General William Shepard Memorial

General William Shepard Memorial: One of the highlights of our 250th Anniversary Celebration was the dedication of the General William Shepard Monument on September 3, 1919. This imposing statue stands in a small triangular park, just south of the Green, and looks down Broad Street. Henry Fuller, one of Westfield’s leading attorneys, died in 1913 and left a bequest of $1,000 in his will for the purpose of erecting a memorial to Westfield’s Revolutionary hero, General William Shepard.

Many Westfield citizens had long felt that a suitable memorial should be erected and this bequest of Mr. Fuller’s gave the necessary impetus to start the movement. A committee of J. C. Greenough, Henry W.Ely, and A.D. Robinson was appointed to investigate and report on the matter. Some of the town citizens felt there were other pressing needs for the town funds so action was deferred on several occasions. However, the committee by its own initiative secured pledges to the amount of $4000 from descendants of General Shepard, both here and elsewhere, and from other interested citizens. When the town voted an appropriation of $3,500 in 1917, the original committee, together with Arthur S. Kneil and William T. Smith, was empowered to erect and dedicate the monument. Mr. Augustus Lukeman, a student under Daniel French, and one of America’s most distinguished sculptors, was selected to design the statue.

“In the statue of General Shepard, Westfield possesses not only a dignified and worthy memorial to her distinguished son, but a valuable and enduring work of art which she may always regard with pride and satisfaction. It is placed on our beautiful town green; co-eval with our earliest life, where he gathered and drilled his minutemen and whence he led them out to Dorchester Heights and the great Revolution. It stands upon a spot interwoven with all our history and tradition.” Thus spoke Arthur S. Kneil at the dedication.

Over the years, the question has been asked a thousand times: Why does General Shepard stand with his back to the Green…looking up Broad Street? He was so placed because the town fathers anticipated that Westfield would expand along the Broad Street area. At various times, there has been agitation to have the General turned around but at this writing he stands with his back to the Green.

In the late Forties, much concern was expressed because of the condition of the monument—it had oxidized. After extensive investigation by the Park Commission, it was found that the copper content in the statue was very low. It had been made during World War I, when copper was extremely short. In 1951, a special acid was applied to the bronze and gradually; General Shepard was wearing his proper shade of green.

Assembled by the Tri-Centennial Association. Edited by Roscoe Scott and Edward James.