(Information from 100th anniversary booklet published by Post 444)

The American Legion is a corporation which was created and chartered by an Act of Congress on September 16,1919 as a patriotic veterans’ organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It was open to veterans who had served during the time of World War I.  Membership eligibility has since been expanded to include all veterans of the United States military services who have served at least one day of active duty since December 7, 1941, and who were honorably discharged. All who are presently serving honorably are also eligible.  The American Legion is the primary veterans’ organization assisting veterans with obtaining benefits to which they are entitled, and it is the principal advocate for veterans in our nation’s capitol.

Charter members of Legion Post 444
1976 Parade WWI Veterans
Five charter members of NK Washington Post 444 in Ferd Wellman’s 1919 Chevrolet, Left to right: Elmer E. Katterheinrich (1894-1985), Henry W. Katterheinrich (1891-1977), Emil Hoelscher (1893-1978), Simpson Poppe (1893-1981), Ferd Wellman (1893-1987)

Our local New Knoxville American Legion Post had its organizational meeting on May 3, 1920 in the New Knoxville Town Hall.  Election of officers was held June 4, 1920 with George Holtkamp elected as the first Post Commander.  Other officers included Arthur Hoge, Adjutant, E. Herbert Katterheinrich, Treasurer, Reinhard W. Kuhlman, Service Officer, William H. Kipp, Employment Officer, Walter Wellman, Chaplain, Edwin B. Mahn, Historian, Albin G. Stienecker, Athletic Officer, Ferd Lutterbeck, Sergeant at Arms.  The twenty six charter members were:

George Holtkamp
Emil Hoelscher
E. Herbert Katterheinrich
Albin Stienecker
Arthur Hoge
Clarence Holtkamp
Henry W. Katterheinrich
Walter Wellman
Gustave Schroer


Chas. W. Katterheinrich
Simpson Poppe
Richard Schroer
Herman Mann
Elmer Katterheinrich
Reinhard W. Kuhlman
Wm. H. Kipp
Ferd W. Lutterbeck
Edwin B Mahn

Florenz Kuck
Edward J. Niemeyer
Henry W. Fledderjohann
Adolph Henschen
Walter Althoff
Ferd Henschen
Ferd Wellman
Roy Headapohl

The charter members had the foresight to purchase the old creamery building from Kramer and Dickman on February 17, 1920.  The building was renovated in 1931 to provide an adequate home for Post 444.  Besides Legion functions, the building was used for other community activities such as family reunions, teen dances, etc.  Functions such as the monthly chicken frys started in this building and still continue today.  This building served as their home until 1972, when the old building was demolished, and construction began on the new Legion home on September 15, 1972. The dedication service for the completed new building took place on May 13, 1973.  The Legion grounds were used for many years as the site of the New Knoxville Fall Festival, and the Legion supports many programs and activities in our local communities and at the state and national level.  These include sponsorship of Buckeye Boys State attendees and the awarding of two scholarships to New Knoxville High School seniors every year, as well as providing ceremonial teams for funerals of veterans and Memorial Day events.

The American Legion Auxiliary of Post 444 was organized in 1932 with twelve women as charter members:

Dorothy Kuhlman
Zella Eversman
Frances Stienecker
Arminta Katterheinrich

Ella Wellman
Lydia C. Henschen
Meta Hoge
Lydia Niemeyer

Ella Poppe
Lydia Holtkamp
Frances Katterheinrich
Magdalena Hoelscher

Programs supported by the Auxiliary included Americanism, National Security, Legislation, concerns of veterans, youth and community service.  Money and gifts were sent to Ohio veteran hospitals and to charitable groups such as the Red Cross, Scouting and the Auglaize School.  Informative programs in Americanism include sponsorship of local girls to attend Buckeye Girls State and the presentation of American flags to each class of first grade students.  Auxiliary members have taken an active role in community activities including church programs and blood drives.

Legion Post 444 around 1960
The home of the NK Legion Post 444 around 1960 in the former Kramer-Dickman creamery

Squadron 444 of the Sons of the American Legion (SAL) was chartered in December of 1994.  They provide support to many of the same programs as the Washington Post 444 including the sponsorship of Buckeye Boys State, New Knoxville High School scholarships and ceremonial activities for Memorial Day and veteran funerals.