From Browning, Missouri Centennial Celebration August 2,3,4,5 - 1972 Through the Years 1872-1972

The Claude Myers Post No. 274, The American Legion, of Browning, was sponsored by the Earnest A. McNish Post No. 182 of Brookfield. This post was named after the first soldier from Browning that was killed in action in World War I, and that boy was Claude H. Myers, son of Andrew Myers, enlisted at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., April 15th, 1917, aged twenty three years and two months. Killed in action, June 9th, 1918.

First meeting was held at the Old Electric Theater, August 9th, 1921; arrangements being made by Dr. D.B. Hunter, a dentist here. Temporary officers were as follows: Commander, D.B. Hunter; 1st Vice-commander, Carlos Knifong; 2nd Vice commander, A.D. Peterson; Adjutant, Wayne B. Fields; Finance officer, Wm. A. Bond; Historian, J. Ben Carter; Chaplain, Wallace Grice; Sgt. at arms, Noel P. Head...

...The first big drive for funds to purchase a home was in 1922; the post gave away an automobile (Overland Four), selling tickets to a baseball game for July 4th, 1922 in Browning. Made two all day tours with the local American Legion Band in action, and grossed approximately $1,500 and about 2000 people attended the ball game.

In the year of 1938, with Commander Glenn Freeland, sponsored the first Homecoming Picnic in Browning. This continued with the exception of three years during World War II until the present date. The Browning Civic Club operating same for six years, after World War II.

In 1941 the post purchased what is now known as the Brantner Apartment as a post home, which they occupied until 1948, then sold the home to Ted Brantner and purchased the I.O.O.F. Hall, in which is our present home. [1972]


Editor's note: The several books of minutes of meetings of Post #274 have been indexed by dates as part of this project. They are kept in the archives of the Post. These minutes are identified as "books A thru I". What follows are highlights from them which give a sense of history to the reader; these glimpses of post activity are meant to invite interested persons to read the full text of these minutes. See the Post #274 Adjutant for access to old minutes-books.


Until 1946 or 1947 there were only WWI veterans to take on the leadership and carry out the enterprises of Claude H. Myers Post #274. These older minutes-excerpts show how much Browning is a product of the efforts of WWI-veteran legionnaires and their auxiliary's assistance. Homecomings, 4H calf shows, baseball diamond lighting, and many other still-visible reminders of the works of the World War I legionnaire are around us. Browning's most durable features were the legacy of comrades whose memories we now honor.

[The last half of calendar year 1921 would be, officially, membership year 1922 to The American Legion]

Oct 4 1921 - Meeting called to order by Commander D.B. Hunter... discussion of dues ($3.00 per year)... each member to bring one or more new members Oct 7 and 8 (street fair to be membership drive occasion)... report by finance officer, Wm. A. Bond, regarding his mission as delegate in St. Joseph... committees appointed: booth - Noel Head (chmn), Gale Thurlo, Fern Carter, Bryan Ashpy (sic), Joe Christy, Wayne Atkins; tags - Fern Carter, Wayne Gooch; eats - Gale Thurlo, Victor Alspach, Ben Carter.

Oct 18 1921 - Col. Harry F. Burton, accompanied by the following men of the Ernest A McNish Post #182 gave us a pleasant surprise [the men composed the Metropolitan Orchestra]... and nicely entertained us during their visit... New members taken in: Gale Thurlo, R.A. Thurlo, J. T. Gooch, Robert Tunnell, Fred Tunnell [brothers], Clarence Robertson, ? E. Dell, Byron Whaley, M. E. Crump... motion passed to rent Haley hall as a meeting place (ten dollars for Oct 21 1921 to Aug 1 1922).

Dec 6 1921 - 23 present and 23 absent... treasury balance of $108.64... "Commander ordered the amount to be divided equally with the Aux." [The auxiliary unit dates back to 1935] Motion carried to buy a piano from Mrs. J.W. Jones... committee to come to agreement on terms of purchase: Ben Carter, Dr. Grice and Dr. Duncan... a committee to purchase a stove... committee to organize a band: J.B. Carter, W. Fields, E.R. Duncan, Jay Harvey... committee to investigate a show proposition: V.D. Grice, Wallace Grice, Noel Head.

Jan 17 1922 - Meeting called to order by Vice Commander Carlos W. Knifong... election of officers... voted to retain the same officers as have been serving temporarily... motion carried to pay for the Legion band's music.

Mar 7 1922 - Dial (sic) Peterson elected 2nd Vice Commander... motion carried to rent Legion hall to Fraternal Trade Union at five dollars a month... Fern Carter to investigate the prices on two pool tables at Macon... motion carried to buy two pair of boxing gloves by pro-rata assessment of members... motion carried to have a dance Mar 9 (an invitation affair with "home orchestra")... A.T. Havens elected Athletic Officer... Mrs. Hermia F. Adams to direct and pick cast from members for Legion play to be given in March.

Jun 2 1922 - Final details for Lyceum closed... Theodore Steele became director of the Legion band... Steele to receive $12 per night paid equally by members of the band... Order issued to leave legion hall key at telephone exchange building... 40 members have paid dues.

Aug 15 1922 - Post voted to let Miss Prather use the hall August 17, price to be set later.

[disbursements for 1946 are in the minutes book following the foregoing minutes; book jumps to 1938]

Jan 16 1923 - "Election of officers for the year 1923 and to replace the present Officers consisting of D.B. Hunter commander, all vice Commanders, M.W.(?) Fields Adjutant, Wm. A. Bond Finance Officer, J. Ben Carter Historian, Wallace Grice Chaplain, and Noel P. Head Sgt at Arms. The officers just mentioned are the charter member officers. The post being organized officially in 1922. However the officers mentioned above served at the beginning of the organization sometime in 1921 as temporary officers. This is the first change of officers in this post and the new officers for the year of 1923 are as follows: Wm. A. Bond commander, A.D. Peterson Adjutant, Dr. V.D. Grice Finance Officer, Charles W. Gooch Historian, Rev. James L. Bates Chaplain, Jay Harvey Sgt at Arms"... two dances to be given Jan 25 1923 and Feb 5 1923 in conjunction with the Lyceum course.

Feb 6 1923 - 1st and 2nd vice commanders elected: W.B. Fields and J. Ben Carter... Lee Foster, J.R. Ginder and Walter P. Linhart to be admitted to membership... Motion carried to give the cast of "Peaceful Valley", orchestra, and specialty entertainers a social Feb 15.

Feb 20 1923 - Committee appointed to announce good roads meeting: Gale Thurlo, Dr. Grice and Orvis Vincent.

Mar 6 1923 - Some discussion of road dragging proposition... A.D. Peterson to write for prices.

Apr 17 1923 - Three visitors from Winigan Post were present... motion carried to hire Bitticks Orchestra of Trenton to play for dance April 20... motion carried to have band boys of this post meet with the Winigan band for rehearsal... Victor Detwiler to take charge of drill squad meeting April 24... Adjutant to inquire about motion picture "Powder River" to be shown here soon... a program for Memorial Day was discussed... Adjutant to order 6 grave markers, 30 regulation buttons for members, and 200 rounds of ammunition... discussion of plans for methods of entertainment: a player piano was mentioned as the most needed as it could be played by every post member.

May 1 1923 - Adjutant to notify members with drill experience for practice at next meeting night.

May 15 1923 - Special meeting to be held May 22 for purpose of Poppy Sale.

Sep 18 1923 - Comrades Vincent, Palmer and Carter appointed to investigate financial conditions of post treasury... motion carried to use the accumulated interest (on $650 note which was a legion-home fund) to add to the principal of the note... discussion of breaking post rules by Legion members allowing misconduct of themselves as well as outside parties "arose a warm discussion but failed to find the guilty ones"... Brookfield Jazz Orchestra to play for dance both nights of Street Fair.

Nov 20 1923 - Post to order book for play, "Deacon Dubbs"... a dance at hall Thanksgiving night... Brookfield post to put on a "negro Minstrel" under the auspices of Post #274 Nov 22 1923 (proceeds to be divided 50-50 with this post providing advertising and furnishing theater).

May 20 1924 - Nine present... Commander W.A. Bond and Adjutant A.D. Peterson to sign bond (for State Headquarters) for rifles and gunslings in post possession... post to purchase motion picture to be shown for post funds.

Oct 14 1924 - Election of officers for 1935... A.D. Peterson commander, O.K. Vincent adjutant, A.G. Thurlo finance officer, W.R. Ware Historian, J.A. Bates chaplain, J.B. Carter sgt. at arms, C.W. Gooch vice commander... motion carried to rent two rooms of B.A. Mairs at $60 yearly; Mairs agrees to furnish stove.

Oct 28 1924 - Mairs to pay for wallpaper the post will put on the walls.

[No minutes for 1925 and 1926 were found in files]

Feb 16 1927 - A key for each member to be ordered.

Feb 24 1927 - Lantz McCormick admitted as a new member.

Mar 4 1927 - Tim Havens accepted as a member.

Apr 7 1927 - Loren Elliot accepted as member... door to be left hooked as it is.

May 5 1927 - Dr. Rice appointed Child Welfare Officer.

Sep 8 1927 - Motion carried to put on a ball game for the Legion Sep 18.

Oct 8 1927 - Committee appointed for play to be given soon... motion carried that the Boy Scout troop have the privilege of meeting in the Legion rooms.

Dec 6 1927 - Motion carried to restrict the Legion rooms to members only; to expel any members violating the rule.

Jan 5 1928 - George A. Taylor accepted as new member.

Dec 14 1928 - Election of officers: Paul Kollasch commander, A.D. Peterson vice commander, Dave Robinson adjutant, OK Vincent finance officer, William A. Bond historian, A.T. Havens sgt. at arms, W.A. Ware chaplain.

May 30 (1929?) - Fourth of July celebration for two days... money subscribed for ball club to be collected... N.W. Phillips to be treasurer.

Nov 12 1929 - Meeting held at Kollasch Shoe Shop... election of 1930 officers: Noel P. Head commander, Victor D. Grice vice commander, Aaron D. Peterson adjutant, Orvis K. Vincent finance officer, A. Gale Thurlo historian, Wallace Grice chaplain, J. Ben Carter sgt. at arms, Paul P. Kollasch service officer... the membership decided to discontinue a furnished club room for the present and 1930 meetings to be held at Kollasch Shoe Shop... dues reduced to $2.00 omitting the local fee of $1.00 for the present... army rifles were distributed among some of the members: W. Grice, Victor Grice, Wayne Gooch, O. Elliott, A.G. Thurlo, A.T. Havens, Emery Gray, J.B. Carter, Earl Palmer and Wm. Ware... discussion of the Civic League movement toward erection of a Community Hall was met with approval with the post aiding in every way possible "for the completion of a public building the City of Browning has needed so long".

Nov 14 1930 - Meeting held at the Dental Offices of Dr. V.D. Grice... Election of 1931 officers: Noel P. Head commander, V.D. Grice vice commander, Aaron D. Peterson adjutant, Orvis K. Vincent finance officer, A. Gale Thurlo historian, Wallace Grice chaplain, Ben Carter sgt. at arms, Earl M. Palmer service officer... Permanent quarters were discussed but no definite plans were put in motion.

Feb 18 1931 - "special call meeting in Dr. Grice's Dental Office with 18 ex-servicemen present... enacting state and national resolutions... discussing post quarters... explaining the Compensation & Disability Allowance act as amended July 3 1930... resolution for increasing the appropriation for the Missouri National Guard... expressing support of General John J. Pershing National Park near Laclede, Missouri.

Mar 4 1931 - Call meeting for helping the ex-serviceman file his applications for loans... 26 veterans were present... 6 members were added.

Nov 2 1931 - Held at the Theater building... bring in all rifles to be left in town and carried... appointed committee to see merchants to put out flags on November 4... boys agreed to wear white suits to Marceline as color guards for parade... about 38 attended the meeting.

Nov 10 1931 - Met at Theater... hunters to bring all quails to the "Evening of Hunt" Nov 18... all hunters with wives to attend... menu:quail, dressing, gravy, celery, cranberry sauce, coffee, hot rolls, ice cream, and cake... voted to have "all old veterans, Civil and Spanish War, also Mrs and Dr. Hunter".

Dec 17 1931 - "Special call meeting to make some arrangements for woodcutting to take care of the unemployed for the winter"... meeting held at Bailey Maytag office... order two grave markers for Boswell and George Seaman... Committee called to investigate all veterans for graves of all wars: Noel Head and Lantz McCormick... Committee to visit the sick; Welfare Committee: Joseph Christy, Clair Shipp and Earl Palmer... wood deal closed as no place to get wood.

Apr 6 1932 - Discussion of auxiliary to legion; no decision... discussion of building clubhouse for Legion members; committee to investigate cost of building 22 1/2 x 40: V.D. Grice, Wayne Gooch and Lantz McCormick... discussion on regular posts for burial services, each member to fill his respective place.

Oct 20 1932 - motion carried to keep all 1932 officers for 1933... Committee on welfare work to visit sick veterans and families and ascertain needs and handle same to best of ability; to act with full authority... flags for deceased veterans Isaac Dunlap and Este Bauswell.

Jan 10 1933 - Motion carried to accept any saleable article of equal value amount $2.00 to be taken as 1933 dues.

Feb 18 1933 - motion carried to auction off Legion blankets at next meeting... invitation to be given to all ex-servicemen.

Mar 16 1933 - visiting members from posts in Brookfield, Milan, and Green City to hear speakers on Economy league and state hospitalization and rehabilitation committee.

May 8 1933 - New pension law discussed... Blankets held by post sold to Sylvester Richmond, Earl Palmer and Andrew T. Havens ($2 to $3.50 each).

July 25 1933 - discussion of play and home talent.

Sep 20 1933 - motion carried to have at least one meeting a year in Purdin... Election of officers: Chester L. McCormick commander, Earl M. Palmer adjutant, Orvis K. Vincent finance officer, Orvell M. Elliott sgt. at arms, Aaron D. Peterson service officer, Charles W. Gooch chaplain, Mack Molloy 1st vice commander, Ralph Morris historian.

[a list of dues-paying is found in minutes between Sep and Oct 1933 minutes]

Oct 25 1933 - products brought in by ex-servicemen in payment for 1934 dues to be received at the O.K. Vincent produce house... 50 American Legion stickers for cars to be given to paid-up members.

Jan 10 1934 - Committee on minstrel named... Committee on building club house: Ola Knifong, Joe Christy and Earl Palmer.

May 17 1934 - motion carried to rent rooms over Farmers Store at $5.00 per month... motion carried to call on Board of Aldermen in regard to having C.W.A. workers help in putting up club house; committee: comrades Peterson, Kollasch and Watson.

August 16 1934 - Met at Electric Theater.

Oct 17 1934 - Harold Abbott mentioned in minutes.

Nov 14 1934 - A.D. Peterson, Mack Molloy and Ben Barrows appointed to encourage an auxiliary organization.

[dues-paid list of members for 1935 found between Nov and Dec 1934 minutes]

Dec 12 1934 - Committee appointed to investigate purchasing the corner building of the Russell estate across the street from Jas. Lay residence: Wayne Gooch, Stanley Day, Lantz McCormick and Dr. Grice... rabbit hunt to be staged next Tuesday.

Feb 21 1935 - Meeting in Mack Molloy's barber shop in Purdin... resolution to urge Senators and Congressmen to support Vinson Bill asking for immediate payment of veterans' adjusted service certificate... reimbursement to A.D. Peterson for Oratorical contest medals... discussion of the future Linn County American Legion band and the Pershing float in preparation for the Department and National conventions in Columbia and St. Louis.

Mar 13 1935 - Met at the former Brownback offices, Warren Building... 13 present... a permanent "Legion Home Committee" appointed: E. Ray Duncan, Everett F. Myers and Aaron D. Peterson... to report any possible purchase of a building... empowered to purchase if the price was within the range the membership heretofore agreed.

Apr 10 1935 - Address by Joseph Shy (Chillicothe) "Menace of Radicalism"... committee to report at a future meeting on purchase of logs or other material to construct a Legion home... 500 poppies to be bought for Memorial Day sale.

Apr 24 1935 - Legion Home Committee reports old logs in log buildings were unfit for use... Committee to check cost of hollow tile building: Austin Watson, V.D. Grice and Everett Myers... regular meetings to be each Wednesday night until further change... committee to check on renting rooms from Ott Stone.

Jul 12 1935 - Motion carried to appropriate funds for erecting seat piers of concrete at City Park on west side of bandstand.

Aug 16 1935 - Election of officers: Chester L. McCormick commander, Mack Molloy 1st vice commander, Paul P. Kollasch 2nd vice commander, Everett F. Myers adjutant, Charles W. Gooch finance officer, Wm. A. Watson historian, Rev. W.V. Walthal chaplain, George A. Taylor sgt. at arms, Aaron D. Peterson service officer... "membership within the immediate vicinity of Purdin be allowed sponsorship of an activity they wish to promote in Purdin with the full cooperation of the entire membership and that any funds received from such activity be a separate fund to be held and used as they see fit, under the direction of their 1st vice commander, Mack Molloy".

Sep 13 1935 - The post to serve lunch at the W.L. Bond sale... Auxiliary to be assisted by Legion.

Oct 21 1935 - sponsor Oratorical Contest if schools are willing.

Dec 9 1935 - met at Odd Fellows Hall in Purdin.

Mar 9 1936 - motion carried to buy a post seal.

Apr 13 1936 - motion carried to have a wiener roast at Kenneth Knifong grove Apr 27... "some talk of sponsoring a junior baseball club. Nothing decided definitely".

Jul 20 1936 - motion carried to buy two safety slogan signs to be placed one each respectfully at either end of highway through the town of Browning.

Aug 20 1936 - Armistice Day celebration committee appointed... Election of officers: Kenneth Knifong commander, Craig Beckett 1st vice commander, Emery Gray 2nd vice commander, A.D. Peterson adjutant, C. Wayne Gooch finance officer, Clair Ship (sic) chaplain, Earl Palmer historian, A.T. Havens sgt. at arms, Rev. O.B. Hobbs honorary chaplain.

Sep 18 1936 - Joint installation of post and auxiliary officers... program for Armistice Day was dismissed.

Oct 12 1936 - dues raised to $3.00... post to sponsor a turkey shoot with hamburger stand during the week prior to Thanksgiving Day.

Nov 27 1936 - 10 cent fine for not wearing legion cap at regular meeting: Gray, Harvey, Gooch, Peterson and Molloy... payment of bill for flags for last Decoration Day... Turkey shoot net profit was $48.00.

Dec 18 1936 - Building funds amounting to $650 and 7 percent annual interest loaned to Peterson Brothers Garage (to be paid off in next two or three months).

Feb 12 1937 - Post finance committee formed to invest post funds and appraise personal or real property being considered for security (with no loan exceeding 60 percent of appraised value)... paid $10 to George Prather for Blue Rock machine and 630 rocks [having something to do with that turkey shoot]... paid Linn County Red Cross $5.00 for Ohio and Mississippi River Valley flood relief... committee for rewriting Constitution and by-laws appointed.

Apr 23 1937 - discussion of organizing squadron of "Sons of the American Legion"... discussion of graves registration, Memorial Day.

Apr 9 1937 [out of sequence] - Motion carried to organize "Sons of the American Legion" squadron with dues of 50 cents; committee for squadron organizing: Earl Palmer, Mack Molloy, Benjamin Barrows, Emery Gray and A.D. Peterson... Placing a flag to the graves of each deceased veteran was included in the duty of the Memorial Day program committee... A graves registration committee was appointed: Jenkins - C.L. McCormick, Knifong - E.E. Gray, Hoover - O.K. Vincent, Mundell - B.J. Harvey, Schrock - Walter Artz, Henry - George Artz, N. Salem - Kenneth Knifong, Mt. Zion - Van Mairs, Baker - James Fanning, Rose Hill - Alva Morris, Enterprise - Clarence Sargent, Winigan - Ben Thompson, White Oak - Glenn Freeland, Purdin - Mack Molloy, Grantsville - Rex Hale, Morris Chapel - Bryan Molloy, Mt. Olive - Warren Gooch, U.B. Church - John Palmer, Bear Branch - George Cornwell, Garner - Roy Maxwell, and Gooch - C.W. Gooch.

Sep 17 1937 - Election of officers: Glenn Freeland commander, Edward Lewis 1st vice commander, Emery Gray 2nd vice commander, Lantz McCormick adjutant, Clair Shipp chaplain, Mack Molloy service officer, Kenneth Knifong historian, Wayne Gooch sgt. at arms, Rev. Hobbs, honorary chaplain.

Nov 12 1937 - discussion of turkey shoot... committees appointed to tend to advertising, ammunition, poultry, blue rock, cross shoot, rifle shoot, ground prep, hamburger stand... ammunition supplies itemized in minutes.

[a list of membership committees is given]

Jan 14 1938 - A stag party is to be arranged for a later date after membership drive... motion made to buy Baby Bonds.

Jan 28 1938 - motion passed to invest in time deposit at 3 percent instead of buying Baby Bonds... itemized investment of building fund in Baby Bonds given.

Mar 24 1938 - date for "Ring Ding Party" set for Apr 8th... Humphreys post to be invited.

Apr 22 1938 - discussion of Boys State; boy confined to being a son of a paid-up post member.

Aug 26 1938 - Election of officers: G. Glenn Freeland commander, B.J. Harvey 1st vice commander, Ben J. Barrows 2nd vice commander, Chester L. McCormick adjutant, Wayne Gooch finance officer, Ray Wattenbarger chaplain, Mack Molloy service officer, Aaron D. Peterson historian, Geo. Taylor sgt. at arms... committee to investigate buying the Farmers Exchange Bank Bldg. for Legion home (authority to buy if price was not over $800... committee to investigate and arrange a Legion Home Coming appointed.

Aug 31 1938 - special session to appoint picnic officials... [committees, including poultry and horticulture, listed in minutes].

Oct 5 1938 - motion carried to sell postal bonds to take care of the deficit of the Homecoming celebration... committee of two to call on Dr. Haning in regard to handling of overdraft until full amount of indebtedness is determined.

Oct 14 1938 - indebtedness stands at approximately $72.00... committee to investigate lighting ball park for night softball and baseball... bonds to be sold to pay off deficit on picnic and leave a balance in the bank for the post.

[oddly, book A jumps to 1938 after 1922]

Oct 28 1938 - to sponsor fourth annual turkey shoot Nov 18... membership teams in this minutes is a good roster!

Nov 11 1938 - Post to sponsor publication of "School Brownie"... Elijah Wyatt accepted as new member... a short program was rendered by the auxiliary.

Nov 25 1938 - profit on turkey shoot was $12; unanimous decision to discontinue annual turkey shoot... committee on purchasing Legion home instructed to stay within state limit if it bids on the old Exchange Bank building at auction.

Dec 30 1938 - business meeting preceding "Annual Stag Party"... new members McClaren, Crump, Maxwell, Straley, Wattenbarger, W. Artz, Wm. D. Bull, Grover W. McClaren (some being holdovers)... beer and sandwiches with music furnished by "Albert Spray, Champion Fiddler of Yellow Creek and North Missouri" accompanied by "King of the Ivories", "Happy Badger" and "Banjo Page"... also card games.

Feb 24 1939 - Committee to table building proposition for present... if a member of post (in good-standing) is in a Veterans or private hospital, the adjutant is to send something useful, e.g., cigarettes, chewing tobacco, etc. (Comrade Wyatt is in Hines Veterans Hospital near Chicago for an operation)... Mack Molloy outlined Bill 304 which deals with dependents drawing allowance after insurance payment stops, the Veterans Burial Allowance, and, H.R.5 bill about widows and orphans.

Mar 23 1939 - motion carried to sponsor Boy Scout Troop #104... pig hip sandwiches, beer and coffee to be served on Friday Apr 7.

Jun 23 1939 - reports on Junior Baseball, decoration of graves, and annual Legion Home Coming picnic (Sep 15 and 16)... expense reimbursement for delegates to state conventions must include evidence that the delegate or delegates attended the business sessions.

Jul 28 1939 - Report on Boys State meeting at Fulton by Nyle Freeland "and a splendid report it was".

Sep 8 1939 - additional homecoming committees appointed: stand construction, purchasing provisions, platform seats, tent erection; all legionnaires on the grounds at 8 a.m. for construction... election of officers: B. Jay Harvey commander, Edward Lewis 1st vice commander, Ola Knifong 2nd vice commander, Mack Molloy adjutant and service officer, G.W. Gooch finance officer, A.D. Peterson historian, Wm. R. Ware sgt. at arms, C.L. McCormick chaplain.

Sep 22 1939 - $15.73 to be allowed the Boy Scouts unit for its stand... auxiliary to get 50 percent of the net on stand.

Oct 27 1939 - Armistice Day to be observed in cooperation with Browning School at the high school auditorium.

Nov 10 1939 - implemented a three-trustee office with staggered terms; constitution and by-laws to be changed to include this... discussion of post sponsorship of 4-H Club by assisting in financing the purchase of calves for boys who are financially unable to purchase calves to feed; approved and committee appointed... sponsorship of a picture show for the Saturday before Christmas and giving presents to children (especially needy children); motion carried... motion to sell Blue Rock trap and rocks for cash in hand... purchase of "Gem" postcard printer for $5.50.

Nov 24 1939 - discussion of Legion play at some later date for the purpose of raising funds.

Dec 8 1939 - acknowledgment of flowers for Dr. Hunter by family... Comrade McCormick to act Santa Claus Dec 23... children to be 12 or under (committee appointed to judge age: K. Knifong, Wattenbarger and J. Ben Carter).

Jan 12 1940 - New member R.C. Bagley.

Apr 12 1940 - discussion of Oratorical Contest... committee of three to investigate possible purchase of the Old Methodist Church... continued sponsorship of the local Boy Scout troop carried... voted to continue Legion Home Coming (Sep 13 and 14)... discussion of including a 4-H Calf club show instead of an agriculture exhibit.

May 19 1940 - Order enough flags for Decoration Day... 4-H committee appointed.

Jun 28 1940 - Prizes for 4-H Club exhibits itemized in minutes... post to purchase a public address system for homecoming at $75... Homecoming to be published in papers by adjutant.

Aug 16 1940 - Boy Scout stand to sell pop, ice cream, hot dogs and candy bars... sending Wallace Grice a box of cigars at Excelsior Springs hospital... Election of officers: B Jay Harvey commander, Geo. E. Artz 1st vice commander, V.D. Grice 2nd vice commander, Chas. W. Gooch adjutant, Orvis K. Vincent finance officer, Aaron D. Peterson historian, Mack Molloy service officer, Chester L. McCormick chaplain, Ralph W. Morris sgt. at arms.

Sep 13 1940 - Net profit from Home Coming $244.21... letter from Browning Baby Beef Club... pay $15 to assist purchase of uniforms for Browning High School band (for three years of band's service at Homecomings).

Sep 27 1940 - assistance to Purdin legionnaires in operation of bingo game at Purdin Street Fair Oct 4 and 5... wiener roast at park for next meeting... joint installation with auxiliary.

Oct 11 1940 - motion carried to assist Browning High School band raise money for uniforms... furnishing a speaker at high school for Americanism program Nov 11.

Oct 25 1940 - to cash the bonds and pay for the property we purchased from Mrs. Healey when contract returns.

Nov 8 1940 - to see about buying stove, desk and chairs.

Nov 22 1940 - to install light meter with readings to start Dec 12.

Dec 13 1940 - $2 to Hardy Calhoun for making deed and notary work... $1 to Boys Town... pig hip or lamb fry to be Jan 10.

[a roster if members 1921-1922 follows the January 10 1941 minutes!]

Feb 28 1941 - Homecoming date set for Aug 22 and 23... will book a carnival... motion to let Boy Scouts use the Legion home for their meetings.

Mar 28 1941 - take out $600 insurance on Post home... send a carton of cigarettes to Ben Tompson... get Rainbo Bread soundtruck for homecoming.

Apr 11 1941 - to book K.M.B.C. Shows for 12 acts (six each day) for $240 for both days.

May 9 1941 - to get printed ribbons for calf show... calf show to be limited to Sullivan and Linn counties... 10 cents to be charged for afternoon and nights [admission?] with no pass outs.

May 23 1941 - same men to decorate graves as last year... motion carried to buy bolts for back doors... Lantz to paint and repair house.

Jun 27 1941 - Motion carried to run ad for sale of defense bonds.

Jul 25 1941 - Otto Johnson to have exclusive rights to implement show at homecoming for $10.

Aug 15 1941 - Dyle Peterson elected general chairman over the home coming... election of officers for 1942: Willie Ware commander, Clyde Cofer vice commander, Floyd Brown 2nd vice commander, Edward Lewis adjutant, O.K. Vincent finance officer, A.D. Peterson historian, Mack Molloy service officer, Rev Hall chaplain, Ray Wattenbarger sgt. at arms, A.D. Peterson child welfare.

Sep 26 1941 - to give as much as we can to help Ray Wattenbarger's son treated at the hospital... to paint the house Oct 3 with girls serving dinner at the house.

Oct 10 1941 - date set to paint house Oct 16... to have oyster stew at next meeting... wiener roast of William Wares Oct 22 all ex-servicemen and wives invited.

Oct 24 1941 - 48 members reported... motion approved to pay to have the Legion home painted. [it seems William Ware and John Keithley were underwriting cost].

Nov 7 1941 - 62 members... dues advanced to C. M. Elliott, Geo. Taylor, William Watson, Elmer Stufflebean, Mack Stoneking, William Err Crump, Emmett Sanders, Ray Myers, Lee Foster... [note: it seems a ploy to raise membership by urging these men to accept payment of their dues by the post and belated payment by the men. In no way does this reflect an inability to pay dues; it is one of many post-strategies to up its membership... membership being the most frequent and repetitive agenda item it seems... then and now!] Motion was made to enclose back porch the day the house is shingled.

Nov 27 1941 - Fern Carter appointed chairman for a carnival to be held Dec 19-20.

Dec 17 1941 - Carnival postponed indefinitely. [with not one word about World War II's beginning mentioned in the minutes!]



The World War II vets came home. They show up as guests at post meetings. They join the post over a period of years (from 1943 to 1947, mainly). Membership records show many were post members for only a year or two. It is likely that this brief involvement doesn't mean there was dissatisfaction with the American Legion; more likely, it means an old World War I song's line was still true: How you gonna keep them down on the farm after they've seen Paree? They came home. They left! Did they go looking for that pretty girl they saw from a train window in Chicago?

Note how minutes show the World War I vets helped these returning servicemen in solving unemployment problems, gaining vocational agriculture training, and otherwise encouraged the World War II vet to stay and be part of this community. But many had seen the salaries of those war-industry jobs and felt sure that their futures lay in the cities.

There were many who stayed in and around Browning, took on the burden of becoming community leaders, and became the founders of families of their own. Slowly, the officer lists of Post #274 showed the changeover from WWI to WWII participation and involvement of the younger vets in the many patriotic and civic enterprises of the post. By 1948 there is a noticeable shift to this younger-generation vet becoming the backbone of the post. Even so, there were the elders -- the patriarchs like O.K. Vincent and A.D. Peterson and others -- always there. There were those who were always lending an experienced-hand, guiding the Post.

Jan 21 1942 - Mabel Harvey to order a flag... Clyde Coffer to install a flagpole.

Apr 3 1942 - a form to be sent to each member asking for a dollar to paint the Legion home... to see Ola Knifong about painting the Legion home.

Apr 10 1942 - to cut tree and put up flag pole in front of house.

May 8 1942 - will decorate graves (list of cemetery assignments included).

July 17 1942 - Motion carried to NOT have Home Coming this year... Motion made and carried to take World War No 2 into the American Legion.... motion carried to make a drive for phonograph records (each man is expected to collect 25 phonograph records) to be left at C.W. Gooch's or drug store.

Sep 18 1942 - Street Fair stand profit was $45.00... election of officers: Dr. V.D. Grice commander, Fred Lumsden 1st vice commander, Willie Grindstaff 2nd vice commander, C.W. Gooch adjutant, O.K. Vincent finance officer, A.D. Peterson historian, C.L. McCormick chaplain, Ralph Morris sgt. at arms, W.R. Ware child welfare, Mack Molloy service officer.

Apr 9 1943 - forms to be printed asking each member for a dollar to help keep up our expenses this summer... to keep 200 rounds of ammunition and pay the $16 when we can.

May 14 1943 - assignments for grave decorating listed in minutes... motion carried to get a flag for Edward Lewis.

Sep 3 1943 - election of officers: Dr. V.D. Grice commander, Fred Lumsden 1st vice commander, Willie Grindstaff 2nd vice commander, C.W. Gooch adjutant, Harold Abbott finance officer, A.D. Peterson historian, C.L. McCormick chaplain, Ralph (?) sgt at arms, W.R. Ware child welfare, Mack Molloy service officer... motion carried to have a horse show... motion to buy a P.A. system for $75 (again?),

Oct 22 1943 - to give War Chest drive $5.00... Chili dinner to be second Friday in Nov.

Nov 12 1943 - appreciation letter from Geo. P. Fields now at Newton IA... a visitor R.A. (Rat) Thurlo recently returned from W.W. #2 services and three other boys of the members' families, all were welcome... motion carried to have a photo of the post's first commander, D.B. Hunter (deceased) who was due the credit for starting the charter of Claude Myers Post... A.D. Peterson appointed to secure the photo for enlargement and decorate the club room with same... motion carried for an honor roll of men and women now serving in World War No. 2 to be displayed in Legion club room. G.G. Freeland, C.L. McCormick and Geo. Artz to assemble names for same.

Mar 31 1944 - V.D. Grice and C.W. Gooch to get speaker for Honor Roll address at High School.

Apr 28 1944 - Motion carried to let the War Mothers hold their meetings here and give the Legion what they want to... motion carried to let Mrs. Emery Gray store her piano in Legion home.

Aug 11 1944 - motion carried to have a mellon feed Aug 25.

Sep 8 1944 - election of officers: Fred Lumsden commander, Glenn Freeland 1st vice commander, David Forbes 2nd vice commander, C.L. McCormick adjutant, C.W. Gooch finance officer, A.D. Peterson historian, Harold Abbott chaplain, Ralph Morris sgt. at arms, W.R. Ware child welfare, Mack Molloy service officer.

Oct 13 1944 - motion for having a Halloween Party and feed at Legion Hall... eats to be pumpkin pie, coffee and sandwiches.

[there are important payment lists and homecoming assignments in the back of this book.]

Oct 30 1944 - discussion of Eddie Cantor Xmas Gifts for Yanks who gave... motion carried to register protest over national and state legion newspapers carrying political ads... committee on Gifts for Yanks appointed.

Nov 24 1944 - Committee on Gifts for Yanks who Gave reported cash on hand of $40 and a few gifts... gifts to be bought, wrapped and sent to Department committee.

Dec 8 1944 - 5 members present... an entertainment committee appointed for stag socials and all future entertainment enterprises... to send Ed Lewis a carton of cigarettes or equal.

Mar 24 1945 - Fish fry to be held 2nd Friday in April... Comrade Earl M. Palmer in hospital at Wadsworth Ks... Legion home cleanup to be Sunday morning.

June 22 1945 - Flag committee sold 73 3x5 house flags and one 4x6 store flag for net profit of $87.03... Homecoming discussed... committee appointed to find carnival.

Jul 13 1945 - $1 sent to Boys Town.

Aug 24 1945 - 8 members present... election of officers for 1946: B.J. Harvey commander, M. Blaine White 1st vice commander, Mack Molloy 2nd vice commander, Chester L. McCormick adjutant, Wayne Gooch finance officer, Wm. Ware sgt at arms, Harold Bowyer service officer, A.D. Peterson assistant service officer, Harold Abbott chaplain.

Sep 28 1945 - 5 members present... motion to receive all new members who are still in service for national and department dues only ($2).

Nov 7 1945 - remarks by No. 2 vets very much appreciated and remarks by No. 1 vets followed. 43 members and guests present.

Nov 23 1945 - 91 paid-up members to date... 10 cents per bottle for each bottle of beer at monthly stag meetings rather than pro rata charging each member... chili feed furnished by auxiliary.

Dec 5 1945 - 26 members and 5 visitors present... music for the evening by Dowell Creason, Wm. R. Ware and Jimmie Sides.

Dec 14 1945 - to send Earl M. Palmer a potted plant for Xmas... covered dish luncheon served by auxiliary.

Jan 2 1946 - committee on revising constitution and by-laws appointed.

Jan 25 1946 - motion carried to allow all servicemen in hospitals a carton of cigarettes or equal; sick committee to have authority for this... discussion of unemployment of ex-servicemen... committee on employment appointed: A.D. Peterson, Gale Thurlo, and C.W. Gooch... to meet with Board of Directors of Citizens Savings Bank to discuss G.I. loans to World War II vets... new members: Herald Lambert, Geo. E. Kollasch, Gerald Wade... motion carried to purchase portrait of Gen. Pershing and Gen. Eisenhower.

Feb 6 1946 - 22 members and 3 visitors present... to buy material to make a lighted Legion emblem... six new members: Louis Austin, Vernon Devore, Francis Schrock, Leon Kenley, Leonard Mitchell, and Cecil Lay.

Feb 22 1946 - talk by Mr. Hunter on Boy Scout troop sponsored by Claude H. Myers post... committee to interview and submit names of responsible men to act on Scout Committee: Gerald Wade, Paul Ellsbury, Edw. Williams, Blaine White, and James Calhoun... Legion Homecoming to be Aug 8-10 with ad in KC Star for carnival and free acts.

Mar 5 1946 - to sponsor baseball team providing team can be self-supporting... post to observe midnight closing hour... limit of all crap and poker games to be ten cents... building to be insured for $1250. and contents for $250.

Mar 22 1946 - covered dish joint meeting of post and auxiliary with Betty White and Vena Wade in piano duet... business meeting followed... Scoutmaster Gerald Wade reported on Boy Scout movement... Herald Lambert to wire for lighting Boy Scout recreation... $2 assessment on membership to defray post expenses... four new candidates.

Apr 2 1946 - discussion of sending a boy to Boys State.

Apr 26 1946 - to have Memorial Day service at High School auditorium... program at 2:30 and parade at 2:00.

May 1 1946 - committee to attend mowing of park and cutting of trees for Legion carnival... ad to newspaper concerning flag display.

June 5 1946 - discussion of having fireworks... to send Aleck Murrain a card.

July 26 1946 - Junius Mundell gave a very thorough and interesting report on his trip to Missouri Boys State.

Aug 7 1946 - 24 members present... committee appointed to attend dedication of field piece at Linneus Aug 9... motion carried to pay post adjutant $5 per month beginning at end of 1946 Legion year.

Aug 23 1946 - letter to Senator Briggs demanding that vacancies for rural mail carriers at Browning be filled from eligible ex-servicemen... a committee headed by A.D. Peterson to promote and sponsor American Legion Junior baseball team. Election of officers for 1947: Ovid Atkins commander, Dayton Street 1st vice commander, John Owens 2nd vice commander, James Calhoun adjutant, Aaron D. Peterson finance officer, Travis Smith service officer, Gerald Wade assistant service officer, Harvy J. Neet historian, Chester L. McCormick chaplain, John Rensch sgt. at arms.

Nov 6 1946 - post went on record favoring a state bonus to WWII veterans... refreshments of native fried oysters and beer.

Nov 22 1946 - 24 members present... post to back comrade Peterson in rally for prospective junior ball players... committee in charge of Thanksgiving Dance... we were told by a member of old Browning Commercial Club we could use the old "Welcome to Browning" sign for an American Legion sign to be used along with another one in Purdin.

Dec 27 1946 - report on square dance showed profit of $27... Plans for New Years eve dance put in committee hands... next stag to be Jan 8... Peterson reported an enthusiastic turnout to the rally for junior baseball... committee for Jan 15 dance.

Jan 24 1947 - There were only 13 members present owing to conditions of roads... Date of Valentine's dance set and Fed(?) Smith orchestra engaged... Comrade Carter in Winters Hospital, Topeka... Adult vocational agriculture class for veterans was discussed (20 have signed)... building of an annex discussed.

Feb 28 1947 - Eddie Warren, assistant Department adjutant, illustrated the power of the Legion in his talk about pending legislation and the role of the Legion in getting it passed... a new Scout committee to be appointed.

Mar 28 1947 - committee could not contact Congressman Arnold about obtaining a surplus army building... Comrade Peterson authorized to engage the Blackwood Bros. quartet for Legion-sponsored entertainment... Scoutmaster Wade announced tag day was a success.

Apr 25 1947 - Comrade Mullanix explained the proposed school tax raise to the post and urged their support... Memorial Day services discussed.

May 24 1947 - Gene Bartow selected to go to Boys State... Plans were made for a ceremony consisting of a color guard and firing squad "of a unknown soldier's grave"... plans were made for a systematic decorating of all veterans' graves Memorial Day... committee appointed to investigate starting a softball team.

Jun 24 1947 - Comrade Peterson explained plan to raffle a new car Nov 11... post voted to turn Otto Johnson in for a citation for employing more veterans than any other employer in the locality... the post to borrow $100 to tide the post over until the receipt of 1948 dues.

Jul 25 1947 - Election of officers: Gerald Wade commander, Herb Boyles 1st vice commander, Carl Drake 2nd vice commander, Cecil Lay adjutant, A.D. Peterson finance officer, Carl Drake chaplain, Ovid Atkins service officer, Mack Molloy assistant service officer, James Calhoun historian, Harold Lambert sgt. at arms.

Aug 22 1947 - the general fund contains $139.50 with a $100 note at the bank... Joint installation with auxiliary... committees listed in minutes.

Sep 26 1947 - Ben Cassidy(sic) of Purdin is in Veterans Hospital, Wadsworth Ks. (leg amputated)... Earl Jones also at Wadsworth (seriously ill and note expected to live)... motion was made to secure a citation for MFA Coop of Browning on veterans employment... Dr. V.D. Grice to go to St. Joseph Rose Cranes to put a bid on a building to be used as a post club.

[in the back of this book are valuable rosters with deceased-notation by names; date of roster uncertain]

Oct 13 1947 - post decided to have bingo stand at school carnival; Carl Drake to get gifts for bingo stand... Dial(sic) Peterson gave report on findings at Rose Crane Air Field (which was no building suitable to our use)... Commander Wade gave report on vet burial service... it was decided we meet to practice as often as possible.

Oct 24 1947 - question as to when we go to Winigan to give the new comrades of that community the Obligations... decision to be left to the comrades of Winigan community... a minute of silent prayer in honor of departed comrades.

Nov 25 1947 - a card of appreciation from Mrs. D.B. Hunter and family... Earl Foster, commander of Laclede post, gave us a talk.

Nov 28 1947 - post to stay with Government surplus barracks idea for use in our building program... thanks to Mr. John Robison for the wheelchair given to the post... B.J. Harvey to be chairman of the Gifts for Yanks program... post to buy combination coal and gas range... voted to not let the hall or home for commercial usage... Comrade Peterson to contact Chester Bagley about renting his hall... auxiliary served a delicious chili supper.

Dec 26 1947 - Dial Peterson gave a report on renting I.O.O.F. Hall; the hall was not for rent... auxiliary served doughnuts and coffee.

Mar 26 1948 - checked out wheelchair must be rechecked every 30 days and transportation to go after it must be paid by the party who has it... Comrade Peterson authorized to buy the IOOF Hall for $2,500 or less if, after inspecting said building, it is considered worthy of purchase.

Apr 23 1948 - We will send Dale Fuller to Boys State with the ladies of our auxiliary paying half the $25 fee as they weren't sending a girl to Girls State... it was decided we discontinue work on the new building until the papers are okay.

May 19 1948 - Memorial services to be at school auditorium May 30 at 11 a.m.

May 28 1948 - minutes names men to place flags at veterans' graves in named-cemeteries... Home Coming to be Aug 5-7... committee chairmen named for same.

Jul 23 1948 - Jay Harvey is chairman of Home Coming and gave a report: everything is well in hand... potted plant to be wired to Ray Duncan... Election of officers: B.J. Harvey commander, Gerald Wade 1st vice commander, Travis Smith 2nd vice commander, Carl Abbott 3rd vice commander, Cecil Lay adjutant, Dial Peterson finance officer, Ovid Atkins/Mack Molloy/Herb McCollum service officers, Carl Drake chaplain, James Calhoun historian, Harold Lambert sgt. at arms... plans for annual District Convention on Jul 25: Ovid Atkins parade sergeant, Donald Knifong and Spencer Britton color guard, and Wm. Ware in charge of colors.

Aug 27 1948 - homecoming profit was $554.97... motion carried to discontinue giving flowers but we give service and furnish the American Legion grave marker at funerals... shrimp and beer at the next stag... the following committees set up: Eats for stags, publicity, canteen, entertainment, membership west, membership south, membership east, membership north, membership town, dance, and the stand at Pershing Park dedication.

This history of Post and Unit #274 was not intended to be an abstract of ALL the minutes. It was meant to show that the American Legion and Legion Auxiliary in Browning and its surroundings has been -- and can still be -- the stable underpinnings of this community. No single organization has done so much for the town as this one -- the men and women of the Legion. Aside from those things witnessed by those who wrote the minutes of the post and unit, these veterans served as mayors and councilmen and school board members. They were the grain farmers and stock breeders and businessmen and the taxpayers and parents of the current generation in this community.

We have reached back to recorded history, now, because the last of the first of them is gone!

About the women: A junior auxiliary member, granddaughter of a WWI veteran, needs to know she is member of an honorable and somewhat exclusive club. It's a rule of the Legion: Post members must serve their country during war-time. The auxiliary is slightly different when it comes to eligiblity; it is what one might call a "hereditary society" -- like the Daughters of the American Revolution or Descendants of the Mayflower. To be an Auxiliary member you must be mother, wife, sister, daughter, granddaughter or great granddaughter of a veteran who served in war-time (not necessarily a member of Post #274).

From old records of Unit #274: "The American Legion Auxiliary was first organized in Browning approximately the year 1927 and disbanned approximately 1933 to be reorganized permanently April 10, 1935." Even earlier than 1927 the "auxiliary" is mentioned in Post minutes. Who started this post and unit and when they were started are questions of less importance in THIS history than: Who belonged and what they have done for Browning and its surroundings? This is our focus, here.

In a recent talk at a post and unit officer installation, the speaker said there are 3,500,000 members of the American Legion and 91,000 die each year. In Linn county as of 1992, there are 1,210 veterans and 725 are legionnaires. As it should be, war is becoming less the favorite tool of international politics and disputes. And as the veterans of past wars die, we are losing our legion membership and our post's history. We forgetting who they were who were these men who were so instrumental in making this (and ALL communities in the United States) what they are and what they will be.

To be eligible for membership in the American Legion the veteran must serve during a "war era". This would be April 6 1917-November 11 1918, December 7 1941-December 31 1946, June 25 1950-January 31 1955, December 22 1961-May 7 1975 (defining WWI, WW2, Korea, and Vietnam)... etc. The narrow gaps between those year-spans make some veterans ineligible for Legion membership. Perhaps some future policy of The American Legion will recognize the obvious face: Once you take the oath that obliges you to do the bidding of your commander in chief, you are at risk. Until this is changed, Post #274 and all of the Legion must live with these absurd war-era definitions of when your military service counts. The armed American who stood looking across the barrier at wall's Checkpoint Charlie in cold-war Berlin was probably in the crosshairs of a ready-enemy even though the American Legion doesn't acknowledge it he served in a very real a war-era. Post #274 salutes ALL who wore the uniforms of the United States (including Confederate and Union soldier in the Civil War). This history, while telling the story of Post #274, embraces the American veteran of all times and wars.

In Mt. Zion Cemetery (one of Sullivan County's Post #274-decorated cemeteries) is the grave of one John Opel. John was awarded the highest of military honors: The Congressional Medal of Honor. His bravery occurred in the Civil War. Established by George Washington, the Medal of Honor has been presented to fewer than 400 of our nation's heros! Another grave (in Price Cemetery) is that of a veteran of the War of 1812. This, too, is a man we honor. Safeguarding our country and its ideals spans wars and times and service that range more sweeping than what WE saw and WE remember.

You are invited to examine the minutes which carry the post from 1948 to the present. You can read the history of the Legion Auxiliary in minutes from 1935 onward. But, here, we have given you a "background" that is unavailable otherwise. Re-read the original purposes of The American Legion in this book. Join in remembering those buried in our cemeteries, post member or not, who served our country by military service to it.


During 1992 Orvis K. Vincent died. It seemed high time to review the post's history and name all the legionnaires who were members of this post.

We have six to nine who attend post meetings on a regular basis. There have been 517 members of this Legion post. We carry over 100 paid-members a year on our rolls. The auxiliary unit has had 364 members since it was formed in 1935. It, too, suffers the condition of having too few at its monthly meetings. We must find a future worth living as legionnaires and auxiliary members or there is no future for this post and unit -- nor for any other larger or smaller ones in this country. We were NOT organized to run a bingo parlor or be turkey shoot sponsors. Or were we? If not more than that, then be finished with it and let this be our goodbye to comrades and ideas once noble and patriotic.

Our fathers passed on to us the patriotism they felt for their country and their love for the American Legion's ideals. We shall not forget them. You will not forget US. Remember us and renew us through your own contribution to a worthwhile future.


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