. It is hoped that this record will be ready in a very short time and that every ex-serviceman or his family will avail themselves of this privilege of making a permanent record of the war history of the boys, as there has arisen several cases for hospital attention or in regard to insurance and compensation in the past few weeks where much valuable time and great expense could have been avoided had such a record have been available.
The American Legion Minstrel to be held on Monday evening, April 19th, at the Greenwood Theatre, claimed quite a bit of attention and discussion; and Jack Wells, Chairman, Wade Reeves, T. A. Guy, Gov. Bowen and Earnest Herr were named as a special committee for the Legion program.
Mrs. Janie Lyons McWilliams, of Holly Springs, gave us a most interesting talk.
Quite a number of new members were enrolled. We are very fast securing the remaining ex-servicemen of this county and expect to have the last white man of the county enrolled as a member in a very short while.
From The Commonwealth, April 21, 1920
A system for uniform display of the Flag for holiday and special occasions, worked out by the American Legion, is being presented to the citizens of Greenwood today by T. A. Guy, representing the Legion, and by a member of the firm who is supplying the flags.
Under the system, which was approved at the last meeting of the Legion, flag stands will be placed on the principal streets and spaced about every twenty or thirty feet apart. The flagstaff will be set in a socket in the sidewalk, and will be twelve feet high surmounted by a six-foot flag. On all patriotic occasions, the merchants will be prepared for taking part in the decorations by simply placing the flag in the socket.
The city authorities have given permission to place the sockets on the sidewalks, and the committee is working on Howard Street today.
From The Greenwood Daily Commonwealth, October 6, 1924
Decorated as for a holiday occasion, Greenwood is today witnessing the uniform flag display recently arranged under the auspices of the local American Legion Post. The flags arrived yesterday and were today placed in the receptacles in the sidewalk to display how the system works.
The flags present a beautiful appearance, lining the business streets on all sides, and with no other decorations, give the city a better decorative effect than the more elaborate and expensive displays of bunting and streamers which have been made in the past.
It is stated that most of the business houses cooperated with the Legion in putting over the display.
The first use of the flags for a celebration will occur on November 11, when the American Legion has arranged for an observance of Armistice Day. Committees of the Legion are working on the day's program now, and have announced the State Senator Hardin Brooks, prominent Meridian lawyer and eloquent orator has accepted an invitation to make the principal address on that occasion.
From The Greenwood Daily Commonwealth, October 23, 1924
With the uniform system of flag display now in use in Greenwood, the American Legion calls the attention of the merchants and others who bought one of the flags recently to a few rules regarding the proper use and respect for the flag.
The flag should be placed in its socket on the sidewalk as soon as the merchant opens his store and should be taken in and carefully folded before sundown. The sun should never set on Uncle Sam's flag.
Do not use the flag in any form of advertising or fasten an advertising sign to a pole from which the flag is flown.
Do not let the flag touch the ground or floor.
Do not place any object or emblem of any kind on or above the flag.
Do not use the flag as drapery in any form whatever. Use bunting of blue, white and red.
Do not drape the flag over the hood, top, side or back of a vehicle, or of a railway train or boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff should be affixed firmly to the chassis or clamped tightly to the radiator cap.
These are a few of the most commonly neglected rules regarding the use of the American Flag and it should be a good idea for the people to read them over carefully.
From The Greenwood Daily Commonwealth, November 6, 1924
The first definite step taken by the Keesler- Hamrick-Gillespie American Legion Post of Greenwood in athletics since the signing of the boxing bill by Governor Bilbo, was that of last night when the executive committee of the Legion met at the Chamber of Commerce and launched an ambitious program, the first move of which will be to secure a location for an athletic field, and then to erect upon it a stadium seating from 2,000 to 4,000.
The stadium would be used for the holding of boxing, wrestling, football, baseball, and other athletic events. This would be financed and owned by the local Legion post. A committee was appointed to investigate and decide on a location. The committee, composed of R. C. Ford, C. B. Ditto and Eli Abbott, will report their findings to the regular meeting of the Legion members, which will be held Thursday night at the Chamber of Commerce.
Every member of the post has been urged to attend the meeting Thursday night and learn what has been done about the proposition. In addition to the other business connected with athletics, an American Legion Athletic Commission will be selected. This will be composed of three members, who will have full charge of all future progress of athletics in Greenwood. These men will be in charge of the building program, the field, arranging matches, etc. They will appoint subcommittees.
Members of the executive committee who attended the meeting were: W. V. Tarver, commander; C. B. Ditto, J. B. Hinton, Eli Abbott, Jack Wells, Pat Smith, R. C. Ford, D. S. Wright, F. P. Holloman.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, April 11, 1928
Work is going forward steadily on laying the foundation for the stadium to be built here by the American Legion. This arena will be completed by the first of June, and is being erected at the corner of River Front and Walthall Street, in the rear of the E. K. Myrick plant.
The crew, under the direction of Legionnaire Earl Equen, has leveled the site and now is busily engaged in excavating for foundations. After that is done, the structure will take on shape, the wood construction to be rushed up.
When completed, the stadium will be one of the most modern in Mississippi. It will be an outdoor arena in the shape of a square, and will have a seating capacity of 1200.
Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie Post Number 29,in putting on their building program, has received the cooperation of virtually all local citizens who are interested in promoting boxing and wrestling in this city. There have been no objections to the building of the stadium.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, May 11, 1928
The first boxing exhibition under the auspices of the Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie Post of the American Legion will be staged next Thursday night and a splendid card is offered to the local lovers of the sport.
Two top-notch boxers are on the program for the windup is Kid Wolfe of Memphis and Leroy Dougan of Blytheville, Arkansas. Both boys are scientific boxers, of the featherweight class, and a beautiful exhibition is anticipated.
Tiger Wolfe of Memphis and Dan Wright of Louisville are on for the semi-windup and should prove almost as good an exposition of the art of boxing.
Both bouts will be for eight rounds.
Two four round preliminaries are booked.
The new stadium is nearing completion and the post is proud of the fact that it will have the most complete open-air arena with a seating capacity of 1500 in the South.
Tickets will go on sale Monday morning at the Crumont.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, May 24, 1928
At the special call meeting of the local post of the American Legion Tuesday night the legion voted unanimous to provide funds for the construction of a top for the present Legion Stadium on the corner of River Front and Walthall streets.
The subject was discussed pro and con from 7:30 until nearly midnight. After the lengthy discussion the legion decided to have a top put on the stadium. The top will be a tin roof and will be so constructed as to provide for a circulating cooling system. The tin roof was selected because it is the coolest roof that can be used for night performances. A tin roof is the hottest type of roof that can be put on a building during the day but it is also one of the quickest cooling types of roof.
The plans and specifications for the top are now being prepared by Bobby Moor and will be submitted to the local contractors within a few days. The lowest bid will be accepted and work will begin on the stadium immediately. According to plans the stadium will be ready for the first boxing exhibition on the first Thursday night in May. Thursday has been selected by the Legion as the night to stage the boxing bouts again this season.
The bouts will be in the hands of the boxing commission of the local post of the American Legion.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, April 3, 1929
Joint sponsorship of the construction as a WPA project of a Legion Community Building was agreed upon this morning at a joint meeting of the Board of Supervisors, the City Council, and members of Keesler-Hamrick- Gillespie Post No. 29 of the American Legion.
Plans call for the erection of a Legion hut designed as a community building on the lot at the corner of East River Road and Walthall Street now occupied by the Legion stadium.
It is planned to construct a modernly designed building costing approximately $25,000, of which the sponsors' part will be $10,000. The city and county will each bear a third of the cost, with the local legion Post bearing the other third, and the city furnishing the lot.
Preparations of the WPA application will be undertaken immediately following the meeting this morning.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, September 12, 1939
At the monthly meeting of the City Council of Greenwood last night, the sale of the lot occupied by the American Legion Stadium was approved. The lot was sold to the Hugh Critz Motor Company at a purchase price of $7,000.
Half of the sale price of the lot will be turned over to the American Legion as a sinking fund toward the building of a proposed Legion Hut.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, December 18, 1940
The Greenwood City Council, at the regular meeting last night at City Hall, deeded a one hundred foot lot on East Claiborne Street in North Greenwood to Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie Post of the American Legion for use as a legion Hut.
The lot, which is 100 feet off the eastern end of Lot 7 on Claiborne, is located on the riverbank at the southern extremity of Humphreys Street. The city made the deed outright.
J. B. Hinton, commander of Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie Post said this morning that the Legion is extremely gratified by the gift of the Council. "The generosity of the city in giving a lot for the American Legion hut has provided for the construction of a building that, we believe, will fill a vital need in the Greenwood community", he said.
Mr. Hinton added that further plans for the construction of the building will be announced in the near future.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, April 16, 1941
Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie Post No. 29 of the American Legion will see realization of the dream of many years when ground is broken next Monday for erection of a Legion hut which will become the permanent home of Legion men living in Leflore County.
The home is being built with funds supplied by Greenwood Post No. 29, the city and county, and will be erected on a site donated by the City at the corner of Claiborne and Humphrey streets.
R. J. Moor is the supervising architect and S. L. McGinnis and Son the construction contractor. The building will be of brick veneer and will contain all modern facilities. In addition to a large assembly room with a stage, there will be a commodious lounge and a large kitchen with modern equipment.
It is estimated the cost of the building will be $8,500.00. The architectural design calls for a beautiful home, which will be a credit to the community.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, July 18, 1941
Ground was broken this morning on the new $8,500 Legion Hut, which is being built by the Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie Post of the American legion.
Those present for the ground breaking were the Building Committee composed of Jack Hinton, John Fant, Angelo Liollio, Dr. L. B. Otken, and Tom Flowers.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, July 21, 1941
Work on the American Legion hut in North Greenwood is proceeding rapidly. The framing of the building has been completed and workers are pushing the construction of the building for use early during the fall.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, August 30, 1941
Work on the Legion Hut on Claiborne Street in North Greenwood is progressing rapidly, and the building will soon be ready for occupancy by the Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie Post of the American legion.
The new building will be a beautiful and well-appointed structure.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, September 15, 1941
Formal dedication of the newly constructed Legion building will be held on Armistice Day, Tuesday, November 11, it is announced today, and this handsome building will be presented to Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie Post No. 29, for use of members of the Legion and the Legion Auxiliary. The dedicatory service, which will begin at 8:00 o'clock Armistice Day evening, will be in charge of A. H. Bell of the Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie Post No. 29, and Jack Carley, editorial writer of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, will be the principal speaker for the occasion.
The building was made possible by donations from the City of Greenwood and Leflore County. Representatives of the city and county will make formal presentation to the legionnaires of the building at the dedicatory services.
The new building is constructed for the use of the legionnaires and auxiliary, and for such other uses as are approved by an operating board of nine legionnaires, composed of five from beat three and one from each of the other four beats of the county.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, November 4, 1941
Jack Carley, editorial writer for the Memphis Commercial Appeal, will be the principal speaker tonight at the formal dedication of the Leflore County Memorial to Veterans of the World War on West Claiborne.
The dedicatory service will begin at 8 p.m., and will be in charge of A. H. Bell, of the Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie Post No. 29, American Legion.
Members of the families of Samuel R. Keesler, Jr., Captain Ward Hamrick, and First Lieut. Gordon Gillespie, three sons of Greenwood, who gave the supreme sacrifice and for whom the post was named, will be honor guests at the dedication.
The building was made possible through funds furnished by the Legion, city and county, and representatives from the city and county will make the presentation of the building to the Legionnaires during the evening's program.
The building is constructed for the use of legionnaires and auxiliary members from throughout the county, and for such other uses as are approved by an operating board of nine legionnaires, composed of five from beat three and one from each of the other four county beats. The present board is composed of George Fanguy, Chas. Rogan, L. W. Ely, C. A. Foreman, E. C. LeLouis, W. M. Morgan, P. S. Dickson, Mrs. L. B. Otken, Mrs. Hanks Flanagan.
The following program will compose the evening's entertainment:
Master of Ceremonies, Aubrey Bell.
Song, "America", led by E. H. Blackstone.
Invocation, Rev. E. J. Caswell.
Presentation in behalf of County, C. A. Foreman.
Presentation in behalf of City, S. R. Keesler.
Acceptance for Itta Bena Post, Dan Kelly.
Acceptance for Greenwood Auxiliary, Mrs. J. R. Fortenberry.
Acceptance for Greenwood Post, J. B. Hinton.
Dedication Address, Jack Carley.
Song, "God Bless America", led by E. H. Blackstone.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, November 11, 1941
At it's meeting last night, Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie Post No. 29 of the American Legion enrolled as a member for 1946 Miss Marguerite Smith, who presented her honorable discharge from the WAVES. Miss Smith has the honor of being the first woman member of the local post from World War II. As Miss Smith paid her dues to Vice Commander and Membership Chairman A. Billelo, she was given a big hand by all present.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, September 19, 1945
On behalf of the Bank of Greenwood, President Frank McGeoy has given to Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie Post No. 29 of the American Legion, the pictures of Leflore County's service men and women who have attracted so much favorable comment during the months they have been on display in the bank. The North Greenwood School will get the world map.
Commenting on this generous and thoughtful gift, Post Commander W. Frank Kerr said, "This act on the part of President Frank McGeoy for the Bank of Greenwood is deeply appreciated by every Legionnaire in our Post. As the years come and go, these pictures will be more and more valuable and they will be preserved as a sacred trust by our Post."
Just as soon as suitable material is available for the building of a dustproof and waterproof frame, the pictures will be moved to the Legion Hut. Legionnaire Thomas C. Billelo will have charge of this important undertaking.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, May 30, 1946