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The American Legion in Council

The Adams County Record of Council, Idaho

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The story of American Legion Post #72 in Council begins in June of 1919, only 8 months after the end of World War I. That month, a few people started organizing, and by December, they had established the Bert Harpham Post. In 1917, Harpham was one of the first men from Council killed in action in France, and the post was named in his honor.

Less than 20 years prior to this, Harham's father, Sam Harpham or "Harphan" as it was spelled in the Council newspaper, was a heavy drinker.

Onjanuary 5, 1900, in a drunken stupor, he was shot to death after he used a pistol to club the caller at a square dance.

The Legion post soon bought a corner lot-the southwest corner of Moser Avenue and Main Street — from a Mrs. Hancock of New Meadows, and starting planning to erect a building.

In its October 29, 1920 issue, the Adams County Leader announced that the American Legion was collecting donations with which to build "a memorial in honor of the boys from this county who lost their lives in the war." The paper said: "Instead of erecting a mere monument of cold stone it is planned to build a suitable American Legion building. Since the erection of such buildings has become quite general throughout the United States and their purpose fully known, there is no apparent necessity for discussion as to the good sense of the plan. The boys have contributed heavily out of their own purses, and it strikes us that every person who has a spare dollar can well afford to give something — and if all give in fair proportion to their means the problem will be solved without difficulty. Personally, we would dislike to walk past a soldier memorial in this county and feel that we had not contributed at least some small part of its construction. Come on, folks, let's kick through.' "

It evidently took a couple years to raise the funds. In July of 1923 the Leader said the building was under construction.

The building was soon used routinely for basketball games, as the local school had no gymnasium. It was also the scene of many dances, even into the 1970s.

In 1928 the Worthwhile Club established a "library room" in the Legion Hall, saying, "Books will be secured from the state free traveling library also." This was the beginning of the club's years-long effort to establish a library in Council, which they eventually accomplished.

In 1930 the Legion post bought land southwest of the courthouse and highway for an athletic field. It still holds the deed to that property, which is south of the present elementary school.

In 1'32 the Leader said, "Elder. L. Sandidge of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints began Wednesday night holding services at Legion hall, Council."


World War I may have engaged more Adams County men than any other war. The "war to end all wars," as it was called, proved to be one of the most horrific in human history. At least four Adams County men were placed in Company "A" 347th Machine Gun Battalion: Pat Ferrell, Willard McDowell, Herbie Glenn and Edward Burtenshaw. This battalion participated in heavy combat in the Meuse-Argonne Forest that concluded with the crossing of the Scrape River and Capture of Audenarde in France. This batde was a part of the final Allied offensive of World War I that stretched along the entire Western Front. It was fought from September 26, 1918, until the Armistice on November 11, a total of 47 days.

Edward Burtenshaw's story is especially poignant. His father, Attorney Luther

Burtenshaw, was one of Council's founding fathers and was a pillar of the community. Edward had married, become an attorney, and was practicing law with his father when the U.S. became involved in the War in 1917. Edward was drafted and shipped to the battlefields of France. In fall of 1918 the Burtenshaws received crushing news in a telegram from the War Department: Edward had died on October 6. The family was shocked, but thought that it must be a mistake. They had just received a letter from Edward dated Oct 20, saying, "I am still in the land of the living and am well and feel fine."

Eventually more information came; Edward was dead. He had made it through the bloody conflict without a scratch, even having gone through the brutal battle of Argonne Woods, from which he received a citation for bravery.

Edward had made the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, had been called back from the front to teach a class, and it looked like the worst was over. Then, only ten days before the armistice was signed ending the war, he died from influenza, which was becoming a worldwide epidemic that would eventually kill millions. Three and a half months later, and half a world away, his wife gave birth to a baby boy. He was named Edward after his father.

More than two years passed before the family could get Edward's body shipped back to the U.S. Finally in June of 1921, Edward's wife and parents were able to lay him to rest under Council Valley soil. The community rallied around the grief-stricken family at one of the largest and saddest funeral services ever held in Council. It was conducted at the Opera House (later the People's Theater), which probably held more people than any other building in town. Even so, people overflowed into the streets.

Museum photographs The Council Valley Museum has photographs of the following WWI veterans.

From Council:

Frosty McConnell, Ralph Peebles, Herbie Glenn, Verna Harrington, Clarence Gould, Oliver L. Anderson, Robert T. Whiteman, Frank Cossit, Lambetya A. Darland, Earl Fuller, Andy H. Gerulf, Hallie P. Ham, Elmer Harp, John W. Hoover, Orville C. Howe, Charles Winkler, Alta Ingram, Alva Ingram, George A. Winkler, Dale Mullin, Forrest D. Mullin, Gay D. Johnson, Leonard R. Knight, Harry L. Lakey, Lester K. Layton Clare B. Lowe, Benjamin F. Marsh, William R. McClure, Charles E. Ham, Claude Childers, Gerry S. Beier, Frank L. Bramblee, Thomas F. N. Burns, Ingle W. Cox, Clifford D. Emery, W.L. Nichols, Gus Kroll, George E. McCallum, Robert J. Mitchell, Glenn Missman, Ralph H. Peebles, Howard J. Rogers, Paul E. Shaff, Chester E. Selby, Roy J. Shaw, Clifford Shultz, Charles E. Shultz, Harry Tomlinson, William R. Tucker, Samuel Warren, Bruce D. Whitney, Lee P. Zink, Ingle Cox, Vollie V. Zink.

Fruitvale: Fredrick F. Eakin, Harold G. Hamill, Robert M. Lindsay, Franklin L. Muckensturn (Muckenstrum), Oliver Robertson of Fruitvale, Frank Shinkle of Starkey, Solon L. Shinkle.

From Meadows Valley: Rollie L. Campbell, Pat Farrell, Revello M. Farrell, W.L. Nickols, William Patterson, Lee Higgins, of New Meadows, Ora Lutz, Chester E. Simmons, Henry Wilson.

Indian Valley: Pertle Linder, Willard McDowell, Jessie McDowell, John Manning

Cuprum: Carl Meneely, Collis A. Lynes Mesa: Howard L. Rush, John E. Burch.

Dick Higgins of Cottonwood, William A. Whidow of Bear, Oscar V. Karr of Tamarack.

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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