A nearly 100-year-old notebook that offers a glimpse into the lives of World War I and II veterans was donated Thursday to the Montrose American Legion Post 154. The historical account in a hardbound copy book was handwritten in ink by Robert Welden, a founding member of the Post, who also served as Post Historian.
The book describes American Legion events and activities from its inception in 1920 until 1950. By that time, Welden’s son, Joe, was a World War II veteran.
According to Janice Gavern, the current Post Historian, the document is a significant contribution to the history of the Post.
“It is also a fun look at activities sponsored by the Post through the years, including plays, films, dances, turkey shoots, and a boxing tournament,” she said.
“If you are interested in local history, copies of the written
text (enlarged), and a typed transcription are available at the Susquehanna County Historical Society, and at the American Legion Post 154,” Gavern said.
The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. Focusing on service to veterans, service members, and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States.
Membership swiftly grew to over 1 million, and local posts sprang up across the country. Today, membership stands at over 2.4 million in 14,000 posts worldwide. The posts are organized into 55 departments: one each for the 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and the Philippines.
Welden said that his father was the first historian of the American Legion, so he decided to turn over the original book to the Legion as a fitting beginning to their project to work with the national American Legion to compile the organization’s history.
The year 2019 will mark the 100th anniversary of the American Legion, and all Legion posts have been given the task of compiling Post Histories, which will be available online to veterans and the general public.
These records serve as a valuable source of local history information, as well.
Gavern has recently focused her attention on female veterans of the United States service branches. She said that while Veterans of Foreign Wars require their members to have served overseas, the American Legion accepts service members who served stateside as well.
If you have any pictures or information about Post 154 which will contribute to its history, please contact Janice Gavern care of American Legion Post 154, 14515 State Route 3001, Montrose, PA 18801; or by email at email@example.com.