Elmer Criddle – Post #82
In October of 1919, the following notice appeared in The Weekly Reflex:
“EX-SERVICEMEN WILL ORGANIZE – All returned soldiers, sailors, and marines of Kaysville are requested to meet at the home of Arnold M. Barnes next Monday evening for the purpose of organizing a post of the American Legion in this city. It is hoped to completely organize the ex-servicemen at this time.”
The American Legion Veterans organization was founded in 1919 to meet the need to “improve the morale of servicemen who served with the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in Europe,” a military brochure distributed to all ex-World War I veterans stated. The war had ended but ex-servicemen were having a hard time adjusting to civilian life so the American Legion founders thought that a civilian organization of ex-servicemen would help rehabilitate men who were struggling.
The Kaysville American Legion post was organized on November 3, 1919. “The Elmer Criddle, Post #82, American Legion, was organized at the post hall over Barnes Bank, Monday night,” The Weekly Reflex reported. “Twenty-nine of the city’s forty-two ex-servicemen were present at the meeting. The officers for the ensuing year are: Clarence McLatchie, chairman; William Foxley, vice-chairman; Arnold Barnes, secretary-treasurer; the above with the following constitute the executive committee, Lester Gleason, Homer Warner, and Milton Burton.”
According to American Legion rules, the post name ‘Elmer Criddle, Post #82.’ was selected to honor a serviceman who lost his life during the conflict. Elmer J. Criddle was the only Kaysville serviceman to be killed during the U.S.’s involvement in the war. Elmer died on July 18, 1918. His body was never found but his name appears on the ‘Tablet of the Missing’ at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France.
The list of the Legion’s other charter members include: D. Keith Barnes, Tyler Barton, Adelbert Barnett, Austin Ball, Clifton Ball, LeRoy Crawley, Ralph Cottrell, Alex Criddle, Glen Curtis, Chester Flint, Wilkie Galbraith, Leonard Hill, Frank Jones, Fred Kershaw, Roy Kilfoyle, Vernon Mansell, Hugh Mulvaney, Edward Phillips, James Phillips, Newman Reeves, Clyde Robins, Charles Rochel, Leonard Roueche, Kenneth Sheffield, Mac Swan, Ronald Swan, Bryan Swanger, Dewey Swanger, Harry Strong, Ferris Thomassen, LeRoy Webster, Irul Simmons, James Walker, Paul Williams, and U.S. Army nurse Mary Swan.
In the 1920s, two auxiliary organizations were added to the Kaysville American Legion activities. The first was the involvement of the Service Star Legion. This group included the mothers of WWI servicemen. During the war, mothers of servicemen were given a small flag to hang in their window showing the general public that there was a soldier, sailor, or marine serving from that household. After the war, mothers became honorary members of the American Legion and were encouraged to take an active part in all the Legion’s programs. The second organization was the American Legion Auxiliary. This group was made up of the wives and sisters of WWI servicemen and, in Kaysville, this group became one of the most active women’s groups in the city. They met monthly and sponsored many civic improvement projects between 1920 and 1980.
As a permanent memorial to fallen servicemen, the American Legion posts of Kaysville and Layton, Post #82 and Post #87, joined forces in 1930-31 and built a memorial flagpole at the Kaysville-Layton Memorial Park (today the Kaysville City Cemetery). The flagpole was erected as a permanent memorial to the five local servicemen who died in WWI – Elmer Criddle, from Kaysville; and William Layton, Hubert Layton, David Day, and David Jones from Layton. A memorial plaque honoring these men was attached to the flagpole base and a special dedication program was held on Memorial Day, May 30, 1931.
Over the years, the American Legion was one of Kaysville’s most active service organizations. They sponsored youth activities, adult education and rehabilitation programs for veterans and families of veterans, high school and university scholarships, Boys and Girls state; as well as city improvement and beautification projects. The organization was strengthened by veterans from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam and still offer military honors to veterans who are buried in the Kaysville City Cemetery.
- “Kaysville American Legion, Elmer Criddle, Post #82”, Our Kaysville Story Facebook post by Bill Sanders, May 17, 2023.
- Photos courtesy: The Weekly Reflex, Heritage Museum of Layton.