This page is currently under construction and not all information is contained within.
Based on research conducted by the Appleton Historical Society, and information contained in historical documents, the following outlines Appleton American Legion Post 38's rich history.
The American Legion was formed in Paris, France after World War 1 on March 15, 1919. Shortly thereafter, the Appleton American Legion Post applied for its establishment as part of the National Charter on August 26, 1919. It listed as its name Oney Johnston. So who is Oney Johnston?
Sergeant Everette “Oney” Johnston, was the most senior enlisted soldier from Appleton to die in the conflict. He was also a proud member of old company G prior to World War 1. Sgt. Johnston was serving in Chatteau Thiery, France on the morning of July 29, 1918, when the 42nd Rainbow Division advance came under heavy enemy fire along the Ourcq River. Oney led his platoon to safety in a ditch, but this was only temporary. Eventually a German machine gun honed in on his position, as he witnessed his men being decimated by enemy fire. In a final act of bravery, Oney was hit with deadly shrapnel attempting to carry one of his wounded to safety. The endorsement for establishment was approved on August 29, 1919, and the Charter was issued, commanded by John Turner serving as Post Commander. (Source: Appleton Post Crescent)
The members listed on the founding document include the following: Allan B. Ellis (Lt. Col., National Guard), Richard A. Rolfe, Frederick W. Hoffman (Col.), Gustave J. Keller (2nd Lt.), Karl W. Haugen, Henry L. Nabberfeld (1st Lt. Marine Corps), Henry Schmidt, and Homer H. Benton (the original application was illegible in sections therefore not all founding members are listed and not all members rank/grades could be located).
On December 11, 1931, Post 38 incorporated itself for the "sole purpose of protecting individual members thereof from liability in the event of litigation against said Post;" however, it wasn't until some 9 years later, on February 28, 1940 (Commander Frank H. Wilson/Post Adjutant Stanley A. Staidl), that the members of Oney Johnston Post 38 applied for an Application of Supplemental Charter.
On March 3, 1947, Post 38 (Post Commander, Carl J. Schroeder) put forth a resolution to official change the name of Post 38 from Oney Johnston to Oney Johnston-Edward Blessman. It passed by an overwhelming majority of 93-7 in favor for the name change. This Charles C. Baker - Commander, L. Hugo Keller - Adjutant, William Zilake - Treasurer, Alfred C. Bosser - Service Officer, George C. Stickney - Chaplain, Eric Madisen - Historian, Lothar C. Graef - Athletic Officer, and Arthur Bucks - Sergeant-At-Arms. So what is the signficance behind Edward Blessman and what is his connection to Appleton?
Lt. Edward Blessman was born in Nott, North Dakota, but was raised in Appleton Wisconsin. He graduated from [then] Appleton High School, and went on to graduate from Lawrence College.
In 1953, Post 38 built and finally moved into its new Post building, which is now its current location at 3220 W. College Ave.