American Legion LeBron Post 58
Copyright 2015 © American Legion LeBron Post 58. All Rights Reserved.
Charted October 4, 1919 with the following chapter members: Joe S. Hewett, Edgar Herrick, Charles Franklin White, John B. Gatchell, Harvey E. Matchett, L.R. Traband, Harry A. Matchett, Herbert W. James, Harry Weinberger, Ernest L. Halstead, Cecil M. Williams, Jefferson S. Ewing, Lester H. Housh, Edgar S. Lehmann, and Theodore M. Filson.
The first elected officers were Herbert James, Commander, Harold P. Cook, Vice Commander, John B. Gatchell, Adjutant, Steve Huffstutler, Finance Officer. Their meeting place was over the Cooksey grocery store, (now Guthrie Savings and Loan Building), where they met and had dances for their social life and stage some boxing contests as a source of revenue. The Post continued to operate from its headquarters above Cooksey grocery until 1929 when E.M. McIntyne was elected Commander. The Legionnaires then moved their meeting place to a room over Guthrie Daily Leader Office and continued to meet there until 1932. Ted Kellogg was elected Commander and at that time they purchased the property at 424 East Oklahoma where they remained for several years.
In 1931 the Post took on a minor undertaking that was to later become Guthrie's biggest single event. The 89er Celebration, commemorating the great homestead race of April 22, 1889, started out as a picnic and evolved into the mammoth parade and celebration that we know today. The celebration in its early years attracted presidential hopefuls Alf Landon of Kansas in 1936 and Paul V. McNutt of Indiana in 1940. However, the most colorful figure ever was Mayor Fiorello La Guardia of New York who donned a big white had and led the 1938 parade.
The Celebration has not been without stars from the entertainment field as headliners. Among those who have headlined the parade were actors Joel McCrea and Dale Robertson. Dennis Weaver who starred as Chester in the television series Gunsmoke and the Nick Adams who played the role of Johnny Yuma in The Rebel series, also were headliners from television world as Gail Adams, that played in the Annie Oakley series in the mid 1950's.
The annual rodeo in 1936 was the amateur event and many locals participated. Banker, Paul Carey, who served on General John J. Pershing's personal staff in World War I, along with Dr. A. L. Hartzog and former O.U. Football star Owen Action teamed up to give Kansas' Governor a sample of home town bull riding.
In 1935 Ralph Deming was elected Commander and at that time announced that on November 11th, 1934 the Post would have a covered dish luncheon to better acquaint the membership with each other and the programs of the Legion. This practice is still being continued. Guthrie hosted the 24th annual department (state) American Legion Convention on September 4, 5, 6th of 1943. The main portion of the convention was held in the Scottish Rite Consistory Temple with the Ione Motel as headquarters.
J.E. McMillin was Post Commander and Ivy Long, Auxiliary President, with Earl Prier as General Convention Chairman and Mrs. L. H. Ritzhaupt as General Auxiliary Chairman. The Post home at 424 E. Oklahoma was acquired in March of 1932 from the National Loan Co. Formerly it had been owned by the Guthrie Business College from 1928, but had succumbed during the depression.
In May of 1952 the Legion Hall was sold to the Trustees of the Guthrie Gospel Chapel, and $10,000.00 set aside for a new home which was to be at the corner of Cleveland and First streets. In the interim the Post meetings were held in Highland Hall and the Auxiliary met in various individual's homes.
Before James had a chance to preside over a meeting he was transferred to Tulsa and Harold P. Cook, Vice Commander, moved up to serve as first Commander of Post 58.
The Post was named after Capt. Leo Parrott LeBron who was the first Logan County casualty.