When the veterans returned home from World War I, many expressed the desire to form an organzation that would link them together in fellowship and at the same time perpetuate the ideals for which they had fought.

On March 25, 1919, the first step was taken to form such an organization. A banquet was given by the canteen committee of the Red Cross and the War Mothers of America. All soldiers, sailors, marines, and army nurses living in Spencer and in Sioux and Riverton townships were invited. The banquet was held in the dining rooms of the Congregational Church and 214 were in attendance, including wives and lady friends. It was a colorful gathering, to say the least, as all veterans were in uniform. That evening a temporary organization was voted, and Rush C. Smith was elected president and Maris E. DeWolf was elected secretary. The name of the organization was to be, "World War Veterans."

On April 21, 1919, about 60 ex-servicemen and 2 army nurses paraded behind the Spencer band through the business section of Spencer, boosting the Victory Loan. Following the parade, a meeting was held at the Clay County Courthouse. Officers for a permanent organization were elected. Rush C. Smith, an ex-army man, was elected president, and Roy L. Cobb, an ex-navy man, was elected secretary. Rules and regulations for "World War Veterans of Spencer Post No. 1" were adopted and signed by those present. Committees were appointed to meet with representatives from the G.A.R. and Sons of Veterans to plan a program for Memorial Day. Thus World War I veterans began their first affiliation with other civic and patriotic organizations of Spencer. Squads of ex-service men in uniform were also assigned to various Victory Loan booths while others brought in "bond slackers" to the booths. Clay County was one of the first counties in the nation to go "over the top" in the drive.

A temporary national and state meeting of ex-service men decided to organize into a national organization called the "American Legion," effective May 11, 1919. This was the trasition of "World War Veterans" to the "American Legion." It was annouced that the first petition to reach the tempoary secretary in Des Moines on May 11 would be assigned post number one in Iowa

The Spencer group went into action. They assembled for a midnight meeting on May 10 at the apartment of E.T. Bjornstad and Rex C. Hubbard. A notary public was in attendance with his seal, and two dozen pens had been secured. As the clock struck 12, the men signed the petition and their signatures were notarized, all in a matter of a few minutes. In order to cinch the honors, Rush Smith, E.T. (Ed) Bjornstad, and Maris DeWulf, with the petition in their possession, jumped in a car and headed to Carroll. They arrived there at 3 A.M. and Bjornstad and DeWulf boarded the trainn for Des Moines. They were waiting in Secretary McVicar's office when he arrived that morning. The petition was signed and Spencer had the coveted No. 1 in their possession. The petition from Council Bluffs arrived fifteen minutes later.

A charter was granted (23 August, 1920)and Spencer was named American Legion Post No. 1 of Iowa. Later the name was changed to "Glen Pedersen Post No. 1, American Legion" in honor of the first Spencer man killed in World War 1.

The American Legion Post first appeared under the new Charter on Memorial Day, 1919. The first meetings were held in the basement of the courthouse. Ed Bjornstad was chosen as a delegate from this district to attend the national convention held in Minneapolis. It was a notable fact of the time that Spencer was one of the leading posts in the state and the first in memberships in the 11th district.


To be eligible to join the American Legion you must have served during these time periods:

WW I April 6, 1917 - November 11,1918
WW II December 7, 1941 - December 31, 1946   
Korean War June 25, 1950 - January 31, 1955
Vietnam War February 28, 1961 - May 7, 1975
Lebanon and Grenada August 24, 1982 - July 31, 1984
Panama December 20, 1989 - January 31, 1990
Gulf War/War on Terrorism    August 2, 1990 to date of cessation

Information on a veteran's service record can be obtained by contacting:
National Archives and Records Administration
Telephone: 1-866-272-6272


PAST COMMANDERS

1919 Rush C. Smith
1920 John C. Cory, Jr.
1920 E. T. Bjornstad
1921 John P. Miner
1922 Frank Wenig
1923 G.G. Baker
1924 A.E. Bjornstad
1925 Fred A. Wright
1926 Ray Green
1927 C.W. Bittenger
1928 Paul Grozkruger
1929 Leroy A. Rader
1930 R.A.Peterson
1931 L.E. Gallaher
1932 Paul G. Anderson
1933 Cline L. Ditto
1934 R.G. Hemel
1935 Earl G. Smith
1936 Leo C. Bailey
1937 Cifford Bowman
1938 Don L. Morgan
1939 H. L. Williams
1940 Paul Sonner
1941 J. H. Peterson
1942 C.L. Nyrem
1943 W.F. Johnson
1944 Chester Tripp
1945 A.E. Friberg
1946 C. T. Simmens
1947 Dorral Jones
1948 A.M. Bjornstad
1949 Joe White
1949 R.A. Peterson
1950 Chas. Sexton
1951 Daniel Maxwell
1952 Verne Harmon
1953 James Bullock
1954 Mark Clifford
1955 Kenneth Edge
1956 Robert H. Walters
1957 Leroy Morton
1958 Arnold Carstenson      
1959 Stanley Anderson
1960 Joe Colgan
1961 Floyd Bolyard
1961 Walter Holmes
1961 Louis G. Mann
1962 Bennie Shine
1963 Harry Schoorman
1964 R.E. Patterson
1965 Betty Barton
1966 Walter Holmes
1967 Arnold W. Booth
1968 Dr. D.L. Anliker
1969-71 James A. Anderson
1972-73 Charles French
1974 John LeFebvre
1975 Robert Yungbluth
1976 C. Earl Page
1977-79       Wilbur Sackett
1980-81 Donald Sheehan
1982-83 Charles French
1984-85 Gerald Ramler
1986-87 Lenny Grady
1988 John Gran
1989 Rick Holmberg
1989-91 Frank Zeck
1992 Rich Lough
1992-94 Lenny Grady
1994-96 Lowell Wade
1996-97 Timothy Brinkley
1997-98 LeRoy Spears
1998-2001 Henry Sonius
2001-03Robert Faulkender
2003-05 Jack St. Peters
2005-07 Darrel Tonderum
2007-10 George R. Shelton
2010-13 Frank Lehman
2013-16 Steve DePauw
2007- Jody Wilkerson
From and Used with permission of Glen Pedersen Post No.1, American Legion, Spencer, Iowa.