With Veterans Day fast approaching, the Sweetwater County Historical Museum staff replied to a research request about Archie Hay and Tom Whitmore, for whom the American Legion posts in Rock Springs and Green River are named.
The American Legion is a non-profit organization of military veterans chartered by Congress in 1919. Currently the Legion has nearly 2 million members and more than 12,000 posts throughout the United States, including the Tom Whitmore Post 28 in Green River and the Archie Hay Post 24 in Rock Springs. Both posts were awarded their original charters shortly after the Legion was created.
Archibald Lawrence “Archie” Hay was born in 1893, the son of John Woods Hay and Mary Ann Blair. His 1917 selective service draft card lists his address as 502 B Street in Rock Springs and his profession as “sheep raising and ranching” for the family business, the Blair & Hay Land & Livestock Company. World War I began in Europe in 1914, with Great Britain, France, and Russia as the Allies on one side, and Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire as the Central Powers on the other. The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.
While serving with Company G, 362nd Infantry, 91st Division, U.S. Army, Hay was killed in action in the Champagne-Arden region of France on Sept. 27, 1918. He was the first Rock Springs man to be killed in World War I.
Thomas Tisdel Whitmore was born in 1848 of Scots ancestry in Lake County, Ohio. Whitmore enlisted in the Union Army in 1864, rising in rank from private to sergeant, then 2nd lieutenant before his discharge in September of 1865. He and his family moved to Sweetwater County in 1880 and settled first in Rock Springs, where he worked as a coal miner. In 1888, he was elected Sheriff of Sweetwater County and served in that capacity until 1894. Later, he served for many years as Clerk of the District Court. Whitmore died in 1923, age 74.
In recognition of Veterans Day, the Sweetwater County Historical Museum will be closed on Saturday, Nov. 11, and will reopen as usual at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14.