In 1921 a widow by the name of Elizabeth E. Austin who was a resident of Asbury Park as well as the Neptune area, graciously donated Lot 46, Block 217 also known as 240 Drummond Avenue, Neptune NJ, to help with it's first Black Boy Scouts Troop. The building later became The American Legion, Frederick Dempsey Post 266.
We Sincerely thank Mrs. Elizabeth E. Austin for her generous donation.
Fifteen former servicemen met in the Boy Scouts meeting room. Living at the time in Neptune was an informal community consisting of former World War I Veterans. The decision to organize an American Legion Post resulted from the conclusion of these Veterans that the American Legion was the representative Veterans' organization in this country. That conclusion has been proven true as today the American Legion is the largest wartime Veterans' organization with nearly 15,000 local Posts throughout America and over 3 million members who care about America, Veterans, their families and our nation's youth.
At the first meeting Mr. John Wynne Harris was elected temporary Chairman and Mr. Thomas Barnes temporary Secretary. Decision was made by the attending Veterans to file an application for an American Legion Post.
At the next meeting, a Certificate of Application for a Charter was presented. It was also decided at this meeting to organize a Post as soon as fifty servicemen of Neptune and Asbury Park had indicated their desire to join the Post.
A committee was formed to name the Post and the Post was named "American Legion Post 266, Frederick Dempsey Post”.
All of Neptune & Asbury Park’s servicemen who died in the service of their country, as a mark of respect, were honored when the Post was chartered.
Permanent organization was affected at the next meeting at which time permanent officers were elected. The first officers of American Legion Post were: Commander: Mr. John Wynne Harris, Adjutant: Mr. Thomas Barnes, and Finance Officer: Mr. Sydney Hawkins.
Frederick Dempsey for whom the Post was named was born in New York City on 21 June 1895 (according to U.S. Army records). According to U.S. Census records in 1910 (at 15) he was living in Neptune Township and attending Neptune High School. He enjoyed a fulfilling childhood becoming an outstanding athlete.
Frederick returned to New York City and was married to Viola Hayze on 15 January 1915.
On 05 June 1917, at the age of 22, Frederick Registered for the draft. On 16 July 1917 Frederick was sworn in to Company L, 15th Infantry Regiment of the New York National Guard. On 25 July 1917 the unit was called to Federal service. Located at Camp Whitman (Poughkeepsie) NY. On 08 October 1917 the Regiment travelled to Camp Wadsworth in Spartanburg, South Carolina where they received training in actual combat.
The 15th Infantry Regiment, NYARNG was assigned on 01 December 1917 to the 185th Infanrty Brigade. The 15th Infantry Regiment shipped out from the New York Port of Embarkation on 27 December 1917, and joind its Brigade upon arrival in France where they were assigned to labor service duties instead of combat duty. The 185th Infantry Brigade was assigned on 05 January 1918 to the 93rd Division.
The 15th Infantry Regiment, NYARNG was reorganized and re-designated on 01 March 1918 as the 369th Infantry Regiment (later to be known as the Harlem Hellfighters), but the unit continued labor services while it awaited a decision as to its future.
The U.S. Army decided on 08 April 1918 to assign the unit to the French Army for the duration of the United States' participation in the war.
The 369th Infantry Regiment was relieved 08 May 1918 from assignment to the 185th Infantry Brigade, and went into the trenches as part of the French 16th Division. It served continuously to 03 July 1918. The Regiment returned to combat in the Second Battle of the Marne. On 19 August 1918, the Regiment went off the line for rest and training of replacements.
On 25 September 1918 the French 4th Army went on the offensive in conjunction of the American drive in the Meuse-Argonne. The 369th turned in a good account in heavy fighting, sustaining severe losses. One of them, Private Frederick Dempsey who was Killed In Action on 26 September 1918.
Private Frederick Dempsey is laid to rest in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetary in Romagne, France.
American Legion Auxiliary
A Women's Auxiliary of American Legion Post 266 was formed on April 5th, 1924. The Legion has every reason to be proud of it's Auxiliary. Auxiliary members are always anxious and willing to co-operate in every Legion activity.
MEMORIAL DAY has always been an outstanding occasion in this community. In addition to memorial events throughout the Neptune community, the goal of every Veteran to it's last man is to keep MEMORIAL DAY sacred to the memory of our war dead of all of the wars of the country; and all graves are decorated on this National Holiday. Each year, active members place a flag on each Veteran's grave.
ARMISTICE DAY, now called VETERANS' DAY, originally marked the end of fighting in World War I. It is an important holiday on the calendar of Legionnaires everywhere and in the hearts of all Veterans. Annually the Post participates in the Armistice Day Ceremony. An important tradition was established when the Post led in the memorial exercises at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, marking the exact hour of the cessation of hostility on the war fronts.
Scholarships and Community Projects
American Legion Post 266 sponsors various scholarships for the further education of our children. We also sponsor and financially assist many worthy community projects and programs initiated by the National American Legion.
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