The Charles Major Lytle American Legion Post 818 was the scene of a Texas Historical Marker dedication on Saturday, Aug. 9.
The celebration was co-sponsored by the Lott-Canada Alumni Association and the Bee County Historical Commission, and the ceremony was held during the Lott-Canada reunion weekend. Many guests and dignitaries representing Beeville’s African-American community were present.
Joanna O’Riley gave the welcoming speech, followed by an invocation of former Beevillian Rev. Dr. Joe Webb of San Antonio. Dr. Barbara Welder, chair of the Bee County Historical Commission, spoke on the six markers that had been produced during her tenure and the large contribution made by the African-American community. She also congratulated the group for enriching Bee County by writing these histories and recording them as markers.
Other markers produced in the last 10 years include Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, Jones Chapel United Methodist Church, St. Rose Cemetery, Lott-Canada School with a state and National Register marker and, finally, the Charles Major Lytle American Legion Post 818.
She concluded by congratulating Carl O’Riley, author of the marker; Joanna O’Riley; Karen Hadden; George McCarty; Jesse Robinson; and Elizabeth Langley, who all worked with the Bee County Historical Commission on this project.
Martha Stovall sang and led the gathering in “America, the Beautiful” and “Texas, Our Texas.” Kenneth Hinderman, president of the Lott-Canada Alumni Association, spoke of the efforts to keep the American Legion Post open. He added that donations would be welcomed.
Dr. Welder spoke in absence of Patricia Dougherty and presented a gift to the American Legion 818 in memory of her father, Dudley T. Dougherty, who, like his father, Judge Dougherty, had supported this project. Dudley Dougherty had also had war experiences, earning four bronze stars as he served with Gen. George Patton. His compassion for the enlisted man and providing a place to meet motivated his ongoing support of this project.
The marker was unveiled by 99-year-old George McCarty and Brenda Lytle Simmons, daughter of Charles H. Lytle, the building’s namesake. Charles Lytle was killed in 1945, and posthumously received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor.
A closing prayer was offered by the Rev. Oliver Greer, and the group adjourned to the Beeville Community Center for a barbecue luncheon provided by the Lott-Canada Alumni.