Ernest M. Coulter Post No. 69 - American Legion

Typed by Rita Millis from a history originally done about 1955 - 14 August 2000

by Fred C. Schroeder, Historian

Ernest M. Coulter Post No. 69 was organized in May 1919 being one of the first of the Posts to be organized in the state.

May 14th

W. S. McClure of the Local Board for Crawford County had issued a call for all Marines, soldiers and sailors who had served during the recent World War to appear at the Court House in the city of Robinson, Illinois. On Saturday, May 24th, 1919 for the purpose of forming a temporary organization of World War veterans. As the formation of such organizations were being formed all over the Country.

May 24th, 1919

On this day about 200 of the Veterans of World War met at the Court House and perfected a Temporary Organization. The meeting was called to order by W. E. McClure who was Chairman of the Local Board of this county and a prayer by Ward Black opened the meeting. After stating the reason for the meeting for an organization, Mr. McClure asked for nominations for Commander, the presiding officer. He further stated that whatever officers were elected would hold office until such time that a Charter would be received and a Constitution and by-laws drawn up. With appropriate introductory remarks on the length and faithfulness of his service, the name of Lieutenant Theodore D. Meserve was placed in nomination and he was elected unanimously.

As a result of this meeting the Ernest M. Coulter Post No. 69 was organized and a charter applied for with Theodore D. Meserve as Commander. The others elected were Senior Vice Commander Lieutenant E. F. Mail. Junior Vice Commander Frank Hunt. Adjutant Lieutenant Ruben Wood from Oblong, Illinois. Quartermaster Dr. Ramon Jones. The Post was named after Ernest M. Coulter an overseas casualty of World War No. 1.

These officers elected at the organization of the Post held office until February 1920 when the Charter was received and a permanent organization was formed with the election of the following officers were elected as follows: T. D. Meserve; Commander, L. H. Brigham, Vice Commander; Dr. Ramon Jones, Secretary and Treasurer.

The following were places as used in the past; Circuit Court Room, Community Building, Brubaker Block and a few other places. The following are a few of the community services rendered are as following: Presenting the American Legion Medal to some ranking students one to a girl and one boy each year; annually sending some boys to Boys State (all expenses paid); Sponsoring Junior baseball team, giving financial aid to worthy civic organizations; Fourth of July celebration each year and policing the same; keeping a chart and seeing that each veterans grave has a U. S. flag placed on it each Memorial Day.

In October 1930 a committee was appointed to purchase a home for the Post. October 21, 1930 the purchasing committee reported that the Eagle building on North Cross St. had been purchased. The committee that made the report was P. G. McCarty, E. C. Winterringer, V. Littlejohn, Lyle Cunningham, L. H. Brigham Jr., and Ray Ridgway.

The Legion dedicated its new home in April 1931. Following a brief ceremony at the new home, a parade led by the Effingham Drum and Bugle Corps marched to the Court House where a community meeting was held in the Circuit Court room. Mayor L. S. Heath gave the welcoming address on behalf of the city of Robinson. Others talks were given by State Commander Arthur Poorman and Treasurer Edward J. Barrett of the State of Illinois, and State Legion Chaplain D. J. Thornton.

A manufactured granite pedestal was erected on the Court House grounds to support the old Civil War cannon, the wooden carriage of which had become badly decayed. The Ernest M. Coulter Post No. 69

sponsored the building of the pedestal. The pedestal was designed by the Past commander, Leon F. Walker. The pedestal was unveiled during the Memorial Day parade.

March 15th 1949

Commander C. F. Van Ducen appointed the following members to serve on a building committee to secure a site for a new home: A. F. Ferchow, Chairman, H. L. Thompson, H. E. Schmalhausen, Ansel Schmalhausen, and Don Montgomery.

July 1919

Building committee recommended that the Legion purchase the Swern Lots on East Main street for $8000.00 and the two houses that were on the property.

August 1951

Commander Buford Johnson names the following Building Committee: J. O. Maxwell, Eugene H. Schmalhausen, R. H. Mail, C. F. Van Ducen, Ansel Schmalhausen, Alan Schlosser. Finance Committee, H. E. Schmalhausen, Joe Benson, Vern Littlejohn, and Carl Reeve.

March 4th 1952

The Building Committee submitted a report on bids received the bids were as follows:

Phillips - Building of brick $88,985.20
Lytle Electric $3,662.00
Dhom Plumbing and Heating $15,014.66

These bids were accepted.

May 20th 1952 Excavation started by the contractor

June 3rd 1953 First meeting held in the new home. Dedication of the new home was on June 13 and 14, 1953.

The new $150,000 American Legion home of Ernest M. Coulter Post 69 was dedicated as a memorial for the Crawford County veterans of all wars that died in the service of this Country. Talks were made by State Commander Pierce F. Brautigam, Congressman Peter J. Mack, William E. Bradbury and Paul Broyles, State Senator.

American Legion Preamble -- Ernest M. Coulter Post No. 69

For God and country we associate ourselves together for the following purposes--To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to defend law and order; to foster and perpetrate the memories and incidents of our associations in the Great Wars; to include a sense of individual obligation to the community, state, and nation; to combat the autocracy of both classes and the masses; to make right the master of might; to promote peace and good will on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.

American Legion Ernest M. Coulter Post No. 69 Past Commanders

1919 T. D. Meserve
1920 L. H. Brigham
1921 E. F. Mail
1922 Charles Gatton
1923 Wm. E. Bradbury
1924 Harold Newlin
1925 H. W. Clady
1925 James Malcolm

1926 A. C. McCoy
1927 Charles Utterback
1928 Leon F. Walker
1929 Virgil Gatton
1930 Ralph Matthews
1931 Vern Littlejohn
1931 John Criss
1932 A. G. Schmalhausen
1933 Ray Ridgway
1934 H. L. Thompson
1935 H. E. Schmalhausen
1936 Harry Wilson
1937 John Johnson
1938 Otis Keiffer
1939 H. E. Price
1940 M. A. Wood
1941 Wm. R. Keeley
1942 A. V. Coulter
1943 M. E. "Mud" Mennicke
1944 C. W. Goyert
1945 John O. Maxwell
1946 Clyde Frye
1947 Dean Rankin
1948 Henry Michael
1949 C. F. Van Ducen
1950 Boyd Dix
1951 Kenneth B. French
1952 and 1953 Buford P. Johnson
1954 Troy Pulliam
1955 Harold Montgomery
1956 Warren D. Talley

Charter Members Ernest M. Coulter Post No. 69

Theodore D. Meserve, Eugene F. Mail, Ramon Jones, Frank S. Hunt, Ruben Wood, Stoy J. Maxwell, Alan G. Brooks, Donald M. Taylor, J. Lawrence Mulvanis, Henry Clay Kent, Willis M. Palmer, Dougles R. Dewey, Ralph Green, Reed C. Lathrop, Oden F. Smith, Loren H. Brigham, Carl Green, Lester L. Mitchell, William E. Bradbury, Wm. F. Merrick, Charles E. Jones, Parmer L. Boyd, William R. Shipman, Julian H. Joseph, Arthur V. Coulter, Benjamin H. Highsmith, Ben F. Boring, Raymond G. Mann, Ralph T. Newlin, and Russell L. Lowe.

American Legion Auxiliary

After the organization of Ernest M. Coulter Post No. 69 and on April 20, 1921, all women and girls eligible to join were invited to attend a meeting at which the Legion Commander talked to them about organizing an auxiliary to the Legion Post, explaining the purposes of such an organization. Miss Ruth V. Coulter, sister of Ernest M. Coulter (for whom the post was named), was selected as Temporary Chairman and Mrs. Walter G. Hall as Temporary Secretary and Treasurer. Mrs. C. V. Coulter, mother of Ernest M. Coulter, was also active in the organization of the unit and continued her activities throughout her life. Forty-four women and girls signed the petition for a charter.

Later that year Miss Coulter was elected President of the Unit and meetings were held regularly although the Charter was not issued until November 13, 1923.

By February 1929, the Auxiliary had reached a total of 80 members. Following World War II, when the veterans of that war joined forces with the veterans of World War I, the membership increased greatly and this year reached an all time high of 500.

Four members of the Unit have served as District Directors--Mrs. Marguerite Huls, Mrs. Margaret Claypool, Mrs. Genevieve Schmalhausen, and Mrs. Lillie Bachelor.

Although the Auxiliary takes an active part in civic and patriotic affairs much of their effort is toward helping hospitalized service men and the widows and children of the servicemen of both wars.


This page last updated on February 05, 2015.