The White Plains Historical Society

Headstone Dedication of Hercules Wessels

Corporal, 2nd (Lamb’s) NY Artillery
Sunday, November 7, 2010, 1:00 PM - Jonathan Purdy Family Cemetery - White Plains, NY.

Hercules Wessels, born January 17, 1757, was the son of John Wessels and Elizabeth Wool; New Yorkers of Dutch and Swedish descent. His uncle, Jeremiah Wool, was a leader of the Sons of Liberty in New York, and a Captain in Col. Lamb’s NY Artillery. Wessels enlisted in the army at West Point in 1776, and soon served in the Battles of Flatbush and White Plains. Wessels re-enlisted in 1777 and served in Samuel Lockwood’s and William Steven’s Artillery companies in Lamb’s Artillery Regiment. He was present at the Battle of Compo Beach (Westport, CT) on April 25, 1777, and at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in October, 1781. Wessels was honorably discharged by General Washington on June 9, 1783 at West Point, and was later granted a land bounty upstate. He was married to Elizabeth Addington (1774-1838), with whom he had several children, and made his living as a chair maker. He was granted a veteran’s pension in 1818, and died in New York City on November 10, 1833. He and Elizabeth are buried together in the Jonathan Purdy Family Cemetery in White Plains, NY. Their headstones were damaged many years ago, but their burial locations were identified in 2008 by the White Plains Historical Society through the initials on their footstones. A new headstone was installed on November 6th by the Boy Scouts of Troop 73 under the direction of Scoutmaster Michael Bennett. The dedication was held the following day (pictures below).

Peter Losee, descendant of Hercules Wessels, made the acquisition of the new headstone possible.

The White Plains Historical Society would like to recognize and thank Troop 73- Boy Scouts of America for installing the headstone; American Legion Post 135 and the re-enactors of Pawling’s Independent Levies and Lamb’s Artillery for the memorial ceremony; the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for fabricating the headstone, the continued support of the City of White Plains, particularly the Office of the Mayor, the Common Council, Office of the Corporation Counsel, Department of Public Safety, Department of Public Works, and Department of Planning; Amodio’s Garden Center; Mary Raymond for her historical research on the Harriot and Wessels families, and Donald A. “Andy” Purdy, Jr. and the descendants of Jonathan Purdy for their permission to enter and restore their family cemetery.

New granite headstone for Hercules Wessels provided by the VA and installed by boy scouts from Troop 73

Lamb’s Artillery Company- Inspecting the troops

Peter Losee (center), descendant of Hercules Wessels, addresses the attendees. Also pictured (L-R) Mason Amadio (Troop 73 BSA), Joanne Losee, Councilwoman Beth Smayda and former Councilwoman Rita Malmud

Attendees assembled around the grave of Hercules Wessels

Lamb’s Artillery and Pawling’s Levies fire a salute

Honor guard and bugler from American Legion Post 135 salute Hercules Wessels with a rendition of Taps

Members of Lamb's Artillery came out to honor one of their own

Photographs by Rob Hoch