The first chapter of the American Legion for men who served at home and in Europe during the First World War was organized in Follansbee during July 1919. Necessary paper work for securing a chapter was received from Charles E. McCamic in Wheeling, head of the WV American Legion. However the first Legion post was disbanded after a few years due to lack of support from local service men.
On September 3, 1927, the Emrys Watkins Follansbee post 45 received its charter. The Post is named in honor of the first city boy to be killed overseas. Corporal Watkins was a member of company F, 110th infantry, 42nd brigade of the Rainbow Division. He was killed in action in France on July 29, 1918.
The official headquarters of the Legion changed a number of times after its reorganization. For a short time meetings occurred in a room above the Weisberger store, and later in the basement under the post office at the city building. The “Dugout” as this room was called remained the Legion home until 1934, when new headquarters were established in the Eagles building. A year later the ex-service men moved to the upper floor of the city building, until a building was purchased on Main below Duquesne street. Finally the headquarters was moved to its current location at the corner of Raymond and Main streets.
Since its organization, the Legion has contributed much to the city of Follansbee. During the Depression in1932-33, it acted as the agency for the distribution of Red Cross goods for approximately 600 needy families. During the flood of 1936, the Legion again supported efforts to bring relief to those who were hungry, stood guard over homes temporarily abandoned, and promoted the efforts Follansbee Relief Organization. In 1938, the Legion organized the Community Chest and distributed Christmas baskets to the needy, especially children. In 1939 the Legion was responsible for the founding of the first Follansbee Library then located in the City Building.
In the late 1930s, the Legion could depend upon a 100 of the 150 available men in the local area who believed strongly in their mission of service. The theme of the Legion remains “We Continue To Serve.” The American Legion is truly a reservoir of trained men, ready for any emergency and for any service.
L to R. Joe Settimio, commander of VFW; Guy Casinneli, president of Garibaldi Lodge; Jim Fleshman, American Legion commander; John Martino Sr. contractor, of the monument in background; Bill D’Michiel, American Legion trustee; Victor Martino, Quinciviten president. The occasion was, the dedication of the Veteran’s Memorial. It took place in the 60’s. Photo: Joe Settimio
*Steubenville Herald Star, “Follansbee,” July 15, 1919. *Follansbee Review, “Pictorial Souvenir Edition,” Dec. 19, 1940, p. 7.