NEWS FROM THE HUT by John Hamilton
The American Legion Post #142 in Hominy was organized in 1920, following World War I and following the organization of the American Legion in 1919. The post was originally named after Pvt. Andrew Blackwell, the first known Osage County resident killed in action during WWI.
William “Andrew” Blackwell was a private in the U.S. Army, serving in the 58th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division, during World War I. He was killed in action on May 23, 1918, when the RMS Moldavia was torpedoed by a German U-Boat in the English Channel.
There are conflicting birth records, but Andrew Blackwell was probably born on December 23, 1893, in Warm Springs, Arkansas. His father, William Bell Blackwell, was a local merchant and a farmer. He married Andrew’s mother, Emma Earnest Hand, in 1889, and together, they had a large family. In the late 1890’s, the entire Blackwell family relocated from Arkansas to the Osage Nation in Oklahoma to take advantage of territories that were opening up to white settlers. They settled in Hominy where Andrew grew up. Andrew Blackwell was 15 at the time of the 1910 census. On the census form, Andrew and his older brother Robert were listed as farm laborers, and they were both listed as being able to read and write.
Blackwell registered for the draft on May 6, 1917. On his draft card, he indicated that he was single without children, and that he had been employed at the Union Station in Wichita, Kansas. He also indicated that he was supporting his sister. From contemporary accounts, Andrew Blackwell was inducted into the service on January 28, 1918, in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Within a few months, he had completed his expedited training with other fresh American troops, and he was assigned to the 58th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. With the European theater of war heating up, Blackwell began his journey to join the American Expeditionary Forces.
Making his way to the war front, Pvt. Blackwell was on board the British transport ship, the RMS Moldavia, when it was struck by a single torpedo from a German U-Boat, in the English Channel. Andrew Blackwell perished on May 23, 1918, in the line of duty, along with 55 other American soldiers from the 58th Infantry Regiment. Experts surmised that he and his comrades died instantly. He was 24 years old
A generation later, 2nd Lt. Clyde M. Frazier’s name was added. He was the first known Hominy resident killed in action during WWII. To this day, our name is Blackwell – Frazier American Legion Post 142.
Clyde M. Frazier, Jr
2nd Lt., Clyde M. Frazier, Jr. was a pilot in the 58th Bombardment Squadron of the 5th Bombardment Group, in the U. S. Army Air Corps (AAF), during World War II. He died on May 5, 1942, when his airplane crashed during a training exercise at Hickam Field, Hawaii.
Clyde Frazier, Jr. was born on February 29,1920 in Wynona, Oklahoma; and he was raised in the neighboring town of Hominy, in Osage County. His father Clyde M. Frazier, Sr., and his mother Dovie Frazier had a total of five children, one daughter and four sons. Together, they started a well-respected family business in 1916, which operated in Hominy for several years. Clyde Jr. graduated from Hominy High School, and he was a member of the First Baptist Church of Hominy. After high school, he attended Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee for 2 ½ years. His academic career is noteworthy due to his membership on the “All-State College Football Team” during his second year.
Frazier enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in the U.S. Army Air Corps (AAF), on October 16, 1940; and quickly reported for training. At the time of his enlistment, he was reported to be tall and lean, at a height of 72 inches and 163 lbs. He received his wings and commission at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas, on May 29, 1941. As a 2nd Lieutenant, Frazier served as a pilot on a B-17 “Flying Fortress” and on an A-20-8 light attack bomber in the 58th Bomber Squadron of the 5th Bomber Group. He was stationed at Hickam Field at the time of attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. During the infamous attack, Frazier’s group suffered heavy losses of men and equipment, including several B-17’s.
During the re-organization following Pearl Harbor, the 5th Bomber Group was assigned to the 7th Air Force, based on Hawaii. It remained there until November 1942 when the group transferred to the 13th Air Force, to take part in the campaign in the Solomon Islands. However, Lt. Frazier would not live long enough to join his squadron there. 2nd Lt. Clyde M. Frazier, Jr. died May 5,1942, when his airplane crashed during a training exercise at Hickam Field, Territory of Hawaii. He is listed as DNB (Died Non-Battle). Frazier was 22 years old. Frazier’s death underscores the dangers these men were enduring while participating in the Pacific war. In fact, there were many casualties just from the massive movement of men and machinery to the front line. His death in a so-called training exercise in a war zone, and not from an enemy’s bullet, did not make the loss any less traumatic. Indeed, Frazier’s death seems even more tragic, under these circumstances.
Another hero from Hominy, Brigadier General Kenneth Taylor, Lt. Kenneth Taylor during WWII, was at Pearl Harbor during the same time. The Kenneth Taylor story is known by many of the Hominy long-time residents as Hominy has a special Kenneth Taylor Day on December 5th each year. Additionally, another Hominy hometown hero who was an ace pilot during the Middle Eastern War.
This hero, Gentner Drummond, is still alive and a current member of Post 142.
Post #142 meetings were originally held upstairs over the Dupy Furniture Store located at 124 West Main Street, in Hominy. However, in 1937, Past-Post Commander and Osage County Commissioner Joe Taylor saw an opportunity to purchase the Battery and Tire Shop at 118 South Wood. The building had been originally owned by local resident Joe Stebbins, but ultimately, it was purchased for some back taxes owed. In short order, World War I veterans started money raising projects to refurbish the old building, which only had a dirt floor. Two of the favorite fund-raising activities at the time were playing cards every Saturday night, and the famous pancake breakfasts, which served hundreds of people at a time. In addition, the American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 142 was formally organized on May 15, 1928; although records suggest that auxiliary activity occurred before this date.
Before long, this quaint little gathering place became fondly known by its local nickname the ‘American Legion Hut’. The nickname stuck, and the ‘Hut’ remains the current location for the American Legionand American Legion Auxiliary meetings.
Through the years, many veterans from all wars have participated in keeping the ‘Hut’ updated, and the post active. Air conditioners have replaced opened windows during the summertime. The old original heater has been replaced by modern efficient heaters. We are always respectful of our past. Starting on the south wall, continuing along the west wall and ending on the north wall, you will find the pictures of all the Past Post Commanders, that are available, as well as our community’s current military soldiers. Our antique upright piano still sits where it was placed back in the 1930’s. Back then, music was an important component of our gatherings. One of the original music books still remains on the piano, where it has entertained members for decades.
The much-loved building remains home for the local American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary.
Another first for Hominy and for the Hominy American Legion Post 142 was the election of the very first Department of Oklahoma Commander from Hominy. This was accomplished without opposition and by acclimation. Not only is this a first for the Department Commander but is the first time that there are two Legionnaires from Hominy Post 142 to hold an office in the Department of Oklahoma. The new Department Commander is Hominy’s own Charlie O’Leary. The other Department Officer is the Department Historian, John Hamilton.
Until further notice, our regular Legion meeting will be the third Thursday of each month. Our next meeting will be on Thursday, August 19th at 7:00 PM. The Sons of the American Legion meetings have been suspended until further notice, depending on the future COVID-19 situation. We have resumed the tradition of the dinner at bi-monthly meetings now on the third Thursday of the month only. The Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings have been resumed at 8:00 AM. If you are a veteran, or currently on active duty, come by for our monthly meeting, and/or the Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings. Several of the Post 142 members meet on Wednesday’s at Daylight Donuts on OK-99 around 8:00 AM in Hominy for coffee and breakfast treats. If you have a good story, it may end up in print. Also, keep up with us at the Post 142 website “americanlegion142.org” and Hominy Legion on Facebook.