Welcome to the History Corner!
Celebrating the rich history of Port Byron, New York, an old Erie Canal village in the Town of Mentz. This site is dedicated to the legacy and heritage of our community as well as a variety of regional historical tidbits. I hope you enjoy your visit and will stop by again.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Home Defense Reserve Unit 176

Today I discovered that Port Byron has an entire new group of service men who deserve recognition.  Shortly after the outbreak of World War I, Port Byron formed their own company of the Home Defense Reserve and was designated Company No. 176 when it mustered in on July 18, 1917.

According to the 1919 annual report of the Adjutant General, the Home Defense Reserve is described as follows:

HOME DEFENSE RESERVE

"On April 25, 1917, the Governor authorized the organization of the Home Defense Corps under section 5-a of the Military Law.  Later the designation was changed to the Home Defense Reserve of New York State. This organization was a local auxiliary police reserve under the control of the Governor as commander-in-chief and was intended solely as a local police guard. The units were not to be used outside of the county in which organized. Arms, uniforms and equipment were not issued to it by the State other than a few Ross rifles in 1918.  The units were equipped and maintained either by voluntary contributions or under chapter 235 of the Laws of 1917, which authorized a county, city, town or village to provide arms, uniforms and equipment for military organizations raised within the municipality.  Its members were enrolled for the period of the emergency and the Governor had authority to terminate the liability under the enrollment oath at any time. Soon after the armistice was signed these organizations began to be musteredout and at present very few of them are in existence.  Chapter 212 of the Laws of 1919 prescribes that all property in the possession of such organizations provided by or purchased from funds appropriated by a county, city, town or village shall be disposed of upon disbandment in a manner to be prescribed by the governing board of the municipality which provided the property or appropriated the funds from which it was purchased and further prescribes that all other property and funds in the possession of said organizations shall be disposed of upon disbandment in such manner as may be prescribed by a two-thirds vote of all of the members of the organization concerned in good standing at the time of disbandment."

In the roster, there are only two companies from Cayuga County being unit 175 of Auburn and unit 176 of Port Byron, with 40 members serving from Port Byron.  The names of those that served are not known at this time except for L. H. King who served on the county committee.  Dr. George B. Stewart of Auburn was Chairman and secured the Ross rifles for Auburn and Port Byron.

There was also a Woman's Division under the direction of Mrs. Anna M Kent of Union Springs.

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