History of F.A. Mackenzie Unit 165
American Legion Auxiliary
On July 12th 1926, the Commander of the F.A. Mackenzie Post 165 was empowered to get in touch with the County Chairman of the Auxiliary to arrange for the forming of the Mackenzie Unit.
On July 29th, at the home of Commander Syme, the first meeting of the F.A. Mackenzie Unit 165 of the American Legion Auxiliary was held and the following were appointed by the Hudson County President, Mrs. A.A.Asper, as organizing officers: Mrs. J. Kershaw, President; Mrs. Adelaide Syme, Secretary; Mrs. Margaret Marshall, Treasurer. Other charter members were: Mrs. Minnie Kershaw, Mrs. Minnie Long, Mrs. Jessie Mattews, Mrs. Lillian Matthews, Mrs. Minnie Ten Broech, Misses Christina and Margaret Syme, Margaret and Marie Stoveken, Mrs. Madeline Stoveken and Mrs. Anna Bahr.
The Unit was installed on August 20th at a meeting held in the lecture room of the First Reform Church, 33rd Street and Avenue C. The County President and her staff installed the new officers, and Commander Syme, in the name of the Post, presented the new Auxiliary with a $25.00 check.
During the first 13 years of existence, the Unit had a tough time keeping things together, but in 1935, the membership increased from 15 to 109. Unit President Kershaw guided the Unit in its work for the first nine years. Poppy sales were held annually to raise funds to assist veterans and their families at Thanksgiving and Christmas time. Members made visits to Ellis Island to help the new citizens, and they presented gifts to veterans in the Bayonne Hospital at Christmas time.
The Unit received many citations for its work in child welfare, hospitalization, and poppy day activities. Mrs. Kershaw was succeeded by Mrs. Ethel Hunter, whose term started in January of 1935. While Mrs. Hunter was in office, the Unit received both National and Department honors for a 300% increase in membership.
The Junior Auxiliary was formed in December of 1935, and the first meeting was held on January 25, 1936 at the home of Mrs. Hunter. The following officers were elected: Vivian Hunter, President; Miriam Wasserman, Vice President; Patricia Rodes, Secretary; Virginia Kelly, Treasurer; Katherine Strohoefer, Historian; and Anna Harris as Chaplain.
The Juniors first affair was a card party. All members were outfitted in blue and gold capes and hats for parading and special affairs.
When the Drum and Bugle Corp was formed, five of the older girls were chosen as Color Guard and Drum Majorettes.