McSween-Johnston Post 73

McSween-Johnston Post 73

What is in a name? For the veterans of Picayune who had served in the Great War and World War II, it meant a symbol of the loss of innocents and being thrust into the unknown. And what better way to show this than to select persons who were the first to die in these wars from their hometown, Picayune, Mississippi, to be the name of American Legion Post 73

As we all know, not everyone who passes during war are killed in action as books and movies would have you believe.  Seaman Apprentice Barney W. (Bonnie) McSween was one of these. Bonnie died in a Naval Hospital on December 15, 1917 of pneumonia. Becoming the first service member from Picayune to die during the Great War.

On February 28, 1942, the Destroyer USS Jacob Jones was torpedoed by a German U Boat and sunk off Cape May, New Jersey. One of the casualties of this sinking was Boilermaker 1st Class George Johnston. George was the first service member from Picayune to die in World War II.

Bonnie McSween was the first named Post in Picayune. However, it was not Post 73. Bonnie McSween Post 108 was organized in August 1920. Bonnie McSween Post 108’s charter was canceled on June15, 1925. The Post number 108 was reassigned to Bentonia, Mississippi in 1936.

Post 73 was originally assigned in 1920 to Sunflower, Mississippi and its charter was also canceled on June 15,1925

On February 25, 1929 Bonnie McSween Post 73 was organized. It remained Bonnie McSween Post 73 until January 8,1947 when the charter was changed to reflect the name of the first killed during World War II from Picayune. On that date Post 73 became McSween-Johnston.

Reference used was: Department of Mississippi History 1919-1943, Picayune Item and the Post 73 Charter.

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