American Legion, Harwood Post, Joliet, Illinois
From: History of Will County, Illinois
By: August Maue
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1928


The American Legion, Harwood Post No. 5, Joliet. - The American Legion had its inception in Paris, France, on Feb. 15 to 19, 1919, when General Headquarters called together a group of 20 officers to confer with certain officers of the regular army regarding the improvement of conditions and the development of contentment in the American forces in France. A temporary committee was formed with Lieut. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., as chairman and Lieut. Col. Eric Fisher Wood as temporary secretary.

The Paris caucus convened at the American Club on March 15, 16, and 17, 1919. About one thousand delegates, of all ranks from private to brigadier general attended this caucus. They selected "The American Legion" as a tentative name and also adopted a tentative constitution very similar to what became later the permanent constitution at Minneapolis, Minn The committee met in Paris on April 17, 1919, and appointed a committee of fifteen to work in the United States.

A caucus was called in St. Louis, May 9, 10, 1919. Illinois with 112 delegates had the largest representation at this gathering. The Illinois delegation worked harmoniously and its efforts were felt throughout the entire session. A State Organization Committee was elected, composed of the following: Pence B. Orr, Joliet; Robert H. Engle, Freeport; Thomas F. Harwood, Bloomington; H. W. Weber, Urbana; Leo G. Hanna, Peoria; G. G. Seaman, Taylorville; J. McGlynn, East St. Louis; W. R. McCauley, Olney; Wm. D. Knight, Rockford; B. J. Arnold, Chicago; J. P. Cummings, Chicago; C. L. Courier, Chicago; Marshall Field III, Chicago; Cornelius Lynd, Chicago.

On March 15, 1919, ten ex-soldiers met at Knapp's Hall, and formed a temporary post. Harwood Post No. 5 was chartered in May, 1919, consisting of 48 charter members. The first commander of the post was Rugar Young, 1919; Dr. W. R. Fletcher, 1920; R. A. P. Holderby, 1921; Glenn Cowing, 1922; Pence B. On, 1923; H. E. Newton, 1924; Ray Bassett, 1925; H. C. Todd, 1926; J. Paul O'Hern, 1927; Dr. W. Preston, 1928. On Aug. 29 and 30, 1927, the Illinois State Convention was held in Joliet, and from 10 to 12 thousand ex-soldiers were in the line of march.

Harwood Post No. 5 has a membership of about 800 men.


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