Portsmouth Post 37 Department of Virginia History
L. G. White, first Post commander; Lance Norfleet, first vice-commander; Harvey L. Lindsay, adjutant; J. Garrett McHugh, historian; Charles Pickett, finance officer.
Elected September 23, 1919, L. G. White served as Post commander until May 31, 1920. Chas. Pickett succeeded Commander White, who resigned to accept a public office. E. V. Coggins succeeded Harvey L. Lindsay as adjutant. Jefferson A. Hudgins succeeded Charles Pickett as finance officer. Organization was perfected daring 1919 and 1920 and a great amount of interest was shown in the Legion by the officers and Post at large. The first meeting of the Post was held to the Law Building, and the majority of the other meetings were held at the Red Circle Club and the Y. M. C. A. During this period our Post received its charter in the name of Portsmouth Post No. 37, American Legion, Department of Virginia.
In 1921 Harvey L. Lindsay was elected Post commander, Thos. A. Flood, vice-commander; W. E. Nichols, adjutant; Jefferson A. Hudgins, finance officer; Chas. Werz, sergeant-at-arms; V. Ernest Acton, Jr., lager succeeded Flood, resigned as vice-commander, and Walter H. Misenheimer succeeded Nichols as adjutant; J. C. Smith succeeded Hudgins as finance officer; W. J. Joyner later in the year succeeded Lindsay, resigned as Post commander. It was during this year that the Post took steps to curve the agitation by certain persons to change the City Manager farm of government to the obsolete councilmanic form, which action met with the general approval of the city at large. A parade of about 3,000 service and ex-service men was held on Armistice Day and suitable exercises held for the dedication of a stand of colors presented to the Post by the City of Portsmouth.
Post commander, W. J. Joyner; vice-commander, W. J. Cooper; adjutant, D. T. Daley; finance officer, J. C. Smith; historian, Mrs. J. C. Smith; chaplain, H. Clay Pickett; sergeant-at-arms, A. B. Hill; war risk officer, George C. Ruskell, Jr. P. J. Riley, Jr., succeeded D. T. Daley, resigned as adjutant.
Charity work and the handling of compensation claims characterized the work of the Post during this year of hard times.
W. J. Cooper, Post commander; P. J. Riley, Jr., first vice-commander; M. E. Haug, second vice-commander; E. D. Wilkinson, adjutant. P. T. Wysocki and R. Frank Welton, Jr., served part of them as finance officer, later being succeeded by R. C. Rawles; chaplain, Rev. A. A. Bradford; historian, Mrs. W. R. McCabe; sergeant-at-arms, J. W. Jenkins; war risk officer, B. L. Seay. P. J. Riley succeeded W. J. Cooper, resigned as commander; M. E. Haug, second vice-commander, succeeded Riley as first vice-commander. W. H. Misenheimer elected to succeed Haug as second vice-commander.
On May 30th the Legion conducted Memorial exercises in the Naval Hospital Park in Portsmouth, which was preceded by one of the largest parades held in Portsmouth in recent years. Also the Post, through the Legion Auxiliary, sold poppies on the streets on Memorial Day, the proceeds being divided, the Welfare Fund of the Post receiving part and about $175.00 being sent to Catawba Sanatorium to be used for board for ex-service men at that hospital.
During the Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Eightieth Division Association, held in Tidewater in August, the American Legion co-operated with the Citizens' Committee in the housing and entertaining of the delegates and visitors to this convention. The Legion was the recipient of very favorable comment for the manner in which this work was handled.
The American Legion, co-operated with the City School Board during National Educational Week, sending speakers to the schools.
Following our annual custom, baskets were carried to several veterans' families on Christmas Eve. In the homes where there were children, the Legion saw that good old Santa Claus did not overlook the little ones. A Charity Ball furnished funds for these baskets.
In 1923 we had visits from our Department Commanders, E. E. Goodwyn and John J. Wicker. About sixty claims were handled for ex-service men. Vice-Admiral Philip Andrews and his successor, Rear Admiral H. J. Zeigemier, have always given the American Legion the greatest co-operation. The city officials of Portsmouth have always stood ready to help whenever possible and particularly General J. P. Jervey, City Manager.
Post commander, J. C. Smith; first vice-commander, M. E. Haug; second vice-commander, W. Ernest Acton, Jr.; adjutant, E. D. Wilkinson; finance officer, R. C. Rawles; chaplain, L. W. Friebert; historian, Miss Wilma Kearns; sergeant-at-arms, F. J. Bergeron; service officer, B. L. Seay.
During the year 1924 the Post secured club quarters at 211 High Street and issued invitations to all service and ex-service men to make it their headquarters. The Post also maintained a full-time office at this address rendering every service possible to all veterans in the filing of their compensation claims, hospitalization and pension claims. Arrangements have been made and bronze tablets bought with the names of each Portsmouth man who died during the World War to be placed at the foot of memorial trees planted in the Portsmouth City Park that will be dedicated in honor of these men who gave their lives for their country. These dedication ceremonies will take place on Armistice Day.
The usual amount of charity work has been carried on this year as in the past in behalf of our less fortunate comrades and their families.
Every effort is being made to have every ex-service man in the City of Portsmouth to become a qualified voter in order that more interest might be manifested in Civic and National affairs.
Memorial services were held at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital grounds on May 30th, also the Legion, through the Legion Auxiliary, again sold poppies on the streets of Portsmouth and realized quite a large sum for the Post relief work.
In order to be of some assistance to the young manhood of the city the Post adopted a troop of boys which has been chartered as American Legion Veteran Troop 3, Boy Scouts; with Scoutmaster E. V. Coggins and E. D. Wilkinson as assistant in charge. Their progress has been remarkable.
The Post successfully conducted the movies, Powder River and The Whipping Boss. Also a Japanese opera, The Mikado. The Post also were successful in promoting a gigantic smoker featuring a world's champion boxer.
The following members have gone West since the Post was organized:
C. E. Richardson, George M. Boushell, Philip P. Lattimer, Morris Warren, J. Garrett McHugh.