The American Legion, Department of Maryland

James A. Gary, Jr.

James A. Gary, Jr., First
Commander of the
Department of Maryland

At the Paris Caucus, which opened on March 15, 1919, over six hundred men from many different organizations, both enlisted and commissioned, entered deliberations, out of which was born The American Legion. Out of the six hundred plus attendees, at least eleven have been positively identified as Marylanders.

Following the Paris Caucus, a second caucus was held - this time, in St. Louis, Missouri, under the leadership of Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. Col. Roosevelt had been in communication with James A. Gary, Jr. regarding representation from the state of Maryland. Mr. Gary contacted H. Findlay French, J. Craig McLanahan, and Henry S. Barrett. These four met at the Merchants Club and worked out the plans for preliminary organization and representation at the St. Louis Caucus. The delegation would consist of 15 men, 60% of whom were required to be of the enlisted ranks. The delegates named James A. Garym, Jr. as State Chairman. Unfortunately, business pressures prevented Mr. Gary from attending the St. Louis Caucus, so H. Findlay French acted as Chairman of the delegation at the caucus.

Upon the delegation's return from the St. Louis Caucus, a meeting was
held in which all veterans were invited and a temporary organization was set up. A Charter was issued to the Department of Maryland by the National Headquarters, then in New York, on May 24, 1919, as a patriotic, mutual-help, war-time veterans organization.

The American Legion, Department of Maryland is a community-service organization which now numbers nearly 52,000 members -- men and women -- in 134 American Legion Posts throughout the state of Maryland. These posts range in size from 15 members to over 1,600 members in a given post.

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