History

American Legion and Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie Post 29
Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie
© 2013 Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie American Legion Post 29. All Rights Reserved.

THE AMERICAN LEGION

was

chartered

and

incorporated

by

Congress

in

1919

as

a

patriotic

veterans

organization

devoted

to

mutual

helpfulness.

It

is

the

nation’s

largest

veteran’s

service

organization,

committed

to

mentoring

and

sponsorship

of

youth

programs

in

our

communities,

advocating

patriotism

and

honor,

promoting

a

strong

national

security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.

KEESLER-HAMRICK-GILLESPIE AMERICAN LEGION POST #29

was

officially

organized

on

October

1,

1919

at

a

special

called

meeting,

by

Monroe

McClung,

Jr.

That

meeting

was

held

in

the

Grand

Jury

Room

of

the

Leflore

County

Courthouse.

All

applications

for

membership,

along

with

$2.00

annual

dues,

of

which

$1.75

was

to

be

submitted

with

the

application

for

charter

to

State

Headquarters

by

October

7,

1919.

The

original

41

members were:

Edwin

B.

Kerst,

William

T.

Threekeld,

William

B.

Gist,

Charles

P.

Greill,

John

E.

Turner,

Rob’t

W.

Ramsey,

Arthur

Bruce,

A.R.

Reeves,

M.F.

Pierce,

J.G.

Colson,

Robert

H.

Wilson,

Sam

M.

Burkhalter,

James

V.

Bealle,

Sydney

C.

Lenoir,

Harry

Hulen,

Monroe

McClung,

R.W.

Anderson,

R.W.

Brown,

F.T.

Anderson,

R.V.

Barber,

F.M.

Witty,

David

Smith,

J.R.

Smith,

E.M.

Herr,

R.E.

Mathews,

C.S.

McClaskey,

B.K.

Pearce,

W.S.

Compton,

S.E.

Barnwell,

Jr.,

T.R.

Wells,

L.B.

Peterson,

A.A.

Marx,

J.W.

Smylie,

L.

Scruggs,

D.H.

Williams,

H.L.

Stoddard,

R.R.

Brigance,

M.W.

Steele, Earle Equen, W.H. Reeves and Barton Todd.

In

April,

1920

at

a

largely

attended

meeting

of

the

Post,

“Three

Soldiers

of

Leflore

County

Who

Made

Supreme

Sacrifice

are

Given

Honor”

when

the

Post

was

officially

renamed

KEESLER

HAMRICK

GILLESPIE

American

Legion

Post

#29

in

Honor

of

2nd

Lieutenant

Samuel

Reeves

Keesler,

1st

Lieutenant

Henry

Ward

Hamrick

and

1st

Lieutenant

James Gordon Gillespie.

During

the

fall

of

1924,

Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie

American

Legion

Post

#29

was

responsible

for

laying

the

ground

work

and

spearheading

the

placement

of

metal

cylinders

in

the

sidewalks

of

all

prominent

streets

of

Greenwood

for

the

display

of

the

American

Flag

on

appropriate

holidays

and

other

celebration

occasions.

Some

of

the

cylinders

are

visible

to

this

day.

Additionally,

Post

#29’s

members

led

the

efforts

to

advise

the

citizenry

of

Greenwood

on

how

to

properly

and

uniformly

display the Flag.

April,

1928

brings

the

announcement

that

the

foundation

was

being

laid

for

the

“American

Legion

Arena”. The athletic arena was to be completed by June at the corner of River Front and Walthall, in

the

rear

of

the

E.K.

Myrick

plant.

Work

was

under

the

direction

of

Legionnaire

Earl

Equen.

When

completed

this

was

to

be

the

most

modern

stadium

in

“most

of

modern

Mississippi”.

Shaped

in

a

square,

with

1200

seating

capacity,

it

was

intended

for

those

“interested

in

promoting

boxing

and

wrestling”.

In

May,

1928

while

the

stadium

was

still

under

construction

Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie

American

Legion Post #29 held its first boxing exhibition with a “splendid card” for “the lovers of the sport”.

April,

1929

announced

they

were

proceeding

with

the

placement

of

a

top

on

the

“River

Front

Stadium”. The plans were prepared by Mr. Bobby Moor.

July

21,

1941

after

previous

attempts

were

made

to

construct

an

American

Legion

Hut,

it

was

announced

that

“Ground

was

Broken

this

morning

on

the

new

$8,500

Legion

Hut,

which

is

being

built

by

the

Keesler-Hamrick-Gillespie

Post

of

the

American

Legion”.

R.

J.

Moor

was

the

supervising

architect

and

S.

L.

McGinnis

and

Son

were

the

construction

contractors.

The

official

ground

breaking

was

attended

by

the

“Building

Committee

composed

of

Jack

Hinton,

John

Fant,

Angelo

Liollio, Dr. L. B. Otken and Tom Flowers”.

November

6,

1941

saw

the

dedication

of

the

newly

constructed

American

Legion

Hut.

“Jack

Carley,

editorial

writer

for

the

Memphis

Commercial

Appeal,

will

be

the

principal

speaker

tonight

at

the

formal

dedication

of

the

Leflore

County

Memorial

to

Veterans

of

the

World

War

on

West

Claiborne.

Members

of

the

families

of

Samuel

R.

Keesler,

Jr.,

Captain

Ward

Hamrick,

and

First

Lieut.

Gordon

Gillespie, the three sons of Greenwood, who gave the supreme sacrifice and for whom the post was

named will be honor guests at the dedication.”

The

American

Legion’s

success

depends

entirely

on

active

membership,

participation

and

volunteerism.

The

organization

belongs

to

the

people

it

serves

and

the

communities

in

which

it

thrives.

(Historical information extracted or copied from The Commonwealth, The Greenwood Daily Commonwealth, The Greenwood Commonwealth newspapers and aboutgreenwoodms.com.)

Meeting 1st Monday of each month.

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