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PO BOX 421, Port Byron, IL

Post: 0421 COE-LAMB

Post History

Post 421 was named in honor of Albert Coe and Benjamin Lamb, who both died while serving their Country in World War I, in the line of duty.

In the summer of 1919, a big home-coming picnic was held at the Fairfield School in honor of the Fellows returning from service after the war. Almost everyone, from this area was there.

Shortly after this, talk began about organizing an American Legion Post, and in late 1919 on the 2nd of December, an informal meeting was held to organize the post. Temporary officers were elected, with Frank Bruner, of Cordova, acting as commander. A petition for a charter was signed by the following:

Frank E. Bruner 

Ernest Willie

Harvey Walker 

Nicholas Koch

Ira Ziegler

Tom Montgomery

Harley Spoor

Dave Crawford

Seth Pettit 

Dempsey Wells

Earl Forsythe 

Albert Calsen

Richard Ely

Abram Adams

John E. Smith 

Elmer WasseIl

Harry Sidlinger 

Floyd Robinson

Charles Weideman 

Theo. Abrahamsen

Daniel Sachau 

Stacy Armstrong

Manley Boardman

Charles C. Craig

Harvey Weideman 

Clyde Smith

Frank Case

Harry Engdahl

Arthur Samuelson

Ben Sachau

Virgil Eipper

 

 

Tom Montgomery, Art Samuelson and Harvey Weideman were appointed to draw up the by-laws. This was done and the by-laws were approved by the membership.

In 1920 they voted to adapt the model by-laws sent to them by the American Legion, Department Of Illinois. Frank Bruner was now the first and regular Commander of the Post. The membership decided to hold their meetings on the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month. Their meetings were held in the upper story of the building which was at that time the Village Hall and the Fire Station which has since been demolished. This building was where the picnic shelter currently is located across the street from the current Village Hall and Fire Station.

The first year, the Post had 51 members and a lot of work to get everything straightened out. They also had to figure out some money making projects. Movies, dances, and socials were all tried.  In the early years of the Post, movies seemed to be their biggest money maker, and Coe Township Red Cross made several donations which helped very much.

A special meeting was held July 22, 1921 to line up the details for the arrival and burial of Albert Coe, one of the men whom the Post is named after.

Firing squad, Honor guard, Color Bearers Color Guard were all picked. Everything was ready when the body arrived.

In April, 1922, Coe Lamb Post 421 appointed a committee to obtain 10 names for the Charter for the Ladies Auxiliary. The Post would also pay the $5.00 for the Charter.           

The Post moved along as well as possible through the early 30's. Money was quite scarce and it was a hard job to sign up members.

In 1939 the Legion Home began to show wear. They estimated it would take at least $250.00 for repairs. They looked around for another building, but decided to repair the old one. On Sunday, October 13th, they decided to have a potluck dinner with the purpose of doing the repair work on the Legion Home. The following summer the home was painted.

In 1942, shortly after Pearl Harbor, the Post offered their services in many ways. They had a salvage drive and turned the money over to the U.S.O. for service work.

The Post appointed a Transportation Officer for the purpose of coordinating the forming of Ride Pools.

The Legion Hall was used by the Red Cross.

In 1945 and 1946 the younger veterans began to return from all parts of the world. Before long, a greater number would arrive. Therefore action began to step up toward a new building. They began a membership drive through the upper end of the County. In March of 1946 the old home was sold. to the highest of 6 sealed bids for $1,711.00.

The meetings were held in the Village Building for some time. They were then moved to the Grade School.

In 1948 the hard work began. A great deal of money would have to be raised. The plans were agreed on and the building site purchased from Byron Skelton.

A great number of people deserve a lot of credit. The townspeople made some very nice donations, along with other help. The Auxiliary donated a great deal of money and helped whenever they could. The War Mothers also donated. Many members put in a great deal of hard hours. The building spot was almost solid rock.

In late 1949 the building was being used, although it wasn't finished.

Coe-Lamb Post 421 now had well over 100 members; the high in 1955 with a membership of 158.

The Post has been quite active for a number of years. They sponsored the Boy Scouts and a boy for Boy's State each year. Legion Awards are presented to Junior High and Senior High students each year. They donated money to a lot of worthy causes.

In order to raise this money they have had dances, raffles, smokers, horse shows, dinners, and several other projects. A great deal of the money has been used to finish the Post Home.

The oil furnace was replaced a couple of years later with gas heaters, one large one and three smaller ones. This was paid off within a year. Now the money is going toward a new roof, gutters, and painting. All are needed in the worst way. This will be worked out if the fellows keep working together.

This history was copied from a pamphlet written by Dome and Jerry Light and distributed during the1965 Frontier Days Celebration.  

After 1965 the Post, with the help of the Auxiliary, remained very active in promoting good citizenship in our area.   They continued to sponsor many youth groups, promote athletics, donate to a multitude of charities, furnish military funerals, and help anyone in need.   This dedication continues today.

The despicable actions of the media and the anti-war activists during the Vietnam War caused ill feeling toward the military at the time.   History shows these people ended with the blood of a million Vietnamese on their hands as anyone who helped the Americans were put to death after the Americans pulled out.  The military had the war won but had to walk away in defeat.   Our fighters came home in disgrace.  

Thankfully the mood of the country has changed in later years and the people who put their life on the line for their country are being recognized for what they are, heroes.   We currently have a good mix of ages and about 100 members.    Post 421 will continue to serve Port Byron and the surrounding area meeting in the City Hall the 4rd Monday of each month at 7:00pm.    We look forward to another 90 plus years serving the community.    

 

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