History of the VFW
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the
United States came into existence in 1913 as a result of amalgamations over a
period of years since 1899 of five separate foreign service organizations that
had the same ideals and similar requirements for membership. These organizations
came into being entirely independent of one another and without the knowledge of
one another at the time of their origin. A brief resume of these unites is as
September 1899, AMERICAN VETERANS OF FOREIGN SERVICE organized as a national body in Columbus, Ohio. Were chartered by the State of Ohio October 10, 1899 and elected J. C. Putnam as their first Commander-in-Chief. They were organized through the efforts of James Romanis.
December 1899, COLORADO SOCIETY OF THE ARMY OF THE PHILIPPINES organized at Denver, Colorado by General Irving Hale. Became NATIONAL SOCIETY OF THE ARMY OF THE PHILIPPINES on August 13, 1900 with Francis V. Greene as their first Commander-in-Chief. At their Encampment in August 1909 they changed the name to ARMY OF THE PHILIPPINES. July 7, 1901, H.O. Kelley organized PHILIPPINE WAR VETERANS in Altoona, Pennsylvania. In July 1902 reorganized with C.O. Knighton as President.
October 1901, PHILIPPINE WAR VETERANS
organized at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with G.H. Smith being elected Commander.
On April 27, 1902 reorganized as FOREIGN SERVICE VETERANS with Jacques La Belle
as Commander. July 24, 1902, AMERICAN VETERANS OF PHILIPPINE AND CHINA WARS
organized at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by Captain Robert S. Hansbury.
The PHILIPPINE WAR VETERANS-Altoona, PHILIPPINE WAR VETERANS-Pittsburgh, and AMERICAN VETERANS OF THE PHILIPPINE AND CHINA WARS-Philadelphia met together September 10-12, 1903 at Altoona, Pennsylvania and formed the Eastern society of the AMERICAN VETERANS OF THE PHILIPPINES, CUBAN, PUERTO RICAN & CHINA WARS organization. In 1903 the name was changed by plebiscite to AMERICAN VETERANS OF FOREIGN SERVICE-Eastern Branch.
During the period of September 13-15, 1905, at Altoona, Pennsylvania, the Eastern Branch of the AMERICAN VETERANS OF FOREIGN SERVICE, which was formed in 1903 at Altoona, Pennsylvania, amalgamated with the original AMERICAN VETERANS OF FOREIGN SERVICE of Columbus, Ohio to become one society known as the AMERICAN VETERANS OF FOREIGN SERVICE. Herbert O. Kelley, of Altoona, was elected Commander.
In August, 1913, at Denver, Colorado, the ARMY OF THE PHILIPPINES and the AMERICAN VETERANS OF FOREIGN SERVICE united under the temporary name of ARMY OF THE PHILIPPINES, CUBA AND PUERTO RICO with Rice W. Means as the first Commander-in Chief. During the year the organization's name was changed by plebiscite and General Order No. 1 to the present day VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED STATES.
At the Encampment in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1914, the name VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED STATES and a constitution were formally adopted.
On May 28, 1936, Congressional Charter incorporated the VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED STATES.