Where’s Wooster ?


     I’m not talking about the street;  everybody knows where that is. Pepe’s,  Sally’s, The Spot – and after pizza, over to Libby’s for Italian ice. In summer, there are Italian street festivals, fixed in my childhood memories. No, everybody in New Haven knows where Wooster Street is, and even Wooster Square.

    I’m talking about Wooster the man: General David Wooster. Born in 1710, Wooster graduated from Yale in 1738. He married the college president’s daughter, Marie Clapp; they settled in New Haven and had four children. Wooster served in the Spanish-American War and in the French and Indian War (called Seven Years War in the book), and then – well into his 60s – he fought the American Revolution.


     At the Battle of Ridgefield in April, 1777, Generals Wooster and Benedict Arnold were leading their troops against the British when Wooster took a musket ball in the back. He was conveyed off the battlefield, and died a few days later at the age of 67.

     It’s said Wooster’s last words were: “I am dying, but with a strong hope and persuasion that my country will gain her independence.”

     When I learned about David Wooster while researching Five 4ths of July, I realized that the street and the square were named after him. So next time I went to Pepe’s, I walked the street, looking for a statue of David Wooster. Not there. Then I walked over to Wooster Square, and from afar I saw a statue of a man.  “Oh, there he is!” I thought. But when I got close, I saw that the statue was of ... Christopher Columbus?  

    OK. I know how important the Wooster Square area and Columbus are to my fellow Italian Americans, and I have nothing against Cristoforo in Wooster Square. But why no commemorations of General David Wooster in the neighborhood named for him? Doesn’t a Patriot killed in action deserve to be memorialized, too?

    City of New Haven? New Haven Colony Historical Society? ... Anybody?