Thursday, February 20, 2020

History of the American Legion and Auxiliary Partridge Post #578

American Legion Partridge Post #578
Bunker Hill, Illinois 

Nationally the American Legion was organized in the fall of 1919.  Soon after, a group of World War I Veterans from the Bunker Hill area began to organize a post locally.  In August of 1920, the American Legion Partridge Post #578 received its Charter.  The Post was named for George Partridge of Woodburn, Illinois.  George was the first soldier from the Bunker Hill area to be killed in action.

     After receiving its Charter, the membership grew quickly to 105 members.  Then under the leadership of the commander, Dr. Robert E. Bley, Jr. the American Legion Auxiliary was organized.

The main goals of the American Legion are mutual helpfulness for handicapped veterans, care of the widows and orphans of the soldiers who were killed during the war, to help the nation and community to remember those who were killed or died while in service, and to avoid the future wars by keeping our nation strong through improved education and devoting in everyone a strong, active interest and love of our country.


     The members of Partridge Post and the Auxiliary took these goals to heart.  They raised funds for the veterans hospitals and the widows and orphans care centers.  They visited the wounded and handicapped in the local hospitals.  They conducted memorial services for the community on Armistice Day.  Also, they banded together and assisted veterans who where having employment or financial difficulties. 

     Over the next two decades, the membership of Partridge Post dwindled to about 30, and as they conducted military funerals for the deceased members, the American Legion was fading away.   Then World War II, followed by the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Grenada Conflict, and Desert Storm (the Gulf War) occurred and a new group of veterans returned and joined the Post.

       The American Legion Post and the Auxiliary have awarded the Legion School Award to the boy and girl of the graduation eighth grade to promote good citizenship.  The Post has enabled one or more boys and girls from the local high school to attend  Premier Boy State and Premier Girl State annually.  These programs have been in effect since the 1930's.

     The American Legion Partridge Post has sponsored Boy Scout Troop 2 for more than 50 years and sponsored the Bunker Hill Homecoming for more than 40 years.  The Post sponsors a Halloween party annually and assists other organizations with their civic functions.  The American Legion Partridge Post #578 and the Auxiliary are still active in civic affairs, encouraging the teaching of Americanism and Patriotism in our schools.


History of the American Legion Auxiliary
Partridge Post #578

     Ten ladies met in the club room in American Legion Partridge Post #578 on  June 10, 1920 for organizing a Women's Auxiliary to the American Legion.  Dr. Robert Bley, Jr., Commander of the Post was present and explained the benefit and purpose of the Auxiliary.  Membership was limited to mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters of members of the American Legion and a year later, the step-mothers and step-sisters were eligible to join.

     A President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer were duly elected.  Since then, a second Vice-President, Chaplain, and Sergeant at Arms were added.  The Officers, with the exception of Secretary, were nominated by a committee and elected.  The Secretary was appointed by the President.  The following committees were appointed: Americanism, Rehabilitation, Child Welfare, Community Service, Fidac, Poppy, Constitution and By-Laws, History, Music, Visiting, Auditing, Membership, and Junior Activity.

  On June 15, 1920 at the second regular meeting, an application for a Charter was discussed, acted upon, and later received by the unit.  The following names were printed on the Charter:
  • Mrs. Belle Partridge
  • Mrs. Emma Kleinfelter
  • Mrs. Hatta Brown
  • Mrs. Mattie Hart
  • Mrs. Laura Davis
  • Mrs. Emma Ross
  • Mrs. Anna Greer
  • Mrs. Sophia Kruemmelbein
  • Mrs. Hanna Lee
  • Mrs. Mary Moss
  • Mrs. Emma Jacoby
  • Mrs. Della Wise

The first Officers elected in 1920 were:
  • President - Mrs. Hatta Brown
  • Vice-President - Mrs. Emma Kleinfelter
  • Secretary - Mattie Hart
  • Treasurer - Josephine Welch
  • Chaplain - Mrs. Laura Davis

Erected by the Citizens of Bunker Hill Township and Dedicated to the memory of:

George Partridge
Co. B 1st GAS Regt.
Killed in action at Bantheville Wood
Nov 1, 1918

Dietrich A. Rust
Co. A 5th Ltd. Service Regt.
Died at Camp Grant, Il.
Oct 3, 1918

Alfred heine
HDQ. Co. 14th Bn F.A.R.D. Bat C.
Died at Camp Taylor, Ky.
Oct 7, 1918

     The Post was named after George B. Partridge, who was the first of our soldiers to die in the service of his country.  George Partridge was born at Woodburn on January 16, 1896 and enlisted in the World War on November 3, 1917 at St. Louis.  He went across to France on Christmas in a Company of Engineers.  During the summer and fall, he was on the battlefield where he was killed in action November 1, 1918.

     He was buried where he fell but his body was later removed to Meuse Argonne Cemetery, where he lies amidst beautiful flowers and surrounded by his comrades, in a 25 acre area bought for a burying ground by America and kept in beautiful condition.

--Cite this story: Redford, Carol, and Betty Triplett. "Bunker Hill History." In Reflections: A History of the Bunker Hill-Woodburn Area, pp. 67, 146-148. Bunker Hill: Bunker Hill Publications, 1993. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.


From the Gazette-News January 3, 1919

     Since learning of the death of George Partridge, of Woodburn, son of Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Partridge, in action on the battlefield of France on November 1st, it has bothered us - kept jogging our conscience as it were, and doubtless most of you have thot the same thing.  At least, it was on our mind so  much that something fitting be done to commemorate the event and do honor to the memory of the only Bunker Hill township boy who died in action on the battlefield.

     Our boys who did not fall will be honored as they come home, and we hope when they all get back there will be something doing in the old town if there are enough of them back by Homecoming time, and we must do for our own three boys who sacrificed just as much by giving up their lives, and Woodburn will help us when we thus honor our boys but it is fitting that the boy's home town should handle its own town's dead and we head and handle ours we helping them in financial way if they wish to take up the matter.

Having consulted nobody at all we simply make a suggestion to give the project a start that, say, a tablet be placed in the public square at Woodburn as the proper place that the cost of such a tablet be ascertained by the people of Woodburn and we give our mites toward the accomplishment of this project...

Whether this suggestion is acted upon or not we have done our duty as we see it --felt that even an attempt should be made by the township...

---Cite this story: Stanton, Carl L. . "Bunker Hill News 1918." In Bunker Hill Revisited, Volume Five, 1911-1920, pp. 267. Bunker Hill: Bunker Hill Publications, 2004. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.



     American Legion Post #578 will erect a 7' 4" tall granite monument to honor all of our veterans in Mae Whitaker Park, Bunker Hill.  The monument will be surrounded by bricks engraved with the names of veterans.  There will also be a section for bricks engraved with the names of individuals, businesses, or organizations that wish to contribute to this worthwhile project.

Click to Enlarge Photo

     For questions regarding this project, please contact Robert Brunaugh, (618) 225-7534 or via email at,  or you may also contact Christa Jones at (618) 585-9957.

Click Link to Download the Veteran Memorial Brick Order Form 

Order forms for the bricks may also be picked up at the American Legion, 319 North Marion St., Bunker Hill or from the Gazette-News, Bunker Hill.  


...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories here at

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