American Legion North Carolina Post 86 has a long and proud history. It is believed that Dr. J. W. McConnell was the first commander. Charter members of the fledgling organization now deceased are Harry S. Caldwell, M. P. Henderson, Douglas O. Brown, Fred Johnston, S. T. Stough, Loyd Christenbury and Sgt. Champ.
First records maintained by Post 86 reveal that Harry S. Caldwell was commander for the years 1922-23; C. A. Potts, 1924-25; L. B. Crayton, 1926; H. B. Elliot, 1927; John W. Elkin, 1928; H. B. Elliot, 1929; Fred Hastings 1930; S. T. Stough, 1932; Sgt J. L. Kirby, 1933; J.R. Beard, 1934; and Ed Linker, 1935. It is believed that commander during 1935-1939 was A. D. Cashion. From 1940 through 1945, S. T. Stough and A. D. Cashion held the post together. This period was during the years of World War II. Tom Craven was commander in 1946; Asbury Howard, 1947-48; W. A. Cathey, 1949: Wallace Gamble, 1950; G. R. Mayes, 1951; H. B. Knox, 1952; H. C. Bradford, 1953; Clontz Robbins, 1954; Kenneth Caldwell, 1955; Woodrow T. Washam, 1956; J. W. McCall, 1957; G. R. Mayes, 1958; C.W. Stacks, 1959; Lester Gillespie, 1960 and Dr. A. V. Goldiere, 1961.
Early records show that during the twenties, meetings were held in Maxwell Chambers Hotel in Davidson. In 1932, the old Caldwell Station School was purchased at a public sale for the sum of $600 and this became the headquarters of American Legion Post 86 on Monday, April 5.
Community and civic activities undertaken by the post have been many. During the early years of the post, the main project was the Old Soldiers' Reunion. In 1925 the Legion was instrumental in organizing a volunteer fire department. In 1929, the post sponsored the Boy Scout program in Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville. The famous Legion Baseball Team of North Mecklenburg was started by the post in 1932. These are only a few of the early activities of Post 86.
Today, the post owns the ballpark on Legion Street. Youth and adult baseball programs keep this field a beehive of activity during the summer months. During the first week of August, annually, the Legion sponsors a carnival at the ballpark. Each year, the post sends deserving boys to Boys' State, and a special committee headed by a Veterans' Service officer takes care of needy veterans in the community. Memorial Day services are held each year, during which time flags are placed on the graves of all veterans. Each year, members of the post journey to Salisbury for a picnic and visit with veterans hospitalized there.
Uniting with the Legionnaires in the community and civic effort, aside from their service to veterans, are members of the Ladies Auxiliary Unit 86. Once headed by Mrs. George G. Watts, the ladies send girls to Girls' State each year. Each year they wrap and take gifts to the veterans' hospital in Salisbury so that the soldiers under treatment there will have Christmas gifts for their families. Members of the auxiliary furnish six patients in veterans' hospitals with spending money each month and take care of special needs of eleven others. Their annual Poppy Sale is the Auxiliary's fundraising activity.
The Auxiliary has a history almost as long as that of Legion Post 86. Back in the latter days of 1920, the Davidson-Cornelius Post of the American Legion invited eligible women in the community to meet with them for the purpose of organizing an auxiliary. Adjutant J. B. Ryan was instrumental in the early planning and in 1921; the woman's auxiliary was activated. The ladies held their first meeting January 12, 1922 at the home of Mrs. J. W. McConnell and officers were elected as followers; Mrs. H. J. Brown president; Mrs. L. R. Brady, vice president, and Miss Willie Henderson, secretary and treasurer.
One Legionnaire of Post 86 summed up the attitude of the Legion, "Yes, we have a long and proud history. We've grown from a little fifteen-member post to a big post with more than a hundred and fifty members. With our new home and with the help of our strong membership, we plan to be alive and active in the North Mecklenburg area for many years to come. Our one aim is service –service not only to the veterans- but service to the community of North Mecklenburg."
Be a part of our future, join or volunteer with us today!