Friday, January 26, 2018

Poetic Tribute to a Local Hero

Gossips has been fascinated by Malcolm Gifford, Jr., ever since stumbling upon his story in July 2011. Accused, while still in prep school, of robbing and murdering a chauffeur and tried twice for the crime, both trials ending with a hung jury, Gifford went on to Williams College. Early in 1917, he and some fellow students at Williams enlisted in the Canadian Field Artillery. He was killed in action on November 8, 1917--the first Hudsonian, the first soldier from Columbia County to die in World War I. Today, I discovered that Gifford was also the first Williams student to be killed in the war.

The Columbia Republican on January 22, 1918, published two sonnets which had been written in tribute to Malcolm Gifford, Jr., by the dean of Williams College. The sonnets and text that introduced them are reproduced below.


The photograph below, showing Malcolm Gifford, Jr., in the uniform of the Canadian Field Artillery, appeared in a commemorative book from the Welcome Home Celebration that took place in Hudson on September 8 and 9, 1919, almost a year after the war ended. Gifford's picture is among the pictures of the twenty-four men from Hudson who died in World War I.

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