The Marshfield VFW: In the name of camaraderie
By Kris Leonhardt
Following the Spanish-American War, several veterans organizations sprung up around the country –the American Veterans of Foreign Service in Columbus, OH; the Colorado Society, Army of the Philippines in Denver, CO; and the Foreign Service Veterans in Pennsylvania, PA. The groups continued to grow in scope and size before merging to become the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), with the common interest of aiding veterans and their families and promoting patriotism.
Throughout the next decades of conflict, posts continued to develop through a need of fellowship and purpose.
In Feb. 1930, 40 members of the Burns Post 388 VFW based in Wausau, drove through snow in 20 degree below zero weather to attend the funeral services of Frank Mueller, a fellow veteran killed in action during World War II.
As Mueller was laid to rest in Hillside Cemetery in Marshfield, local veterans were so moved by the camaraderie of the Wausau post and the solemnity of the military service that they decided to seek out more information on the VFW organization.
What resulted from the day was the chartering of Marshfield’s Post 1866 in July of that same year, with 30 names instituting the organization.
The post name was selected by drawing – all names of known deceased veterans were placed in a hat. In choosing the names from the hat, the third and sixth names were to represent the post name. Thus, the Marshfield charter became the Mueller-Hintz Post 1866.
Mueller was a representation of the man whose funeral sparked the creation of the post, while Hintz represented Freddie Hintz, a member of Company A, 127th Infantry of Marshfield.
The Marshfield post began work in the community, first serving food during the Central Wisconsin State Fair, then holding a celebration for Armistice Day – now Veterans Day.
On Dec. 1 of that first year, the post also sponsored a Home Talent Play.
In 1931, the post held their meetings in the Seidl Building on North Central Avenue, and later Bauman Hall.
In Jan. 1932, the VFW Auxiliary was chartered with 36 members, and a few months later the post began their annual poppy sale.
The following year, the VFW moved to new quarters on South Central Avenue, where they had a public bar, club rooms, and a hall.
In 1939, the VFW moved again to 330 S. Central Ave. and closed their public bar.
In Jan. 1941, post member Henry Felhofer was commended for his commitment to the VFW. Felhofer had never missed a meeting since the post formed – from June 1930 to Jan. 1941. Felhofer had also held multiple offices and took care of the day-to-day maintenance at the facilities. He was considered the club’s premiere example of a committed VFW member.
Next week: Part II on the VFW