Shortly after the “War to end all Wars” in 1919, war veteran Lieut. Clifford Powell came through Toms River and “stirred up the boys just back from the war to start up a Post of the American Legion”.
October 21, 1919 a meeting was called to order at the Court House by Ocean County Common Pleas Judge William Howard Jeffrey for the prupose of organizing a branch “Post” of the American Legion. About twenty-five veterans were in attendance. Judge Jeffrey was assisted by Leo Babchin, the American Legion County Chairman. Leroy Grant was appointed temporary secretary. Temporary officers were nominated and duly elected: Post commander, Col. Carlton F Ellwell, as Post Adjutant, Huelings A. Sever and as Post Finance Officer Nelson A. Cowdrick. Yearly dues were set at $1.50. The meeting was adjourned to October 27th.
The next formal organizational meeting was called to order at the courthouse on October 27th at 8:00PM and additional officers were elected. Vice Commander, Lester McCarthy, Historian, Wallace Havens and Charles Newman as Finance Officer. George Potter Vanderveer a 19 year old young man from Bayville was adopted as our namesake. George passed away at Fort Porter, near Buffalo NY, from the effects of shell shock and gas attacks. He was the first young from Ocean County to be killed in the war.
At this meeting the Toms River Fire Company extended an invitation for the post to participate in their Armistice Day Parade on November 11th, 1919. Following the Parade the fire company presented Post 129 with a flag, mounted on a ten foot oaken staff, the staff is still in our possession and proudly displays our national colors in the foyer of our post home on Church Rd. In 2019 the American Legion itself will be 100 years old and our flag staff commemorates that event. The coupling inscription reads:
Presented to George P. Vanderveer
Post 129 The American Legion
Co. 1 and the Ladies Auxiliary Toms River Fire Department
November 11th 1919
Shortly after christmas 1919, Mrs. Euphenia Vanderveer, mother of George P. Vanderveer, presented a framed photograph of her son to the post. The photo was taken while he was in boot camp before going to war, and hangs in our foyer. George’s picture will also be 100 years old at our centennial.
Post 129 has come a long way since 1919. A post home was erected in Toms River 1924-25. The property was purchased from Deloro Potter for $2000 at 6% interest, the post had the mortage paid off about 10 years later. In 1924 Dover Township had approved a contract to build an elementary school on property on the east side of Hyers St. The township approached the post with a proposition to purchase a portion of the property for a road between Main St. and Hyers St. Post 129 offered to sell a 100 foot wide portion of thier land for $100 per foot in width, with the proviso that it be named ‘Legion Court’ the town agreed and contracts were signed.
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