John Callan (r) with Francis “Doc” Wildman in front of a Curtiss “F” Boat at Hammondsport, NY, 1914.
ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO, on a Tuesday, November 11, 1918, what President Woodrow Wilson called the war to end all wars came to an end. The U.S. entered that conflict in 1917, when, as it turned out, it was almost two-thirds over. Nevertheless the war had a big impact on this country and on Columbia County. Approximately 1,700 Columbia County men, and a few women, served in the Army, the Navy or ancillary organizations during the war. For that reason, among others, the cessation of hostilities was highly welcomed in the county as it was throughout the US.
Four days previously, Navy Ensign Albert Bristol of Copake married his bride, Gladys. Immediately after the ceremony, bells began to ring all over the town. Some thought that because Gladys’ father was Hudson’s mayor, the couple was being given special treatment. The couple had an unusually long wait at the Copake train station on their way to their honeymoon in New York City. Once there, they found that no public transportation was operating, and they had to walk many blocks to the hotel. On arrival, they found that the reservation had not been kept and they had to look elsewhere; it turned out that everybody was celebrating the war’s end. But they soon found out it was a false alarm. November 7 was a false Armistice born of a misreading of a German wireless message.
Columbia County men from virtually every town served in the war, some as volunteers, others as inductees. In 1924, a home defense Committee of Columbia County published a book entitled “Columbia County in the World War,” containing 1,400 biographies and 1,000 portraits of soldiers, sailors, marines and nurses of the county who served in the war. Read more…