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From the Jan. 25, 1940, Eagle

Eagle Archives, Jan. 25, 1940: Dog carries flashlight as he grabs newspaper nightly from fast train

Many conveyances are used these days to deliver newspapers to the homes of their readers. But the family of U.S. Boyer of Chester probably has the most unusual means of receiving its daily digest of what is transpiring in the outside world.

Edward N. Huntress, president and treasurer of the Union Cooperative Federal Savings & Loan Association, and several fellow passengers on the New England States Limited, last night saw this unique news carrier in action as the train raced westward over the hills on the outskirts of Chester.

F.G. Simonds, veteran trainman, prepared to toss a folded Boston newspaper from the speeding train. It was pitch dark. Suddenly a light appeared from a distant farmhouse. It came closer and closer to the railroad tracks.

The light, it developed, was a flashlight attached to the neck of "Kota Chief," a two-year-old springer spaniel who twice daily picks up papers, and delivers them to the home of his owner, Mr. Boyer, who is a flagman on a Boston and Albany Railroad switcher train.

The dog was purchased in Wentworth Lake County, S.D., a year ago, and his course of instruction started last summer. After the meal each night, the entire Boyer family went down to the track with "Kota Chief." The paper was thrown off the train, and the dog picked it up.

After daylight saving time passed, the dog continued to perform the delivery service without the presence of the family and in spite of the fact it was dark.

Trainman Simonds, a resident of Newton, a 47-year railroad man, told the passengers that he has seven daily "throws" to isolated farmhouses between Chester and Albany, but "Kota Chief" is the only canine carrier.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.

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