RICHARD A. MITCHELL POST 51

 

LIEUT. RICHARD A. MITCHELL -- 1894-1921

Lieut. Mitchell served in WWI but did not die in wartime. As a young Father to his namesake Richard, and Husband to the former Helen T. Holt, the 27-year-old Veteran was fatally shot by his brother in a tragic hunting accident.

The Harvey-Mitchell Memorial Library’s copy of “Tales from Epping’s Past” by Madalyn Williamson reveals Richard as “one of the sons of Dr. Abram Mitchell who devotedly served the people of this town for almost fifty years as the Rockingham County Physician. Dr. Mitchell was so respected that when he retired in 1930, his letter of resignation was refused and he was awarded an unlimited leave of absence with privileges instead. In 1935, Dr. Mitchell gave the land where the Harvey-Mitchell Memorial Library in Epping is now.”

(Editor’s Note: The Williamson book is available on the Library’s website for free download at http://www.eppinglibrary.com/tales-from-eppings-past/. It is a very entertaining collection of stories. We recommend it highly.)

Click here for more history, and here for the family tree, courtesy of the Harvey-Mitchell Memorial Library.

POST HISTORY

After World War II, on February 25, 1949, the Richard A. Mitchell American Legion Post was the 51st Post chartered in New Hampshire by WWI’s veterans and registered with the Secretary of State of New Hampshire. The Post was named after Richard A. Mitchell, a Lieutenant in WWI. (See sidebar)

The original Post 51 was on Main Street. The Main Street building burned down on May 15th 1954 — a loss of $15,000.00 dollars. The fire was of "undetermined" origin. According to Ms. Joy True, now Curator of the Epping Historical Society:  “my (future) husband was a senior, and I was a freshman. I took dancing lessons there, we had a dress rehearsal the day before, and our recital was to be the next night. The recital was moved to the Epping Town Hall.”

The fire took with it all of the Post’s written records. We have a few pictures at the Post of some of our first Commanders, including Henry Holt who was a mailman and we believe was an officer in the Navy during the war. Also Post Commander was Thomas Fecteau, who was also very active in later years in the Democratic party and owned Fecteau's Market which was visited by all the candidates who were running for President. And Ms. Madalyn Williamson (see Sidebar) writes of our Post: “Among its many good works, the Mitchell American Legion Post of Epping puts up all those beautiful American flags we see flying over our streets each Memorial Day.”

Post 51 has always strived to be an asset to its community. Members have extended themselves in community service and it did not go unnoticed.

On June 5, 1954, a local bricklayer, businessman, and veteran of WWII, Mr. Perley Twombly, deeded a parcel of his land on Route 125 in Epping NH to Post 51 as a site for the building we occupy now. Within the last five years, we presented a plaque to his family expressing our gratitude for the donation.

Affiliated Organizations

A Sons of the Legion for American Legion Post 51 was chartered in 1981. The Legion has every reason to be proud of its Sons of Legion unit, which gained statewide recognition because of its programs of service.

A Women's Auxiliary of American Legion Post 51 was formed on January 20, 2007. The Legion also has every reason to be proud of its Auxiliary. Auxiliary members are always eager and willing to co-operate in every Legion activity.

In addition to our Post Veterans membership and the Auxiliary, the Sons of the American Legion and the American Legion Riders (motorcycle club) are the other two parts of our organization. Up until recent years, the Post members were very active in every facet of the Legion — both internally and externally. As our members age, along with the Legion's inability to attract significant numbers of new members, the Sons are taking on a larger role.

Post 51 Today

In 2022, we donated $2000 to a local food pantry for Thanksgiving and another $2000 for Christmas. We have formed a Memorial Day Parade committee with the stated goal of making our parade more sensitive to the occasion. The Post is responsible for the parade, after which it hosts a cookout for the townspeople on Post property. We do all this and so much more for the community.

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We would like to thank Mr. Ben Brown, Director of the Harvey-Mitchell Memorial Library, Ms. Joy True, Curator of the Epping Historical Society, and Post 51 members Richard Newman and Kenneth Maynard for their contributions to this reconstructed history of Post 51. If you have anything to add, we would love to hear it and include it on this page. Our history is living and breathing as are the contributors who make it so. We invite you to be one. Email it to: NicoleNH51@gmail.com. Thank you!