The Elmwood Crain-Ottman Post 207 is focusing on their history and the centennial of the American Legion and is looking for historical materials. Photo by Kaye Bird
The Elmwood Crain-Ottman Post 207 is focusing on their history and the centennial of the American Legion and is looking for historical materials. Photo by Kaye Bird

Submitted by Adjutant Marilyn Galoff, Crain-Ottman Post 207

ELMWOOD, WI – Here is a brief synopsis of the history of the American Legion.

The first caucus of the soon to be American Legion, was held in Paris, France on March 14-17, 1919, by the remaining American Expeditionary Forces remaining in Europe. From that caucus, came the soon to be The American Legion 1, Paris, France.

On May 8-10, 1919, the St Louis Caucus adopted the official name of “The American Legion” and a draft of the preamble and constitution were approved.  On September 16 of that year, Congress charters The American Legion as a veteran service organization.  The first National Convention was held in Minneapolis, MN on October 12, 1919.    

A couple of items that might be of interest are: June 23, 1935 the first American Legion Boys State convened in Springfield, IL, and in December, 1943, Past National Commander starts to write the “GI Bill of Rights” one of the many major items that The American Legion has introduced and backed in Congress over the years.

The 100th National Convention will be in Minneapolis, MN in 2018, convened by National Commander for the 2017-2018 year, Denise Rohan, Past Department Commander from Wisconsin. She was in Elmwood for the dedication of the American Legion Veterans Memorial Park.

The Crain-Ottman Post 207 received its charter on August 8, 1921, and the first Commander was John Gauvin. The original name was the Albert C. Crain post. After World War II, the name was changed to Crain-Ottman to honor Harry Ottman. The first meeting minutes that the post has are from 1922 when Fred Galoff was Commander.

The very early meeting notes are missing as well as notes from the mid-1980’s. The Elmwood Post is also looking for any pictures, newspapers articles or other items that would help put together the history of the post. If you have any information, please contact Commander Tom Werner at 715-235-0434, Sergeant-at-Arms Jim Baier, Finance Officer Jim Bammert at 715-664-8843, Chaplin Jerry Buerkle at 715-772-4251 or Adjutant Marilyn Galoff after April 1 at 715-639-2533 or 715-495-5042 before April 1.