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Muckleston Family History Group

researching all references to the surnames Muckleston, Mucklestone, Muckelston and Mackleston please get in touch via the contact us page with any additional information or to correct any errors.

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National President of the American Auxiliary.
Mrs. Melville Mucklestone
Mrs Melville Mucklestone

We have a number of prominent family members including some who married into the family. Mrs. Melville Mucklestone as she was commonly known was one of these. Born on 30th August 1885 in Indiana, USA, her first name was Ada with a middle initial of S and her birth surname is currently unknown but could possibly have been Sloan. Her first marriage was to a Mr White by whom she had a son, Thomas. At some point in 1922/23 she married Melville Mucklestone who had been a successful sportsman, flown during the war and was now a prominent lawyer. He had also added an ‘e’ to the end of his surname.


It was through newspaper articles that we heard more about Ada and in particular her role as National President of the American Legion Auxiliary. This organisation was founded in 1919 with a mission to serve veterans, the military and its families. It is currently the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organisation. The Legion has a number of units across the United States and Mrs Melville Mucklestone as she was generally known became National President of the Legion. The headquarters are based in Indiana where Ada was born and raised.


According to the 1930 census Ada’s occupation was as a writer and in 1940 she was described as a magazine writer (educational). We know from newspaper articles that in 1939 she was President of the National Consumer’s Tax Association and we assume her writing was in relation to an associated publication. Melville and Ada settled in Chicago, she was 38 when she married Melville and there were no children of the marriage.


A group of 20 officers who served in the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I were asked to suggest ideas on how to improve troop morale. One officer, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., proposed an organisation of veterans, which we know today as The American Legion.


The original purpose of the Legion was to "preserve the memories and incidence of our association in the great war" helping those who had served in foreign wars to reintegrate into their hometowns while still remaining connected to those with whom they had served abroad.


The Legion served as a support group, a social club and an extended family for former servicemen. After two planning caucuses held by a committee of officers who had the confidence and respect of their military comrades, they designed a constitution to govern the group and set up headquarters in New York City to begin work on its programs of relief, employment and Americanism.


After the formation of The American Legion, a number of women's organisations wanted to become the official affiliation of The Legion. The women who had served so faithfully during the trying days of the war wanted to continue to serve. After careful consideration, the committee decided that a new organisation should be made up of the women most closely associated with the men of The Legion, and these women would serve with The Legion, in peace as they had in war. The committee decided to build a new organisation from the ground up, so the Auxiliary could then carry forward the phases of Legion activities more suitably performed by women.


In less than one year, 1342 local units of the Women's Auxiliary to The American Legion had been organised in more than 45 states.


To become National President of such an organisation was therefore a major honour, a position which Ada held for a year from September 1935. She was eligible to be part of the Legion as her husband was a World War One Veteran. He had tried to become exempt from the draft but when this was unsuccessful he played his part as a flier in the Air Force.






National Veteran's Employment Committee of the American Legion.

Seated, L-R: Jack Crowley of Vermont, Nat'l Chairman of Vet. Emp. Comm.; Mrs. Ada Mucklestone of Ill., National Chairman of the American Legion Auxiliary; Paul H. Griffith, (D.C.), National Director of Re-Employment. Standing, L-R: [...], F. Regan of N.J.; Wm. D. Reilly of Kansas; Roy S. Stockton of California; Spencer Boise of North Dakota; James W. Hammond of Kentucky; Harold P. Redden of Massachusetts. Attending conferences at the Hamilton Hotel about securing employment for World War Veterans.


During her year as National President Ada Mucklestone can be found frequently in newspaper reports. It appears that she travelled the country attending events, dinners and giving speeches. The following newspaper reports are just a small sample.


Ida County Pioneer Record (Ida Grove Iowa) – 27 Oct 1955.

Referring to events that took place

20 years ago

Issue of October 31 1935.

President Roosevelt will lay a wreath on the grave of the Unknown Soldier and will make a special Armistice Day address, to be followed by National Commander Murphy of the Legion and National President, Mrs Mucklestone of the Auxiliary.


New York Tomes - Thursday 2nd April 1936

Mrs Muckleston is Honored

Mrs. Melville Muckleston of Chicago, National President of the American Legion Auxiliary, was the guest of honor last night at a dinner at the Hotel Pennsylvania tendered her by women members of the organization in this area.


The Pittsburgh Press – April 5th 1936.

Mrs Ada Mucklestone of Chicago, national president of the American Legion Auxilliary, will be guest of honor at a luncheon here April 20 in the Hotel Roosevelt. And paying her homage will be a hostess group representing 264 auxilliary units and 12 Legion Councils of Western Pennsylvania.


Miss Edna Musser of Lancaster, state president, will share honors with the national leader. Mrs William M Stieren jnr., Western vice president, will serve as general chairman of the luncheon as an annual event.


During her visit in Pennsylvania Mrs Mucklestone will be the guest of the Central American Legion Auxilliary Section of Harrisburgh, on April 22 and of the Eastern section in Philadelphia on the following day. Mrs Mucklestone was elected National President at the convention in St Louis last September. After beginning her work in the ranks of her local auxilliary unit more than 10 years ago, she served as chairman of a number of unit committees, advancing through the office of second and first vice presidents. Later she became president of the Cook County Council Auxilliary, composed of 110 units and larger in size of membership of many state organisations.


For two years, in 1931 and 1932, Mrs Mucklestone headed the Illinois State Department’s national defence committee. During the first year of her chairmanship, the department built an athletic field at Fort Sheridan for the Citizens Military Training Camp, and through her efforts a number of boys were sent to Camp Roosevelt for summer officers’ training. She became Illinois Department President in 1933.


During the World War Mrs Mucklestone served in the Red Cross and helped in the sale of Liberty Bonds, her husband, a Chicago attorney, was a flier during the war.


More than 400 Auxilliary representatives will attend the luncheon April 20. State department officers of both the Legion and the Auxilliary will be present. Mrs Mucklestone’s talk will be broadcast over radio station KDKA.   


She also appeared in the newspapers in relation to her role as President of the National Consumers Tax Commission.


25 Dec 1940

Study Indicates 1,800 Tax Bills in Legislatures

Chicago – the 43 state legislatures convening in 1941 will enact more than 1,800 tax bills during their coming sessions according to a recent prediction of Mrs Melville Mucklestone, President of the National Consumers Tax Commission.


Her forecast was based upon a survey of bills presented in 18 legislative bodies in 1939.

Some 60,000 bills of all kinds will be introduced this year Mrs Mucklestone estimated and 11,000 will be tax measures. Prophesying the enactment of 43 tax laws per legislature she added:


“While many of these will be amendments to existing laws, and others will be new and necessary financial measures, a few will be deliberate and wholly unwarranted flank attacks on the taxpayers pocketbook.”

She warned that patriotic tax payers would have slight patience with such attacks, and urged members of her organization to scrutinize tax measures carefully to aid in avoiding “even the smallest unnecessary or wasteful expense.” 


A tree in her honour......


In Hawaii in a place called Hilo, Banyan Drive is a tree lined streetat the shoreline which is known as the “Hilo Walk of Fame”. The banyan trees have been planted by celebrities since 1933 and have withstood several tsunamis


The drive circles the Waiakea Peninsula, near the Hilo International Airport, and boasts the largest hotels on the Eastern side of the Big Island. In 1933, several park commissioners decided that it would be a good idea to have celebrities plant banyan tree saplings along the Peninsula. In 1934, with the arrival of President Franklin Roosevelt in Hilo, it was decided to build a drive through the trees, then only of crushed coral. At the time, the Peninsula hosted the Hilo Yacht club and several homes. In late 1933, Cecil B. DeMille was on the island filming "Four Frightened People". Several of the actors along with Mr. and Mrs. DeMille, all planted trees in their own honor. According to records, 8 trees were planted in October 1933. In addition to the movie stars, one tree was also planted by the famous baseballer, George Herman "Babe" Ruth.


Planting of trees by celebrities continued with an additional 10 trees planed in 1934, 15 in 1935, 6 in 1936, 5 in 1937, 4 in 1938. Two trees were planted in 1941, one in 1952 by Senator Richard Nixon, and two in 1972 by Pat Nixon, one to replace the tree planted by her husband which was lost in a storm and the other to honor her as first lady. In 1991 Polly Mooney replanted a tree lost to a tsunami honouring Civitan International leader Courtney Shropshire. Mrs. Mooney was also honoured by being the first woman president of the previously male-dominated Civitan. The tree bears both their names.



Other people honored by banyan tree planting include musician Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, radio celebrity Arthur Godfrey, First Lady Pat Nixon, Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, Eastern Star's William A. Duvall, Sr., American Legion's Ada Mucklestoneand Ray Murphy, author Lewis Browne, Civitan'sCourtney Shropshire and Polly Mooney Forestier, Philippine labor and cult leader Hilario Moncado, Boy Scout Executive James West, Cleveland College Sociologist Henry Busch, authors Vicki Baum and Fannie Hurst, China's Premier Sun Fo, author and illustrator Hendrik Willem van Loon, Professor of Chinese culture P. C. Chang and cruise director of the RMS Franconia, Ross Hunt Skinner.


A scholarship.......


There is also and “Ada Mucklestone Memorial Scholarship” for graduating high school seniors which is still running today. In line with her work for the “Legion” applicants for this award shall be children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren of veterans who served in the Armed Forces during eligibility dates for membership in the American Legion.  (a) April 6, 1917 through November 11, 1918 (WWI); (b) December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946 (WWII); (c) June 25, 1950 through January 31, 1955 (Korea); (d) February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975 (Vietnam); (e) August 24, 1982 through July 31, 1984 (Grenada & Lebanon); (f) December 20, 1989 through January 31, 1990 (Panama Canal); (g) August 2, 1990 through cessation (Persian Gulf).  Applicant must be a resident of the State of Illinois or a member in good standing of the American Legion Family, Department of Illinois.



Ada died in 1968 less than six weeks after her husband aged 83. They had both moved to Santa Cruz, California, possibly for the better weather.