History of Lowville Memorial Post 162
A meeting was called by a few members of the Armed Forces in St. Louis to make plans to organize a World War I Veterans' Organization in the United States. This meeting in March, 1919, was the start of the American Legion as it is known today. As early as June 1919, a local Post was formed in the Village of Lowville by the late Claude Dekin and the late Ernest Wolfe with fifteen members. The Post was assigned the number 162 by the State organization and was known as Lowville Post No. 162. The original charter dated July 25the, 1919 contained the following names: H A. Bassett, N. C. Bateman, C. Ralph Boshart, William F. D'Aran, Claude A Dekin Murray Dekin, F. S. Easton, Jr., S. J. Harris, Henderson Lane, S. B. Miller, M. B. Moran, Gerald A. Nortz, Russell Peckham, Raymond Richardson, Ernest J. Wolfe The first commander of the Post was C. Ralph Boshart.
Between 1920 and 1923 Post quarters were maintained in the Times block. As the membership enlarged it became necessary to hold meetings in a larger place. Therefore monthly meetings and dinners were held at different places such as the Fire Hall, Strife House and Windsor Hotel or other various places that could accommodate the growing membership. This method of meeting was continued until 1929 when the old G. A. R. rooms in the Town Hall (now the Town Hall Theater) were taken over. The Post occupied these rooms until 1937 when the top floor of the Black River National Bank building was leased.
During World War II the National Legion constitution was amended giving the World War II veterans the right to join the American Legion. As these veterans returned home the Legion membership increased from 106 in 1943 to 500 in 1946. The past few years (1965) the average membership has been about 300. Veterans of the Korean conflict have also become eligible to belong to the American Legion.
On March 1, 1945, the Post bought and equipped their present home on Dayan Street. About this same time the Post's name was changed from Lowville Post No. 162 to Lowville Memorial Post No. 162. The home was dedicated as a memorial to those service men from the village who had given their lives for their country.
The main projects of the American Legion Sons Chartered December 11th, 1939, with its Auxiliary Chartered January 13th, 1933 are the rehabilitation of our veterans, Americanism, and child welfare. In 1929 the American Legion Christmas Cheer Program was started toys were repaired and that year 52 children were given presents. The project has continued throughout the years. This past year (1970) 132 children in Lowville and vicinity were participants of toys, food, and some clothing from the American Legion Christmas Cheer. In recent years the Auxiliary holds a Christmas Party with toys, games and food.
In 1925 the American Legion took over the Memorial Day parade and services like placing flags on the graves of deceased veterans from the *Grand Army of the Republic (G. A. R.) In connection with Memorial Day the Legion places flags on the graves of the deceased veterans from all wars in Lowville and vicinity.
The Lowville Post Drum Corps was organized in 1932 by the late Ernest J. Wolfe. This corps consisted of twenty-four men. Henry Schaab was the first drum major having been replaced only by Loren Bush, the present drum major. This year the corps purchased new bugles and drums for the first time since 1932. In 1933 this corps was considered the drum champions of Northern New York, having taken first place in most all Northern New York competition.
Throughout the thirty-five years of its existence, the Lowville Memorial Post has been honored by having members serve on National, State and District Committees. District Commanders have been the late D. P. Carey (1933-34): Stuart J. Harris (1939-40) and C. D. Kingsbury (1945-46). In 1946 Mr. Kingsbury was elected State Vice-Commander and in 1948 was elected and elevated to the top position of the American Legion in the State of New York as Commander. Mr. Kingsbury is the only member of the Lowville Post at the present time to hold a life membership in the American Legion. The present commander is Lloyd Rasmussen.
Today Lee Hinkleman is the current Commander.
*GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC
With the Organization of the American Legion Post one might reasonably say that the Guilford D. Bailey Post No. 200. Department of New York, Grand Army of the Republic, gracefully bowed out of existence. This G. A. R. Post was first originated in September, 1882 with the Honorable Henry E. Turner, Commander. At one time the Post had a membership of 206. The soldiers' monument in the park between State Street and West State Street, in front of the Presbyterian Church, was erected under its auspices.