Sgt. Preston Ashley

Sgt. Preston Ashley

Sgt. Preston Ashley was born in 1919 on the Ashley family farm in Piney Neck. He was one of 10 children of Joseph Columbus Ashley and Augusta (Miss Gussie) Crouch Ashley. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, Enginer Company 427, at age 19 in 1938. He served in England, Northern Ireland, the seaport of Oran, Algeria, and North Africa. On May 10, 1943, Sergeant Ashley was wounded in battle and died at age 23 at the 1st Mobile British Military Hospital in Sousse, Tunisia, North Africa. He was laid to rest in the North Africa American Cemetery. A bronze marker was erected at the Ashley family plot at Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Rock Hall. American Legion Post No. 228, founded in 1947, is proudly named after Sgt. Preston Ashley. (Courtesy of Patsy Reihl as published in the book Images of America: Rock Hall.)

Kenty County Burial

North Africa Burial

Some Artifacts From Our Very First Year!

Initial Overview Post 228 Initial Overview
Description of the 1st functions of Post 228

Charter March 21st, 1947
Sgt. Preston Ashely Post 228 is officially recognized by the National Executive Committe of the American Legion.

04/23/1947 April 23rd, 1947
The first meeting was held at the Mansion House. The purpose was to organize Sgt. Preston Ashley Post 228. Dues were set at $5.00. They signed up 26 members and collected $114.00.

Mansion House, 1947 Mansion House, 1947
Here's a flyer for the Mansion House, circa 1947. You know you're old when your phone number is 75.

05/08/1947 May 8th, 1947
Officers were installed by Vice Commander of the Northeast District Lewin Burris of Chestertown. The meeting was then turned over to the First Post 228 Commander Poole. Membership was at 45 members.

06/09/1947 June 9th, 1947
Commander said first fish fry to be held June 28th for benefit of PTA elementary school to start a cafeteria.

07/14/1947 July 14th ,1947
Committee appointed to contact Mr. Webber to make a deal on the Cully property as a Legion Home. There were 27 members present for the meeting.

08/11/1947 August 11th, 1947
Commander read letter from the War Dept. who will send us rifles for the Honor Guard. They requested $10.00 to cover packing and shipping. Motion approved. The next fish fry to be held at the Mansion House on Sept 7, 1947.

10/13/1947 October 13th, 1947
Commander ordered Post Flags and show rifles to be used by the Honor Guard. There were 29 members who paid dues for 1948.

11/10/1947 November 10th, 1947
New flags were displayed. 51 members paid dues for 1948.

12/18/1947 December 18th, 1947
Baskets of food and one meal were given to 14 local families.

03/02/1949 March 2nd, 1949
Land Survey filed with the Land Records for Kent County.

Founding Members of Post 228, March 21, 1947

  • Frederick A. Poole (Commander)
  • Arthur Wheat (Finance Officer)
  • Edwin Urie (1st Vice Commander)
  • Leonard Higgins (2nd Vice Commander)
  • Robert Tucker (Historian)
  • Leonard Stauffer (Sgt. at Arms)
  • Lewis B. Blackiston, Jr.
  • James E. Buckheit
  • Mildred A. Carr
  • John C. Dowling
  • John R. Dowling, Jr.
  • Maurice B. Downey
  • Oliver E. Frazier
  • William F. Hill
  • Roaby Kelly
  • George B. Parsons
  • James B. Parsons
  • Thomas J. Parsons
  • Walter G. Rodney
  • Franklin B. Tucker
  • Thomas A. Tucker

Some Interesting Facts from 1948 to 1960

  • In 1948- the Legion rented Mercer Hall for $5.00 to hold meetings. The Legion sent out Post Cards to notify members of upcoming meetings. They had a discussion to purchase Mercer Hall for the new Legion house. A committee met with Mr. Mercer to purchase Mercer Hall, the ground, the house, a small building, chairs, bar and benches. The purchase price was $5700.00. A down payment of $400.00 was given to Mr. Mercer. $300.00 came from the building fund and $100.00 from the general fund.
  • In 1949, Minute Men rented the hall for $7.00 to hold dances.
  • A bingo party was held to raise money for the Post. They made $24.05.
  • The Legion purchased 300 poppies for Veterans in hospitals. The Legion donated $12.00 for cigarettes to give to veterans in the hospital.
  • A motion was made In July to form an Auxiliary. Men's wives were invited to the meeting.
  • In 1950, the Legion raised the hall rental fee from $7.00 to $10.00. They held another fish fry and tickets sold for $1.25. The Minute Men built a stage in the hall. The Legion decided to join the Minute Men and hold joint dances. The Legion continued to send $12.00 to Perry Hall for cigarettes for the Veterans.
  • (1951-1954) - The Legion raised the price of the fish fry to $1.50. The Post made $94.58 from dances held in Tolchester. One fish fry netted $182.20. The Legion held a carnival at the Post and netted $248.26. The Legion purchased 5 dozen American Flags 8" x12" for $1.50 per dozen. The Legion contributed $20.00 to the Rock Hall Ambulance Fund. The Legion purchase food baskets for the needy- not to exceed $5.00 each.
  • A committee was formed to find out costs of installing toilets in the Legion. They voted to install 2 toilets.
  • (1955-1956)-The Legion purchased a gross of flags for veteran's graves. Emerson Stenger rented the small building from the Legion for $10.00 per month. The Legion voted to let the Auxiliary use the hall. The Auxiliary agreed to donate some money towards the expense of the hall. The Legion raised the rent for Mr. Stenger to $15.00 per month. A motion was made to remodel the Legion house. The Legion continued to send money to Perry Hall for cigarettes.
  • (1957-1960)-The town Youth Center rented the small building for 5 years for $300.00 per year. A special committee was formed to look into building a kitchen for the hall. A motion was made to have a $100.00 jackpot for the Bingos. The post sponsored a Little League team and held a dinner for them. A district meeting was held at the Post and the cost was $1.50 each. Kitchen tiles were ordered for the kitchen. The Auxiliary held a chicken fry and they could keep the proceeds. The Legion would keep the proceeds from the bar. The Legion hired Pauline Kendall to clean the Legion for $2.00 per week.

Those Crazy 90's

Between 1991 and 1995 many changes took place at Post 228, sometimes affectionately called "Fort Will" because of the previous owner, Will Mercer. Various stories have circulated regarding the original purpose of the building, but one had it being built as a Dance Hall. Mr. Mercer owned a great deal of land and properties in the Rock Hall area including a theater, or as we knew it, The Movie Hall.

Probably during the legion year '91 - '92 it was determined the kitchen could be a source of income but needed some renovations. The ceiling was the first to be pulled down and new drywall was installed. This was done by members of the Post by purchasing a sheet of drywall or pledging a sheet of drywall and the members installed the new ceiling. Also around this time, a walk-in refrigerator and walk-in freezer were located at a price that couldn't be refused and both were purchased, disassembled, transported, and reassembled. These improvements allowed us to have more fund raisers, such as fish fries, crab feasts, oyster roasts, fried chicken dinners, and pig roasts. In years past, our post was known for its outstanding fish fries. In those days' bus loads of peopled descended on Post 228 for sumptuous meals of fried fish, potatoes, baked beans and Dutch oven short bread.

The hall was dark with knotty pine termite eaten paneling with at least 40 years of Camel, Chesterfield, Pall Mall, Marlboro, and various other brands of cigarette smoke. We felt we could improve the appearance of the hall by lightening it up with paint, so we did the same thing we did with the kitchen, various members purchased gallons of paint or pledged gallons of paint and the members pitched in and painted the hall.

Around legion year '92 - '93 we started discussing the possibilities of building a new hall, but determined we needed to improve our income in order to do so. A new Lounge seemed to be the way to get that done, so a loan was secured and a new lounge was started around '93 - '94. We demolished an old dirt floor addition that had been built but was of no use and a new Club Room, Lounge, was built. We even held a North Eastern Shore District Meeting while under construction. The Auxiliary met in the new section which still had 2x4 walls, but new rest room facilities. By "94 - '95 construction was complete and the lounge which is in use today is that completed project. All of this was being done with an eye looking forward to eventually tearing down the old outdated hall and rebuilding a new modern facility.

During this time, a Color Guard had been formed and provided much of the labor, support, and enthusiasm that allowed all of this to take place. That Color Guard was known as the All Service Color Guard, because its members wore the uniforms representing the era in which they had served their country. It traveled to various parts of Maryland participating in parades and other functions and even represented Post 228 at the dedication of the Maryland Monument at Gettysburg, PA. It competed in the Department of Maryland Color Guard Competition and Parade at the Department Convention in Ocean City several times and placed well.

Courtesy Larry Crouch, American Legion Commander 1991 - 1995

Old Mercer Hall is Torn Down, New Hall is built and dedicated

At the time of the demolition of the old Legion Hall (formerly known as Mercer Hall), and the new hall being built-- Neal Metzbower was Commander of Post 228. Neal acted as the building contractor on the project and spent 8 hour days, seven days a week to oversee the construction.

Below is a time line of the demolition and construction which took place from Dec. 2004 to June 2005. This valuable information was obtained from a log which Neal kept throughout the whole process.

  • 12-1-2004- A check was sent to Kent County Planning Department for MDIA, for the building permits. The check was for $336.00.
  • 2-21-2005- A Check was sent to Dan H. Beachy and Sons Inc. for a deposit on the building. The check was for $4050.00.
  • 2-22-2005- Started to lay footers.
  • 2-28-2005- A Check was sent to Mike Davidson for demolition of the old hall and removal of the debris and grading. The check was for $7580.00
  • 2-28-2005- A check was sent to Bay Shore Plumbing for a down payment on the plumbing. The check was for $3300.00.
  • 3-22-2005- The slab was poured.
  • 4-18-2005- The plumbing was roughed in.
  • 4-18-2005- Mike Cox roughed in the electric
  • 5-4-2005- New sign was ordered from T. Alley. The letters would be 12" high and painted in navy.
  • 5-5-2005- RT&T roughed in the HVAC
  • 5-6-2005- Danny Mayne from GEDE set up time for the installation of the insulation.
  • 5-12-2005- Jamie Coleman installed the floor tiles.
  • 5-12-2005- Sheet Rock delivered from Rock Hall lumber.
  • 5-15-2005- Crow Wilson and Reid Galt started installing the nailers.
  • 5-24-2005- Neal obtained a tax exempt number for the Legion.
  • 5-29-2005- Volunteer painters- Neal, Artie Angel, Frank King, John Larrimore and Buddy Trego started the painting.
  • 6-17-2005- Reid Galt and Crow Wilson started to work on bar counter top.
  • 6-22-2005- Allen Coppage (MDIA) did the final inspection on the new hall. Everything passed.
  • 4-22-2006- The dedication for the New Hall and the New M60 Military Tank for Post 228 was held

The total cost of the new hall was $245,000.00. The Legion obtained a 15 year mortgage from Peoples Bank for $135,000.00.

Legion Lounge Legion Lounge, circa 1950
The original Legion. An oldie but goodie.

Lounge with Attachment The Original with Addition
The original Legion with the addition to hold the bar and kitchen.

Out with the Old Out with the Old
Tearing down the original portion of the Legion.

Laying the Foundation Laying the Foundation
The foundation is set and we're almost ready to put up the walls.

Almost Done Almost Done...
Looking good!!!

Our Signage Our Signage
Putting on the finishing touches.

Dedication Program Dedication Program
Dedication of Social Hall and M60 Military Tank.

Mortgage Burning leads to some awesome improvements!

Remember that 15 year mortgage we had on the legion? Guess who paid it off in only 5 years and 3 months!

Once the mortgage was paid off, we invested in some well needed renovations. Since 2011 the Legion has remodeled the kitchen, given the hall a face lift, installed lights in the parking lot, put on a new roof on and installed a new heater. Also , the Legion family has purchased statues that represent the 5 branches of the service and the flags for each branch of the service. These were installed in front of The Legion Hall.

And we're not done yet! Coming in the spring of 2020 the parking lot is going to be re-surfaced.

Mortgage Burning Invitation Mortgage Burning Invite
The "official" invitation to our mortgage burning.

Mortgage Burning Burn, Baby, Burn!
October 30th, 2010
Neal Metzbower and Ted Cumings burn the mortgage!

New Legion The New Legion
The new Legion Lounge is open for business.

Our New Appliances Our New Appliances
They're so shiny you can see your reflection in them.

Our Updated Kitchen Our Updated Kitchen
Look at all the space we have!

Our New Statues and Flags Our New Statues and Flags
The Legion family has purchased statues that represent the 5 branches of the service and the flags for each branch of the service.

The New and Improved Hall The New and Improved Hall
In March of 2017, our hall had a wonderful face lift. Click here for rental information.

21423 Sharp St. • PO Box 207
Rock Hall, MD 21661