What do Sleepy Hollow and Tupper Hill have in common?
Washington Irving wrote about an unfortunate Hessian soldier who was decapitated by an American cannonball at the end of October, 1776, during the Revolutionary War. In The Legend of Sleepy Hollow this headless Hessian horseman “rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head” and he’s not very happy about having had his skull shattered. Here at Tupper Hill, we have our own legendary Hessian horseman.
The Hessians (from Hesse, Germany) were mercenary soldiers. Entire units were rented out by their German Prince and hired by Britain to fight against the American Rebels during the Revolutionary War. General John Burgoyne was in command of a regiment that, after much victory, was besieged by lack of supplies and heavy casualties. On October 17, 1777 Burgoyone surrendered almost 6,000 British and Hessian soldiers to the Americans at Saratoga, New York.
The surrendered army was then marched to Boston. Legend has it that en route, while camped near Power’s Corner in Brimfield, Andrew Wineke slipped away, straggling behind and dropping out of line during the march. He headed south, into the woodlands of Wales in what is now Tupper Hill and settled there until his death circa 1816. We believe, though, that Wineke kept his head, however, if you do hear the sounds of hoofbeats… beware.
Truth be told, we know that Andrew actually ended up in Bridgewater, marrying Elizabeth Pratt and coming to Wales in 1784. Elizabeth’s brother, Ebenezer, also came to Wales with his wife, Charity.
Ebenezer’s Obituary from Gardner’s History of Wales:
Unhappily becoming bewildered and distracted in his mind and imagination, he was led to perpetrate a deed so repugnant to the first law of his nature, so abhorrent to all God-like ennobling sentiments and aspirations, so violative of all philosophical, moral and religious obligations, that, seemingly, it could be done by only the absolutely insane- his uplifted hand severed the tender thread of his own earthly life, and ushered himself into the untried realities of the spirit world! An Act always pregnant with Awfulness that chills the blood and causes to shudder the frame, of every rational person.
Again, if you hear the sound of hoofbeats…beware. Ebenezer may have some regrets.