History of Luneta Post 52

HISTORY OF THE FORMING OF LUNETA POST 52 VFW by EJ. HANNAFORD
As given to me by Bill Seidman

On Sept 27, 1916 during the formation period of Lt. Landsdale Post #67 of Sacramento Calif and after the date for the installation of the post had been decided upon, it was thought a good idea by W.H. Taylor and comrades to send a letter to Stockton so that those veterans who were eligible could have a chance to come to Sacramento on Oct 14-1916 and join. The following letter with folder was sent to R.W. Bonney, Adjutant of Commodore Stockton Camp # 4 U.S.W.V.

R.W. Bonney, 330 East Clay Street, Stockton, Calif

Dear Comrade. Thirty of us here in Sacramento have formed Lt. Landsdale Post # 67, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. We will probably institute the Post Oct 12. I am sending you a folder which gives some information about the order. If you are eligible and desire to join we would be glad to have you with us that night as we have a fine bunch of recruits waiting. If you will spread the good word among the eligible and if you will give me the names of any eligible’s you know I would appreciate it.

Yours in Comradeship, W.H. Taylor, Sept 27-1916, Address 1307 1/2 G Street, Sacramento, Calif

The letter was read by R.W. Bonney, Adj of Commodore Stockton Camp # 4 on the regular meeting of the Camp Sept 28-1916. As there was a small attendance the letter was held over till the next regular meeting. The Camp members being notified to be at the next meeting as matters of importance were coming up and all invited to attend.

The next meeting held on Oct 12-1916. There was good sized attendance with two visiting comrades Ger A Collier a Post Commander of Cleveland Post # 84 V.F.W. and C.H. Brewer from an out of town camp in San Francisco U.S.W.V. The letter was again read and the matter of Foreign War Service men was discussed by the camp and the two visiting Comrades in order that those who may be eligible and desire to may arrange to become members of the Organization created by such men. George A. Collier the first Post Commander of Cleveland Post # 84 V.F.W. of Cleveland, naturally wanted to see a Post formed. Colliers was describing a skirmish with the Philippinos on Bulacan River. During a lull in the fighting a tall lanky kid stood up to see how the fighting was going on. The Philippinos opened fire and he got shot in the knee. Comrade M.P. Pritchard was sitting by the stove and when he heard that, he jumped up and said I am the kid and here is the knee. Camp Commander Otto Haginative declared a recess for the boys to get together. Pritchard and Collier shook hands and were sure glad to see each other, and then discussed their times in the Philippines. Comrade Brewer on seeing them so happy remarked the finest thing in the Vets is Comradeship started on Foreign War fields. C.H. Brewer and M.P. Pritchard declared they would go to Sacramento and become Charter members of the Post being formed.

Both Comrades were present on Oct 14-1916 with proper credentials and were duly elected to membership in Lt Landsdale Post # 67 and regularly mustered into the order at the institution of the Post as charter members. After the exercises were over, several of the Sacramento members told both Brewer and Pritchard that they should go back to Stockton and get busy and form their own Post. Both were so impressed with the order they readily assented to do all in their power to have a post in Stockton as soon as they could. Upon Comrade Brewers return to Stockton he got busy in looking up overseas veterans and made his Hdqtrs at the Imperial Hotel.

On Oct 18th 1916, Commander W.H. Taylor in his next report to National Chief Of Staff, as required, regarding the installation and institution of Lt Landsdale Post mentioned the fine prospects of soon having another Post of the order in Stockton.

On Jan 11-1917 Comrade Brewer reported several comrades of Stockton were anxious to join the new order, but could not readily get to Sacramento for initiation, so a letter was sent to the National Chief Of Staff asking if it was permissible to muster in members outside the Post room and between meetings. A reply was received from him, that this could be done if recruits had first been duly proposed, investigated and elected.

On March 6-1917 on the Visit of Commander in Chief Rabing, he formally gave permission to Commander Taylor that this could be done.

On March 22-1917 a Committee of five was appointed to attend to those applications from Stockton, consisting of Commander W.H. Taylor, Sr. Vice Commander Rose, Jr. Vice Commander G.W. Ochsner, Chaplain F.S. Stuger and Adj J.W. Dotls.

On April 12-1917 a letter was received from Adj General R.G. Woodside that it was all right if the proper precautions were taken. Comrade Brewer signed up Van V. Bowman during the first of May-1917 as the first recruit and sent in his name from Stockton. He was duly elected, but before the Committee could get to Stockton he left town. Brewer again got busy and got up a class of recruits.

On June 14-1917 Comrade Brewer reported to Sacramento he had a class of four recruits waiting to become members.

On June 16-1917 Comrades Brewer and Taylor called a meeting in the Imperial Hotel. The following Comrades FA Will, O.W. Hyde and F. H. Bileski were duly mustered into Landsdale Post and later at the place of business of l.M. Ford he was made a member. These were to be the starter of the Post in Stockton. All had previously been duly balloted upon and elected.

June 25-1917 Comrade Brewer was given authority to muster in recruits after being properly elected.

On June 28-1917 a meeting was called and Comrade Brewer mustered W.H. Normand into the order. He being the last one to be mustered into Sacramento Post. Comrade Brewer announced that starting with Comrade EJ. Hannaford the following recruits, W.R. Bilyeu, C.K. Clary, Dr. F.M. Caldwell, C.C. Parks, J.L. Scally, Edward Schoffner and A.C. Walsh for the new Post to be formed in Stockton. All are asked to attend the next meeting to be held Sunday July 8-1917.

On Sunday July 8-1917 the meeting was called to order by Comrade Brewer and Comrade Will at the Imperial Hotel. Those attending were Comrades Brewer, Will, Bilyeu, Hannaford, Bileski, Clary, Caldwell, Pritchard, Scoffner and several others. A motion was made by Brewer and seconded that F. A. Will, be elected Chairman. Motion carried. Chairman Will appointed Comrade Brewer as Adj. and Comrade Hannaford to act as Quartermaster. F.A. Will announced the purpose of the meeting was to organize a VFW Post in Stockton. All were in favor of it. Adj Brewer was instructed to send for a Charter and to notify Sacramento we were ready to start. Adj Brewer was also instructed to get news of the new post being formed in the newspapers. Comrades Will and Bilyeu were appointed as a committee to go to Modesto and while there to interview c.c.Parks and A.C. Walsh on getting a Post started in Modesto. Adj Brewer also was to arrange for transfers for the Comrades of Stockton from the Sacrament Post. The next order of business was the name to be given the Post. Comrade Bileski proposed Over Seas Post, Comrade Will proposed Manila Post. EJ. Hannaford proposed Foreign Service Post. W.R. Bilyeu proposed Luneta Post. He made quite a plea for the name. We all knew and remembered the good times we had on the Luneta in Manila, Philippine Islands. It being the pleasure park and road in Manila and the gathering place in the afternoon and evenings for the people and soldiers, sailors and marines to meet their friends. The army bands would give concerts for the enjoyment of all. All other names were withdrawn and Luneta Post was the name chosen. After a few short talks by other Comrades the meeting was closed to again assemble downstairs to drink a toast to the new post.

On Aug 7-1917 a newspaper item from Modesto, FA Will and W.R. Bilyeu of Stockton were in Modesto today conferring withc.c. Parks regarding securing a delegation to attend the formation of a Post of Veterans of Foreign Wars at Stockton next Saturday evening in the South Hall Record Building. The meeting is scheduled to take place at 7-30 PM. According to Will there are many ex soldiers who have seen foreign service that are eligible to membership and the new Post should start off with a large membership. A fine entertainment and banquet will follow the installation which will be under the direction of the Sacramento Post of the VFW.

On August 9th word was sent to Sacramento that Luneta Post was ready for institution and that Comrade Brewer had been appointed National Aide-De-Camp. The Post had been given the number of 52 by headquarters. Notice was also sent that Luneta Post # 52 would be instituted Aug 11-1917 and that those members residing in Stockton would want transfers to Luneta Post. Sacramento granted the transfers of Comrades Will, Bileski, Ford, Norman, Brewer and Pritchard. The transfer of Comrade Hyde was held up as he had left with the Army having reenlisting and was being shipped away. The request was made by Commander elect FA Will and Adj elect Brewer that It Landsdale Post visit Stockton and institute the Post and install the officers. Word also having gone to Wooten Post # 69 of Benicia to attend.

On Aug 10-1917 Adjutant elect Brewer put the first piece in the newspapers of the new post as follows:

Foreign War Veterans will have a Post

Branch of Patriotic Organization to be installed in Stockton Saturday night.

Veterans of Foreign Wars a patriotic organization, made up of veterans who have seen service on foreign soil is to install a Post in Stockton, Saturday night at South Hall Record Building. Major Taylor of Lt Landsdale Post # 67 of Sacramento will be the installing officer. Following the ceremonies a banquet will be served. There are about 30 men to start with including Veterans of the Spanish American War who saw service in the Philippines, Cuba and other foreign soil. All ex soldiers who have seen service are eligible to membership. At the conclusion of the present war the boys who go abroad will be taken into the organization. FA Will proprietor of the Imperial Hotel is one of the prime movers in the local Post and will be chosen Commander. Other prominent men interested include Dr. F.M. Caldwell, F.H. Bileski, Louis M. Ford and C.E. Moorehead.

On Aug 11-1917, Sat., Comrades J.W. Dotto, F.S. Stieger, G.W. Ochsner, G.A. Fray, John Gubel, P.H.E Gatyin and W.H. Taylor made a pilgrimage to Stockton and Officially instituted Luneta Post # 52 and duly installed the officers. Comrade Taylor as Aide-De-Camp and National Deputy in charge of Organizations performing the work. Commander Max Distler and several Comrades from Wooten Post # 69 of Benicia with their colors were present. Members of the new post are as follows by transfer from Lt. Landsdale Post # 67 Sacramento:

Member

National Order Number

#1 C.H. Brewer

2897

#2 M.P Pritchard

3254

#3 FA Will

4160

#4 F.H. Bileski

4269

#5 L.M. Ford

4266

#6 W.H. Normand

4262

New members by muster in

#7 E.J. Hannaford

4472

#8 W.R. Bilyeu

4473

#9 C.K. Clary

4468

#10 F.M. Caldwell

4545

#11 C.C. Parks

4467

# 12 J.S. Scally

4469

# 13 Ed Schaffner

4477

# 14 A.C. Walsh

5189

Among those who were mustered into the order at this meeting were two Comrades from Modesto, C.C. Parks and A.C. Walsh and like Comrades Brewer and Pritchard at the institution of Lt Landsdale Post they were told to go back to Modesto and form their own Post, and like Brewer and Pritchard they obeyed orders. As Luneta Post can consider Enright Post their first born as Sacramento considers Luneta Post their first child. Another visitor was Samuel S Cohn of Jacob Smith Post # 83 of San Francisco. He promised to transfer to Luneta Post. The meetings were set to be held the first and third Thursday of each month. Commander FA Will called on all members for a short talk. Commander W.H. Taylor of Sacramento during his speech called on Luneta Post to get busy and bring in the recruits. “Your 14 men are the first founding Charter Members to form their Post. This great honor you should cherish and respect. There are a lot more just waiting to be asked to join.” He remarked that as Luneta Post had been lucky in getting a small number why not make it 52 members for Luneta Post. All members agreed and the charter was to be held open till the first of the year and we would get the recruits. Commander Will pledged his full support to get the 52 members for the charter. The meeting was closed and all members gathered around the banquet tables where more speeches were made.
On Aug 16-1917, Thursday our first regular meeting the Post having no colors, a motion was made that the Post raise funds to purchase a flag and banner. The motion carried. A collection was taken up and the following Comrades donated $1.00 each.

E.J. Hannaford
L.M. Ford
F.A. Will
J.L. Scally
M.P. Pritchard
James Hurley
J.W. Goins
Samuel Cohn
Meeting called to order by Commander Will. The recruiting committee reported it had its first recruit ready and waiting to join the new post and a class for our next meeting.
#15 A.C. Gubbins 4475 being duly balloted upon and elected, he being the first recruit to be brought into the Post, he was duly mustered in.Motion made and seconded that we have refreshments for our next meeting in honor of the class of recruits. Motion made Post procure a seal. Motion carried
Report of the Quartermaster: $15.00 collected last meeting and 5.50 this meeting leaving 20.50 on hand, no bills.