From the Wilson Daily Times, Aug. 18, 1919
The Wilson Post American legion Organized Saturday Night. . . 400 Wilson Soldiers and Their Friends Crowd Court House
The efforts of the young men to organize a Wilson County Post of the American Legion found enthusiastic response from our boys Saturday night when the soldiers and sailors of Wilson County estimated at 400 strong, together with their friends packed the court house here and listened attentively to eloquent discourses from Hon. John E. Woodard and Colonel John F. Bruton as they recounted the brave deeds of the American soldiers on the fields of Europe as they hurled back the Hun and brought peace and liberty to the world.
The meeting was called to order by Mr. John D. Gold who asked Dr. Bethea, rector of St. Timothy’s church, to invoke divine blessing on the assemblage and the purpose for which it gathered.
Mr. Gold then introduced Hon. John E. Woodard who in turn presented Col. John F. Bruton, the speaker of the evening and the permanent chairman of the meeting who after an admirable speech during which he explained the purposes of the organization stated that it was necessary to have 1,500 signatures in order to perfect same. These were secured. A roll call of townships showed nearly all were represented and tellers circulated through the audience and secured the names. The following secured the names of the soldiers in the audience: Lt. Ben Smith, Moses Farmer, James Blount and Calvin Young.
Miss Pillars of the Chamber of Commerce was selected by the committee to act as temporary secretary and to keep the records of the meeting until a permanent secretary could be named. By a rising vote Miss Pillars was given a vote of thanks. Mr. Henry Woodard has been a moving spirit in bringing about this organization, was made permanent Secretary. The Garber-Davis orchestra discourses splendid music during the evening.
The Company K quartette was called on and sung several numbers that delighted all the boys in camp and afield. This quartette is composed of Captain W.E. and Lt. W.H. Dunn, Claucus Hinnant and Charlie Mumford. Their singing was cheered to the echo and they were encored so many times that the boys had to leave the stage.
The papers will be sent to headquarters and the committee calling the meeting published in last week’s paper will select the name of the Wilson post and at a later meeting the organization will be completed.
Introducing Mr. Woodard, Mr. Gold stated the sentiment that moved the soldiers and sailors to perpetuate the friendship and comradeship that had been formed in camp and on the battlefields of Europe would find a spontaneous assent in the hearts of every one in Wilson county.
He then presented Mr. Woodard, who called attention to the state of unpreparedness of the American forces when war was declared in 1914, but the true American spirit that dominated each individual saw no difficulties and that this country and her men accomplished more than any nation on earth in a given length of time. The said that our boys could not fight, but our boys pierced the Hindenburg line and brought victory to the colors of the allies. Shall these wonderful records and deeds of valor be forgotten? No, cried Mr. Woodard, for there is a bond of unity and sympathy existing between the men who went through those fires that the rest of us know nothing about, but there is the true American spirit in you boys he said and you will never let that spirit be sullied. He then presented Col. Bruton in a very felicitous manner and Col. Bruton who assumed the chair and perfected the organization made a most interesting speech as she showed the boys that it was their right to keep the fires of Americanism that are threatened brightly burning. He read the principles of the American Legion and the requirements.
Colonel Bruton stated that this was a proud moment to him, that he esteemed it a great privilege to stand before an audience of the flower of the youth of Wilson county who had earned their laurels in the service of their country. “You have the right to take your stand anywhere in any company. You are the peers of us all because you have done all that any one could, you have risked your lives for your country and the rest of us. History will accord you undying fame, and in this organization you are helping to keep alive the noble record of your valiant deeds.”
He emphasized the responsibility resting upon them as citizens, as men having made America and liberty what it is and having through fire burned it into your hearts and consciences would not allow it to be wrested lightly from your country.
He then went into the organization announced above.