By AJ McDonald
Museum Volunteer

The Forty & Eight Society was charitable and patriotic organization composed of male and female U S veterans of World War I. It was founded in 1920 as our doughboys returned from France at the end of the war. It originally was an arm of the American Legion and in 1960 became a separate independent organization.

The name Forty & Eight comes from a stencil that appeared on the side of boxcars that were used to transport troops. It meant that the car could hold either forty men or eight horses. Not a fun or comfortable way to travel.

Franklin County had a branch of the organization, and the Museum has on display a smock like the ones you see in the image. Unfortunately we do not know the names of any of the men in the image. Most appear to be from either the towns of Orleans or St. Johnsbury, but in the back row two of the names can not be read.

Do you recognize any of these men? The photo was taken Karl Page of Newport, Vermont and it looks like they are standing on the front steps of the Federal Building in Newport.

If you can helps us with any additional information about the 40 & 8 organization, or the names of any of the men in the image we would very much like to hear from you. You can call the Museum at 527-7933 or contact us at our website at