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Sunday’s Obituary: Frederick Asbury McMurray

Frederick Asbury McMurray, circa 1890?
Frederick Asbury McMurray, circa 1890?

McMurray Family (Click for Family Tree)

This obituary was posted on Iowa GenWeb by the late Donna Sloan Rempp. Her family was kind enough to give us permission to post it on the blog.

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Well known Auctioneer Dies From Stroke Thursday

Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon for Frederick A. McMurray, well known Jasper county auctioneer and one of the leading Democrats of the county, who died last Thursday evening at his home in Newton at 7:15, following a stroke of paralysis, which he received the previous Sunday afternoon as he was returning from the funeral of a friend, Mrs. C. L. Good.

Frederick A. McMurray was born Aug. 28, 1859 in Bedford county, Penn., son of Henderson and Mary Ann (Horn) McMurray, the third child in a family of 12 children. At the age of two years he came west with his parents and three children crossing the Mississippi river at Muscatine. The family settled on a farm south of Tipton in Cedar county, where they remained until 1869.

The McMurray family then moved on west again, this time settling in Jasper county on a farm about two and one half miles north west of Newton. Fred McMurray here continued his education, which was started while he was living in Cedar county, finishing at the age of 18 years and starting out for himself.

At first he spent his time breaking the raw prairies of the rich corn belt through Jasper county, later in 1872 taking up grading work in the Rock Island right of way between Newton and Reasnor.

He purchased his first piece of real estate in 1874, when he negotiated for an 80 acre tract of land about three miles northeast of Newton on old No. 14, which he owned at the time of his death. He lived on this farm until 1922, farming for himself, putting on many improvements.

In addition to being one of the leading auctioneers of his time, Mr. McMurray was connected with the Jasper County Agricultural Society for many years as marshal, and even in the last years he was considered as an advisory part of the governing organization.

Mr. McMurray is survived by his wife, and eight brothers and sisters: Joseph of Fort Madison; Mary, Mrs. Ella Aillaud, and Henry of Newton; Mrs. Sam Raugh of Exeter, Calif.; James T. of Rodondo Beach, Calif.; David of Valley Junction; and Mrs. Margaret Maytag of Marshalltown. One brother John and two sisters Mrs. Newt Edge and Emma, preceded him in death.

He is also survived by one daughter, Mrs. Forrest Gillespie of Oak Park, Ill., and four sons, William, Harry J., Roy and Ray of Newton; three grandchildren, Dr. E. A., Mrs. Maude Cook, and Herbert of Newton; and two great grandchildren, Edward A. Jr., and Mona Lynette Cook of Newton.

Source: Newspaper Unknown; __ December 1929 (Newton Union records say he d. 12 December 1929)

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Fred’s wife was Hannah Melissa (Benjamin) McMurray, but she was not actually named in his obituary.

Family records do state his death was 12 December 1929; his headstone lists only his birth and death years.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. IA US GenWeb– http://iagenweb.org/jasper/

 

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Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
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Tombstone Tuesday: Frederick P. Horn and Hepzibah (Clarke) Horn

Tombstone of Frederick P. Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, after strong winds blew through the cemetery in March, 2016.
Tombstone of Frederick P. Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, after strong winds blew through the cemetery in March, 2016.

McMurray Family, Horn Family (Click for Family Tree, and see Notes below.)

Sandhill Cemetery is a “Pioneer Cemetery” in Cedar County, Iowa, a place to which our family migrated in the 1850s. Pioneer Cemeteries are often neglected as farm families moved, and they become overgrown and the stones deteriorate even faster than they would normally since they are not cleaned. There is no “perpetual care” in a pioneer cemetery as there is in urban cemeteries, and they are often a place of vandalism, being away from scrutiny out in the country. So it is important that we help to maintain the final resting places of the ancestors who came before us- after all, we carry their genetic material that helps make us who we are!

So often today families live far from the gravesite of ancestors, and care of the cemetery falls to local historical or genealogical societies, or Scout troops who go in and clean up a cemetery for a service project or even an Eagle or Gold Project.

Tombstone of Hepzibah (Clark) Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, after strong winds blew through the cemetery in March, 2016.
Tombstone of Hepzibah (Clark) Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, after strong winds blew through the cemetery in March, 2016. Note the hole/chipped base of the third pedestal- it is surprising that this stone did not fall over.

Cedar County, Iowa, has a Pioneer Cemetery Committee that is working to restore Sandhill Cemetery and others to what they respectfully should be. Sandhill had three very large evergreens in the center of the cemetery that were getting too old and needed to be removed. These trees and others have been removed so they cannot fall on headstones (or living people in the cemetery!), and the grounds are being weeded and cleaned up. Also, there are many stones like those of Frederick, AKA “F.P.,” and Hepzibah, that need attention- in fact, there are 10 Horn family members buried in Sandhill, and some of their stones need repair as well.  Some funds are provided by the county, but most of what is done is volunteer and through donations.

Headstone of Frederick P. Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, near Tipton, Cedar Co., Iowa, prior to restoration.
Headstone of Frederick P. Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, near Tipton, Cedar Co., Iowa, prior to restoration about 2007.

The Pioneer Cemetery Committee is trying to prioritize their expenditures to the headstones that need the most help right now.

Tombstone of Frederick P. Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, in August of 2015. Note deterioration of stone.
Tombstone of Frederick P. Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, in August of 2015. Note deterioration of stone.

Currently, for 3 of our Horn family stones- Hepzibah’s, F. P.’s, and a stone for “Henry” which is next to Hepzibah’s (he may be their son)- the Committee has found a gentleman who will repair them all for $400-425 and will clean them. He will also put new 4′ foundations under them, to help preserve them (hopefully) for another 100+ years. (Hepzibah died in 1882, Henry in 1885, and F.P. in 1887.)

Headstone of Hepzibah (Clark) Horn in sandhill Cemetery, near Tipton, Cedar Co., Iowa, prior to restoration, about 2007.
Headstone of Hepzibah (Clark) Horn in sandhill Cemetery, near Tipton, Cedar Co., Iowa, prior to restoration, about 2007, with inscription chalked.

It would be very helpful for our family to donate to the group as they care for the memorials to our ancestors, since the county does not provide enough to totally restore this cemetery.

Tombstone of Hepzibah (Clark) Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, in September of 2015 after some restoration.
Tombstone of Hepzibah (Clark) Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, in September of 2015 after some restoration.

All donations are tax-deductible, and checks can be sent to:

Cedar County Pioneer Cemetery Commission

c/o Cedar County Historical Museum

Attention: Sandy Harmel

1094 Hwy 38

Tipton, IA 52772

Thank you for honoring the memory of our ancestors!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. How are the McMurrays related to the Horn family?  

    Edw. A., Maude Lynette “Midge”, and Herbert C. McMurray =>
    William Elmer McMurray =>Frederick Asbury McMurray =>
    Henderson McMURRAY + Mary Ann HORN (married 1845) [daughter of Frederick P. Horn and Hepzibah (Clark) Horn]

  2. See our previous post, “Headstones of Frederick P. Horn and Hepzibah (Clark) Horn- Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar Co., Iowa” at http://heritageramblings.net/2013/11/16/headstones-of-frederick-p-horn-and-hepzibah-clark-horn-sandhill-cemetery-cedar-co-iowa/
  3. Daisy Wingert has taken the wonderful pictures for Find A Grave for the Horn family, given us permission to use them, and has communicated with us about the need for headstone repair. Daisy has also done some searching in local records to help us learn more about F.P. and Hepzibah- more to come on them later. Thanks, Daisy, who isn’t even related to us!!
  4. The images from ~2007 were paid for by the author so many years ago, and permission given to use.
  5. Please contact us through the blog if you have questions about donating, and we will forward them on to Daisy or Sandy.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Travel Tuesday: Henrich Horn, Prisoner of War

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Henrich Horn: Military Career
A Map of Philadelphia and Parts Adjacent, With A Perspective View of the State House. Philadelphia: Lawrence Hebert, 1752 source: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3824p.ct000294 via Wikipedia. Public domain.
A Map of Philadelphia and Parts Adjacent, With A Perspective View of the State House. Philadelphia: Lawrence Hebert, 1752. Source: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3824p.ct000294 via Wikipedia. Public domain.

McMurray Family, Horn Family (Click for Family Tree)

We last left Henrich Horn, our Hessian ancestor, hanging- thankfully, not literally, but that could have been the case had George Washington’s troops not protected their POWs from an angry mob.

After being marched victoriously by American troops through some of the streets of Philadelphia, the march had been cut short by an inflamed mob that the American escorts felt they could not control. They locked the ~850 Hessian prisoners of war in the American barracks for safety. The POWs, including our Henrich, would have worriedly awaited the next move by their escorts from Washington’s troops.

The first Battle of Trenton, where Henrich and his comrades had been captured, had increased the morale of the patriots so much that it turned the tide of the American Revolution. Little did the POWs know that while insults, rotten vegetables, and rocks were being thrown at them as they marched through Philadelphia, Washington had marched back to Trenton with his troops for another engagement. The Continental Army won that battle, then moved on to Princeton, New Jersey, where Washington was also victorious.

The British traveller Nicholas Cresswell, definitely a Tory, commented,

“The minds of the people are much altered. A few days ago they had given up the cause for lost. Their late successes have turned the scale and now they are all liberty mad again.”

He later wrote, after another British loss,

“It is the Damd Hessians that has caused this, curse the scoundrel that first thought of sending them here.”

(That ‘scoundrel’ would be good King George. Those would be treasonous words, had not the British had bigger fights to manage on the North American continent.)

The British and Hessian soldiers were in such a panic at their unexpected losses to the ragtag Americans that they thought they saw Washington and his troops everywhere.  It was in this atmosphere of changing fortunes that the Trenton prisoners were marched from Philadelphia to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Washington wanted the POWs far away from the front, and Lancaster fit the bill.

Philadelphia is about 80 miles almost due west of Lancaster, and it would take over 20 hours to walk today. In January of 1777, however, it took four days, without snowplows and on roads that would have been icy and rough. The cold and tired prisoners arrived in Lancaster on 6 January 1777, probably around mid-day.

Lancaster was the largest interior American city, with 3,300 residents in 1775, and many German-Americans had lived in the area for some time. The Hessians were taken to a barracks “built of brick, with three wings, and surrounded by a stockade.” The stockade had log cabins on each corner, and walls twenty feet high. There were already some British POWs in the barracks, and the Hessians were given the center wing for themselves.

One Hessian recorded in his journal that everything was “peaceful and quiet.” Maybe now the captured Hessians would get a bit of recuperation after their travails of the last few months.

To be continued…

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Featured image: A Map of Philadelphia and Parts Adjacent, With A Perspective View of the State House. Philadelphia: Lawrence Hebert, 1752
    sourcehttp://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3824p.ct000294
  2. Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett, 2004. Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for History, this tells the story of the crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton, mostly from the American point of view. This is an excellent book, and very well-written.
  3. The Hessians and the other German Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War by Edward J. Lowell. Harper and Brothers Publishers, New York, 1884.
  4. AmericanRevolution.org: “The Hessians,” chapter VIII, an excellent read- http://www.americanrevolution.org/hessians/hess8.php
  5. Journal of the Fusilier Regiment v. Knyphausen From 1776 to 1783, possibly by Lt. Ritter? See http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~amrevhessians/journal1.htm#navbar
  6. Henrich Horn http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~amrevhessians/oh/hwardhorn.htm
  7. Hessians Remaining in America: http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~amrevhessians/a/amhessians10.htm#navbar
  8. Wikipedia articles:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President%27s_House_(Philadelphia)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Trenton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_battle_of_the_Battle_of_Trenton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_von_Knyphausen
  9. The Hessians. Mercenaries from Hessen-Kassel in the American Revolution, by Rodney Atwood, Cambridge University Press, 1980.
  10. The Hessians and Other German Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War, by Edward J. Lowell, Harper & Brother, New York, 1884 Republished by Forgotten Books, 2012.
  11. A Generous and Merciful Enemy. Life for German Prisoners of War during the American Revolution, by Daniel Krebs. University of Oklahoma Press, 2013.
  12. Four days between Philadelphia and Lancaster: “From Paths to Roads to Highways to Canals to Railways” at http://lancasterhistory.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=372&Itemid=740

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
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Military Monday: Henrich Horn on the March

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Henrich Horn: Military Career
1784 engraving showing the Hessians captured at Trenton being marched to Philadelphia, then the American capitol. via Wikipedia, public domain.
1784 engraving showing the Hessians captured at Trenton being marched to Philadelphia, then the American capital, via Wikipedia, public domain.

McMurray Family, Horn Family (Click for Family Tree)

When we last left our Hessian ancestor Henrich Horn and his fellow prisoners of war, they had been marched by General Washington’s troops about fifteen miles from Trenton, New Jersey to Newtown, Pennsylvania. It was the 26th of December, 1776, late in the by-then dark day after crossing the Delaware River, with the blustery, frigid weather of the northeast making their trek even more miserable. They were exhausted after many days of high alert, skirmishes, brutal weather, and their ill-fated Battle of Trenton that very morning. Once in Newtown, possibly their only meal of the day had been dropped from a hole in the ceiling of their hastily-thrown-togeher prison, and they felt they were being treated like animals. The Americans had left them to sleep, but it was likely not a very restful sleep with not knowing what was in store for them as POWs.

Our Henrich Horn was only about 16-18 years old at the time, and likely had been a soldier for less than a year. Thankfully he was in a large group of fellow soldiers, which would have been a bit less frightening than being by himself. Despite his shared woes, he must have been very frightened, angry at the mishandling of the battle by his Hessian superiors, and concerned for his life, so far from home.

The Americans after the Battle of Trenton, as well as the populace of Newtown, were eager to see what the hated Hessians looked like. They found they were just men, not the ruthless spawn of Satan, as some had feared. One American, a Sergeant Elisha Bostwick, had this to say about the Hessians:

“They are of Moderate Stature and rather broad Shoulders their limbs not of equal proportion light complexion with a blueish tinge hair cued as tight to the head as possible Sticking straight back like the handle of an iron skillet. Their [von Knyphausen’s Regiment’s] uniforms blue with black facings.”

[Could that blueish skin tinge possibly be due to the bitter cold and their clothes soaked from rain, snow, and the river?]

One researcher stated that their uniforms were purposefully made short and tight, to make it look like they were getting larger and more invincible. (True? Or just because the tailors wanted to save on cloth?)

George Washington decided that the hated Hessians would be paraded through Philadelphia, the capital of the colonies. He wanted to show off his triumph- he needed that to boost citizen morale as well as that of his soldiers and Congress, as the Americans had been losing battles and the enlistment of many of his soldiers was almost over; supplies and payroll funds were short, too. The American army had been teetering on the brink of destruction, and it was important to rally at that moment in time, or they would be defeated from within as well as without.

Washington wanted the people to realize that the Hessians were not invincible- they could actually be defeated, even captured, by his brave troops. So with hardly time to warm up and recuperate, the Hessian POWs were gathered into rows and columns on 30 December 1776 and marched to Philadelphia, about 30 miles southwest of Newtown. Google indicates that it would be an eight-hour walk today, but it would be interesting to know how long it took these sick, injured, and exhausted men in the snow and cold. The thought of another march must have been daunting to the captured as well as the capturers, after the exhausting few days they had just survived. But march they all did, as General Washington ordered.

Would the Hessians have been told of the plan, or their minds left to wander as to their next fate? Think about the language barrier, too, although there were German-American patriots who would have translated orders. The minds of Henrich and his comrades would have been teeming with fear of the possibilities: Would the Hessians be executed in another place? Would they be separated, as they had been from their officers right after the battle? Or would they be lucky enough to be a part of a prisoner exchange?

An angry mob had already gathered outside the city when the Hessians arrived at Philadelphia. By that time the Hessians had been told of what was to happen next. They were joined by their officers, who had been marched to different towns after the capture, and been wined and dined by American officers, as was often the custom. (Officers often treated each other very well and respectfully after capture or defeat, and some of the Hessian officers had actually dined with George Washington and discussed the tactics that had led to their defeat.)

The Hessian officers rode in covered wagons through the city which protected them, but the common soldier captives were hit, pushed, yelled at, etc. as they marched through the angry mob. The old women screamed at them that they had come as mercenaries to take away the freedom of the American people and they tried to strangle the men; dirt and rocks were thrown at them. The Americans hated the German auxiliaries, as for the past year, even before the Hessians had arrived on American shores, newspapers had whipped up terrible fears- one paper stated the Hessians were soldiers who:

“… will exhibit such a scene of cruelty, death, and devastation as will fill those of us who survive the carnage, with indignation and horror, attended with poverty and wretchedness.”

(Sadly, this had been often true earlier in 1776.)

It was recorded that some Americans brought brandy and bread for the captives, but the old women would not allow them to help the Hessians.

"Presidents House" at 524-30 Market St., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Hessians would have paraded before this home which was built in 1767. Later, Presidents Washington and John Adams lived in this home.
“Presidents House” at 524-30 Market St., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Hessians would have paraded before this home which was built in 1767. Nine months after the Hessian POW parade, the house would be lived in by General Howe during the British occupation of Philadelphia. Later, Presidents Washington and John Adams lived in this home. Wikipedia, public domain.

The Continentals paraded their prize of about 850 German POWs for all to see, down Market Street, Front Street, and then Walnut Street. The guards had been told to lead them throughout the streets of Philadelphia: “We became a spectacle for the entire city,” wrote one German captive. The Hessians must have been a sorry sight after their ordeals, and the Americans were therefore embarrassed that they had run in terror from “such vagabonds.”

Washington had ordered that the prisoners should be protected, and the escort realized that with such an angry mob around them, it was impossible to guarantee the safety of their charges. As the mob numbers and violence increased, the Americans cut short the path through Philadelphia and marched their prisoners to the city barracks rather than continue the dangerous parade. The American small escort had to fend off the townspeople while the German prisoners sat inside the barracks, listening to the cries for their death from the mob outside. Even though they were battle-hardened, well-trained troops, being so outnumbered in the midst of an angry enemy must have been very frightening, especially for a soldier no older than about eighteen, like Henrich Horn.

Why were the Americans so protective of their prisoners, especially when the Hessians were so hated by all, even British Loyalists whose homes and businesses had been raided by the Hessians on their fierce march through New York and New Jersey? One of the American plans was that the POWs would be paroled or exchanged, and go back to their Hessian regiments with stories of how well they were treated, and “sow the seeds of dissension between them and the British troops.” The Americans had even gone so far as to publish and distribute tracts in German offering land and money for desertion of the Hessian troops. Additionally, Washington was afraid of attacks on the prisoners alienating them, making them even more fierce opponents once they had been released.

Henrich Horn and his fellow POWs would have been quite relieved to have survived the march through an angry Philadelphia. They would have been wondering as to what would happen next in the saga of their capture.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Re: 1784 engraving showing the Hessians captured at Trenton being marched to Philadelphia, then the American capital. Translation is approximately:  “The Hessians captured by General Washington on December 25, 1776 at Trenton are introduced as prisoners of war in Philadelphia.” Note that the Battle of Trenton was on the morning of December 26, 1776, not the 25th as written in caption.
  2. Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett, 2004. Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for History, this tells the story of the crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton, mostly from the American point of view. This is an excellent book, and very well-written.
  3. The Hessians and the other German Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War by Edward J. Lowell. Harper and Brothers Publishers, New York, 1884.
  4. AmericanRevolution.org: “The Hessians,” chapter VIII, an excellent read- http://www.americanrevolution.org/hessians/hess8.php
  5. Journal of the Fusilier Regiment v. Knyphausen From 1776 to 1783, possibly by Lt. Ritter? See http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~amrevhessians/journal1.htm#navbar
  6. Henrich Horn http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~amrevhessians/oh/hwardhorn.htm
  7. Hessians Remaining in America: http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~amrevhessians/a/amhessians10.htm#navbar
  8. Wikipedia articles:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President%27s_House_(Philadelphia)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Trenton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_battle_of_the_Battle_of_Trenton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_von_Knyphausen
  9. The Hessians. Mercenaries from Hessen-Kassel in the American Revolution, by Rodney Atwood, Cambridge University Press, 1980.
  10. The Hessians and Other German Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War, by Edward J. Lowell, Harper & Brother, New York, 1884 Republished by Forgotten Books, 2012.
  11. A Generous and Merciful Enemy. Life for German Prisoners of War during the American Revolution, by Daniel Krebs. University of Oklahoma Press, 2013.

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images. Click to enlarge images.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright of our blog material.

Military Monday: Henrich Horn- American Prisoner of War

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Henrich Horn: Military Career
Uniforms of Hessian soldiers, likely jaegers, via Wikipedia; public domain.
Uniforms of Hessian soldiers, likely jaegers, via Wikipedia; public domain.

McMurray Family, Horn Family (Click for Family Tree)

We last left our Hessian ancestor, Henrich Horn, after he was captured by George Washington’s forces at the Battle of Trenton on 26 December 1776. The von Knyphausen Regiment, of which he was a part, had been unable to join the remaining Hessian regiments in town, and moved south along Assunpink Creek where they were captured. Once Henrich’s unit was surrounded and they had stacked their muskets, they were probably terrified as to what would happen next.

Would they be brutally massacred, like so many vanquished forces in a battle? Injured and stripped of possessions, clothing, etc.? (This would have been a concern, since many of the Americans needed coats, hats, even shoes.) What kind of prison would they be put in- the British had notoriously hellish prisons, so the Germans probably feared for their lives with not knowing what the poor, under-equipped Continental Army would provide. And how would they get to where they would be held? The storm was still brutal, it was frigidly cold, and they were terribly exhausted since they had been on duty almost continuously for more than three days, and after coming off strenuous battles before they had marched to Trenton.

George Washington had heard the firing along Assunpink Creek and rode toward the von Knyphausen Regiment as they were being surrounded. He came across some Hessians who were assisting Major  von Dechow, Henrich’s commanding officer who had been mortally wounded, into a church. Washington spoke with his enemy, and then an aide returned from the bridge to inform Washington that the last Hessian regiment had been captured. Washington shook the hand of the aide as he said, “…this is a glorious day for our country.”

"The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton" by John Turnbull, via Wikipedia, public domain.
“The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton” by John Turnbull, via Wikipedia, public domain.  George Washington is at the center on the chestnut horse, and the wounded officer being held up is the Hessian commander, Col. Rall. Lying behind Rall’s hand is severely wounded Lt. James Monroe, whose life was saved by the physician holding him when he clamped the severed artery of our future fifth President. (Click to enlarge.)

It is said that George Washington also visited the dying Col. Rall, Hessian Brigade Commander. Rall requested that Washington allow his men to keep their possessions, then died that evening.

It was not such a glorious day for the Hessians. Henrich and his fellow soldiers would have seen the elegant, commanding, General Washington- their great foe for the last eight months- astride his chestnut horse as they waited to learn their fate as prisoners of war.

Those remaining of the von Knyphausen Regiment were marched about three-quarters of a mile down to the old South Trenton Ferry on the Delaware River. They must have been somewhat relieved to realize that maybe they were to survive this battle.

The commander of the Continental Army had a big decision to make- should they hold at Trenton? Washington’s troops had been marching and fighting for over 36 hours straight at that point, and needed rest. Or should they capitalize on their element of surprise and attack another British/Hessian post? The inclement weather would have made that difficult, and his fatigued army might lose all it had gained. Or should they retreat back across the Delaware to safer Pennsylvania, with plunder and prisoners? The last was decided upon as the most prudent action.

Meanwhile, the Continental Army was inspecting the town, looking for the famous plunder of the Hessians- they were reputed to always take much plunder as they travelled. (In fact, some writers claim that Rall’s return to town to take the Hessian guns was more about getting his own possessions and plunder. Some sources report that there were 20 wagonloads of plunder hidden at Trenton.) The rebels happened to find 40 hogsheads of rum (a cask that holds about 63 gallons). Washington ordered the rum to be destroyed, but he likely only heard about it after quite a few hogsheads had been tapped and the contents ‘claimed’ by the American troops. The troops celebrated their hard-won victory as they “drank too freely to admit of Discipline or Defence,” per one of their officers. They paraded around in the pointed brass caps of the Hessians, and had a good time despite the cold and exhaustion.

Being inebriated might have kept the American troops warmer on that frigid day, but it did make getting them back across the Delaware challenging. They also had 848 Hessian prisoners to move, as well.

"Passage of the Delaware" by Thomas Sully, 1819. In the MFA-Boston, public domain via Wikipedia.
“Passage of the Delaware” by Thomas Sully, 1819. In the MFA-Boston, public domain via Wikipedia. Although this is probably on the way to Trenton, the trip back to Pennsylvania would have looked similar. (Click to enlarge.)

The Americans sent the Hessians over the frigid, ice-clogged Delaware  before the majority of their own men crossed. Although the width of the river was only about the equivalent of four city blocks, the continued poor conditions and exhaustion of all the men, rebel or Hessian, made it twice the ordeal as the crossing had been on the way to Trenton.

American soldiers assisted with the escort of Hessians over the river, using flat-bottomed boats or scows. Our Henrich Horn might have been in one of these boats, since the von Knyphausen Regiment was the first to have been marched down to the ferry. One Continental soldier later reported that in the scow they were all knee deep in both snow and rain, and he said of the Hessians: “some of the poor fellows were so cold that their underjaws quivered like an aspen leaf.”

The icy river was still clogged with ice floes, and ice formed on the boats themselves. The additional surface area from the ice caused the heavily-laden boats to be carried downstream in the strong current, as well as increase the weight and make it harder to row or pole across. To remove the ice and keep the boats crossing the shortest distance, the experienced New England boatmen would pound on the boat and stamp their feet. They motioned for the Hessians to jump up and down with them. (Wonder if our Henrich was on one of these boats instead?) The Americans got quite a chuckle out of the sight- the impeccably uniformed Hessians (though battle-worn) had a tight cue/queue (braid or tightly wrapped ponytail) of hair that stuck straight out the back. The jumping made the queue bounce up and down as well. The Americans were quite amused- and probably proud- to see that they had reduced their formerly terrifying Hessian enemy to looking very silly at that point.

Some of the transport boats were carried down the river by the swift current, and there was too much ice along the shore for the boats to land. One group of Hessian prisoners had to abandon their boat and walk for seventy feet through the icy water. Breaking through the ice, they were finally able to go ashore in Pennsylvania. Was our Henrich in this group instead? We will probably never know what he endured after being taken a prisoner during his transport, but whichever scenario, it must have been frightening and miserable.

The Americans had all the same problems with their crossing, although it was even worse for many. Some of the Americans were so drunk  from Hessian rum that they missed when leaping into the boats, and landed instead in the icy river. Others walked out on the thick ice near shore, but then it broke, dropping them into the creek and soaking them, their gun, and ammunition. Most of the Americans had to wait patiently while the Hessians were ferried across, but it was cold and had started to rain. Many were injured or sick, and exhaustion clouded their joy in victory. The snow was melting somewhat from the rain and slightly warmer daytime temperature, and thus they had to march through pools of water/slush, many of them without shoes. The artillerymen had it tough too- in addition to themselves, they had to get heavy guns through the melting snow and mud, despite many of the guns having damaged carriages, wheels, or axles from the firefight.

Our modern-day Google maps tell us that it is 14 miles and 20 minutes via car on the highway from Trenton, New Jersey to Newtown, Pennsylvania, the home base of the Continentals. Google also claims it is an 11.3 mile walk north along the river and then west to get to Newtown from Trenton, and the walk will take 3 hours and 46 minutes today. But how long would it have taken our cold and wet soldiers, both Hessian and American, to make that trip over slushy and frozen ground, through snow drifts, with frozen limbs, fever, dysentery, battle wounds, soaking wet clothes, and feet torn up due to lack of shoes? Think of how far they each had already marched in the previous 2 days, run in battle in Trenton, and the strength needed to fight with bayonets since their ammunition was not working well in the wet weather, plus the exertion of getting heavy boats across the ice-filled Delaware (twice for the Americans). Add in carrying heavy muskets, ammunition, and moving heavy artillery (would the Hessians have been used to help?) on the march to Pennsylvania, and we can only imagine the state of all these weary men as they finally reached camp.

The Americans were probably still elated with their victory, and they were relatively safe in their own camp in Newtown. But the Hessians had to worry- what would happen to them next? They were now in the midst of their enemy- a people they had fought, brutalized, plundered, and murdered as they moved through the country before their capture at Trenton. They surely knew how hated the Hessians were to the American people, even those loyal to the Crown who had been indiscriminately attacked as well by Hessian and British forces. To add to their fear, the Hessians had been told by the British that the Americans treated their POWs terribly, with no regard to the conventions of war. The Hessians could not accept the American people wanting ‘liberty’ from a righteous king, and felt they were greedy as they had so much more than a common Hessian family had in Germany, yet wanted more. Although there were quite a lot of Germans who had immigrated to the colonies before the war, the Hessians would stand out and could not easily escape due to their language and cultural differences. How would this enemy now treat them as prisoners?

The officers had been separated from their men, who were thrown into a hurriedly prepared, makeshift, “dreadful prison,” per Johannes Reuber, a captured Hessian common soldier. Food was dropped to them through a hole in the roof, and the Hessians felt they were being treated as animals.

Heinrich Horn and his fellow POWs likely did not rest well that night, despite their utter exhaustion.

 

More to come on Henrich Horn…

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett, 2004. Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for History, this tells the story of the crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton, mostly from the American point of view. This is an excellent book, and very well-written.
  2. The Hessians and the other German Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War by Edward J. Lowell. Harper and Brothers Publishers, New York, 1884.
  3. AmericanRevolution.org: “The Hessians,” chapter VIII, an excellent read- http://www.americanrevolution.org/hessians/hess8.php
  4. Journal of the Fusilier Regiment v. Knyphausen From 1776 to 1783, possibly by Lt. Ritter? See http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~amrevhessians/journal1.htm#navbar
  5. Henrich Horn http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~amrevhessians/oh/hwardhorn.htm
  6. Hessians Remaining in America: http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~amrevhessians/a/amhessians10.htm#navbar
  7. Wikipedia articles:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Trenton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_battle_of_the_Battle_of_Trenton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_von_Knyphausen
  8. The Hessians. Mercenaries from Hessen-Kassel in the American Revolution, by Rodney Atwood, Cambridge University Press, 1980.
  9. The Hessians and Other German Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War, by Edward J. Lowell, Harper & Brother, New York, 1884 Republished by Forgotten Books, 2012.
  10. 10. A Generous and Merciful Enemy. Life for German Prisoners of War during the American Revolution, by Daniel Krebs. University of Oklahoma Press, 2013.

 

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