Four Generals from the Mendon Region
It is a rare distinction for a town or region to be the home of a soldier who is so dedicated that he has
achieved the highest military rank of general. Mendon's earliest militia men, Sergeant Joseph White
and Sergeant Abraham Staples from the King Philip War, likely would have felt honored that over a
period of time, four generals would live within, or close to, the town's original boundaries. They
represented four different wars, but had they been contemporaries, they would have lived just a few
miles from each other. As the towns have grown, boundary lines have changed. Mendon has a shared
history with several towns, including Milford, Hopedale, and Upton, and these towns now share the
honor of the distinctive military presence of these esteemed soldiers.
Alexander Scammell was a hero of the Revolutionary War. He fought in several battles from Bunker
Hill to Yorktown. His friend, George Washington, appointed him Adjutant General of the Continental
Army at Valley Forge in January 1778. He was captured at Yorktown and shot in the back during
captivity. He died on October 6, 1781. He was born in Mendon, MA in 1744 (1747?) near what is now
Crossroads (formerly knowns as The Larches) on Williams Street near the Milford/ Hopedale town
line. General Alexander Scammell was Mendon's highest ranking officer to give his life for his country.
William Draper served as an outstanding Civil War soldier, a businessman, and a public official. He
enlisted in the Union Army out of Hopedale (Milford) in 1861 in the 25th Regiment, Company B. He
became a second lieutenant at age 19. He was assigned to the 36th Regiment and became a
lieutenant colonel. He was part of combat action in several battles including Antietam, Fredericksburg,
and Vicksburg. He was wounded at the Wilderness, and he was wounded again a short time later. For
his diligence and bravery, he was brevetted with the title of brigadier general. After the war, he worked
in the family textile business, Draper Company. He became the company's president in 1896. He
served in the U.S. Congress from 1893 through 1897, and as an ambassador to Italy. General Draper
was a man of many talents, but from 1861 through 1865, he devoted his talents to preserving the
Union of United States. He died on January 28, 1910. He is buried in Hopedale Village Cemetery.
Wayne Wagner was an engineering Army officer in Vietnam, whose special skills involved preparing
the Vietnamese terrain for transporting troops and equipment for military operations. He was a
commander of projects involving the construction of roads, bridges, airports, and buildings. His work
facilitated the movement of military personnel, trucks, tanks, and supply vehicles that were necessary
to fulfill the goals and objectives for combat operations. The country has a complex topography, being
made up of forested mountains, hills, coastal lowlands, and deltas. Wayne successfully met the
difficult challenges of creating appropriate transportation networks that were assigned to him. After
completing his tours of duty in the Army, he transferred to the Massachusetts Army National Guard.
His high level of abilities in engineering, management, and administration were acknowledged
in1996 with his appointment as Adjutant General. General Wagner also has an exemplary record of
public service in his community of Mendon, where he was raised and has lived since the 1980's. He
currently presides as chairman of the Mendon Historical Commission.
Steven Wickstrom has been highly decorated for his military excellence in preparing troops for combat
operations overseas and for domestic emergencies. At Camp Victory in Iraq in 2006, he was a team
leader of the Center of Operational Analysis for the United States Joint Forces Command. He has
been decorated with many medals, commendations and awards to acknowledge his many
achievements. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, the Army War
College, and Texas A and M University. He was promoted to the rank of Major General in February 13,
2011 and is in command of the 42nd Infantry Rainbow Division of New York. General Wickstrom and
his family reside in Upton.
Sergeants Staples and White of the 1670's Mendon Militia were the town's highest ranking military
men of their time. To be appointed to their position, they must have demonstrated qualities of
leadership and courage. Surely, it was evident in their personalities that they inspired confidence in
the soldiers who served under them, and that they were respected by them. They felt a strong feeling
of patriotism, and they were willing to sacrifice for the sake of their homeland. Obviously, these same
qualities have been evident in our four generals. Soldiers from Mendon and their offspring towns have
a long history during times of war of rising above. The four generals have risen to the top.
March 1, 2013
Gen William F. Draper Gen. Wayne Wagner Mendon Menu
Gen. Alexander Scammell