Major General Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin Baron von Steuben

Painted from life in 1786 for James Duane by Ralph Earl.
This painting hangs in The Hall of Life Masks
Fenimore House, Cooperstown, New York
 


Baron Frederick William von Steuben was born in Magdeburg, Prussia on November 15, 1730 and died November 28, 1794. When only 14 years old, he was a volunteer at the siege of Prague and rose steadily in rank until, in 1752, he was on the staff of Frederick the Great.

Steuben met Benjamin Franklin in France, then came to America in December 1777. He was the Inspector General of the American Revolutionary Army, serving with Washington at Valley Forge. The Baron trained troops & wrote the drill manual adopted by The Continental Army. The effect of Steuben's training was most obvious at the battle of Monmouth (June, 1778), when American forces, who had begun the retreat under orders from Charles Lee, rallied against the British on Washington's arrival. He also commanded a division at The Battle of Yorktown. He was a military planner to Washington following end of the war.

After the war, he was given 16,000 acres of land located in the present Town of Steuben and built a temporary residence there. When he died in 1794, he was buried at his own request in the center of a five acre parcel of woodland. His body was exhumed in 1824 and his side-de-camp and adopted son, Colonel Walker, re-interred his remains at a spot nearby where a monument was erected over the grave.  This monument was replaced in 1870-1871 by the more imposing one which now marks the final resting place of this Patriot. It was financed by a State grant and by a public subscription, mainly by citizens of German decent in this country.
 

 

Baron Steuben Memorial
Photo circa 1936
 


These bits of cloth were snipped from Steuben's uniform by Chester Winfield Porter when the body was first exhumed. They were presented to Roman Lodge #82, where they remained in the possession of Roman Lodge until the time of the Morgan Incident. When the lodge discontinued its meetings, the property of the lodge was divided among the active members for safe keeping. The patches of cloth were placed in the custody of Brother Byron Fox Sr., along with the charter for the lodge. Subsequently, they passed to Byron Fox Jr., and then to his brother-in-law, Brother Roy P. Newell, who held them for a number of years. When Brother Newell passed away, the patches were held by R:.W:. Raymond Adey, then secretary of Roman Lodge. He felt that Baron Steuben Lodge #264 should, logically, become the inheritor of this historic bit of memorabilia.

 

Uniform patches were formally presented to Baron Steuben Lodge #264
on April 13, 1966 by R:.W:. Raymond Adey during his year as
Grand Steward of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York.
 


 

copy of original envelope, circa 1824

 


 

D.T. Zangari
Copyright 2000-2002
Freemasonry in Central New York
  All rights reserved
Revised: March 28, 2008