American Legion, Lynch/Burgett Post #397, Andover, NY
The Andover American Legion post was was organized in 1921 and was named in honor of Sgt. Thomas M. Lynch, the first Andover man to be killed in action in World War I. On October 1946, the name was changed to the Lynch-Burgett Post, thus honoring also the first Andover man killed in World War II.
Thomas M. Lynch:
Who was Thomas M. Lynch? I had been told at one time when asking about him, that he was an illegitimate child that grew up with one of the Lynch families here in Andover and they gave him their name.
While doing some research for a Lynch family member, I came across a completely different story than I was told. So here is the story of Thomas M. Lynch.
Thomas’s Grandfather and Grandmother Anthony Lynch and Bridget Mulloy were born in Ireland and were married around 1853. Shortly after their marriage they sailed to the United States to make their new home. They first settled in Portage, N.Y. and stayed there a short while and then moved to Tip Top. They lived there for about 15 years and then moved to Andover and lived here for the rest of their lives.
They had five children, the oldest being Austin L. Lynch. When Austin was about 15 years old, he left home to find bigger and better things. He ended up in Chicago, Ill. and became a teamster. He married a lady by the name of Catherine (unknown last name) and they had five children.
At the age of 45 Austin became very sick with chronic bronchitis and must have known that the end of his life was near and yearned to see his family and his old home town. So he packed up his son Thomas, who was about 10 years old at the time and came back to Andover to see his family. Austin died three weeks after arriving here.
At the request of his father and mother, on the account of Thomas’s delicate health, he was left in Andover with his aunts, Misses Julia and Delia Lynch. They raised him and sent him to school and he graduated with the class of 1916. He was a very gifted piano player and played at the graduation ceremony.
After graduation he went to work at the Andover Silk Mills on Rochambeau Ave. He worked there until the outbreak of World War I. He enlisted on June 10th, 1917 and was sent immediately to Syracuse for training and was assigned to Company C of the 47th Infantry Regiment, with the regular Army. In October his company was sent to Camp Green, N.C. and they sailed for France on May 1st,1918. There they became a part of the Fourth Division. After only a few week’s training Thomas was given the position of Company Clerk and promoted to corporal, then sergeant and the 1st acting sergeant.
On August 10th, 1918 Sergeant Thomas M. Lynch was killed in action at the Chateau Thiery sector of France. He was Andover’s first soldier to be killed in that war.
He was buried in France until after the war. After the war had ended, his body was returned to Andover. On June 4th, 1921 his body arrived on train No. 7 and his body was placed in a hearse and was taken to his aunt’s house on Water St. 21 ex-service men in full uniform accompanied the body from the train to the house and to the church and to his grave. All of the stores were closed and the streets were lined with people. The Blessed Sacrament Church was completely full. They had come out to honor Andover’s hero.
Thomas M. Lynch was laid to rest in St. John’s Cemetery on Lever Hill with full military honors. When Andover started their American Legion Post, it was named after Thomas M. Lynch. He will never be forgotten.
Thomas M. Lynch was somebody and not just an illegitimate kid that the Lynch’s took care of and gave him their name. The Lynch family was and still is very proud to have had Thomas M. Lynch as part of their family.
Charles R. Burgett:
Charles R. Burgett was born in Andover on September 20th, 1920, the first son of Ralph and Hazel Baker Burgett. He grew up in Andover and graduated from Andover High School in the class of 1938. On August 15th, 1942 he joined the United States Army Air Corps.
After completing his basic and advanced training in this country he was transferred to the North African front. In May of 1942 he was serving as a gunner on a Flying Fortress and was transferred to the European Theatre of Operations.
On October 1st, 1943 Staff Sergeant Charles R. Burgett was reported killed in action when the plane on which he was a crew member was forced down in Switzerland as a result of enemy action while on a volunteer mission. His body was recovered and was buried in Switzerland with full military honors with interned American soldiers as pallbearers and guard of honor. Also present at the services in Switzerland were high consulate and state department officials. In November of 1943 his family received the Purple Heart Award and Air Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters.
On January 18th, 1949 at 10:30 AM the body of Staff Sergeant Charles R. Burgett arrived in Andover from the European Theater. I was taken to the Methodist Church under the escort of members of the Lynch-Burgett Post No. 397, American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary. The body laid in state at the church until 2:30 PM at which time appropriate services were held.
Interment was made in the Hillside Cemetery, with full military rites conducted by the Lynch-Burgett Post, American Legion, with Eight District Commander George Enos of Cuba in charge.
Info taken from the Andover Newspapers; Compiled by William A. Greene 2009