Passionate About Inspiring Others
The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 129 (Haliburton) was organized in 1927 and received its charter on August 21st, 1928. Leadership was provided by A.G. Schofield, Dr. Frain and Edgar Bentham as well as others.
Alfred George Schofield served with the British Arm as a Postal Corps Sergeant in the 1st World War. His career took him from England to California, back to England and finally here to Haliburton County where he settled in Wilberforce. In 1928, Alfred became a member of theHaliburton Legion. however, the Great Depression had hit Haliburton County particularly hard and interest in the Legion flagged to the point where A.G. was the only member. From 1926 to 2944, he continued to pay his per capita tax to command mainly to keep the Legion Charter alive.
It is recorded that on September 14th, 1932, a motion was made to disband and surrender the charter. The funds were turned over to a newly formed "Haliburton Soldiers Club" which functioned for five years and then petered out. A.G. was the Legion secretary at the time and he decided to tuck the charter away instead of returning it. In 1944, the veterans began returning from the war and A.G. produced the long forgotten charter and plans were set in motion to re-organize. There were only a few veterans and no funds, but they persisted and by 1945 they had purchased the Haliburton's first Legion Hall. The Hall was located in a brick house across from the Texaco Depot. They were free from debt and had funds in the bank.
In 1952, the Legion Hall was completely destroyed by fire, but the monies for a new building were secured and the new Legion Hall was erected. Property was purchased where the present facility is located and a new building was erected . The mortgage was burned on November 21st, 1960. On April 6th, 1963 the Hall was once again destroyed by fire. The charters were lost, $2,000 worth of band instruments, all records, many memoirs and the collection of war souvenirs. The Legion moved into the Curling Rink to set up temporary headquarters before moving to the abandoned Pentecostal Church, which stood next to Branch 129. The loss was only partly covered by insurance, but members rolled up their sleeves and went to work once again to save the Legion. One year later in 1964, the new and still present building of Branch 129 was officially opened and dedicated. A mortgage of $41,000 existed along with $19,000 of shares.
A weekly bingo was operated and an annual car draw along with other draws and special functions helped to raise funds. The Ladies Auxiliary were always there to help as well, catering to weddings, banquets to name a few and turning over money to the Branch to help pay off the mortgage. In November 1970, the mortgage was once again paid off and burned.
In 1995, the Legion had a $300,000 facelift which made too many improvements to list but it gave a whole new look a update to the whole facility.
In October, 2002, thieves broke into the Legion cutting the outside phone lines to disconnect the security system. the front doors were pried open and the thieves proceeded to smash a window in the banquet hall door on the upper floor in order to unlock it. Other damage included broken door frames, damaged desks and a safe was pried open. Undisclosed amount of money was stolen. Again the community stood by the Legion and made the Fundraising Dinner a huge success.
Again in 2016, the Legion held another Fundraising Event to raise money to update and refurbish many areas of the Legion. They raised $10,000 again thanks to the support of the community and the work is presently being done to this amazing legend of the Community.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
2nd VP, Anthony Crofts shared a copy of his father, William Crofts newletter, "The Highland Veteran" Edition No . 8, 1997. William Crofts was a member of the Executive of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 129 Haliburton.
Click here to view the Haliburton County Echo historical article from November 24, 1960, titled, "Haliburton Legion Burn Their Mortgage".