HESSIAN SOLDIER CHRISTIAN STROHL



Christian Strohl
(also known as Strahl or Strole)

Musketeer, Company 4, Hesse-Hanau Erbprinz Regiment

Born August 31, 1754, Rumpenheim, Principality of Hessen-Hanau (now Germany)

Died March 18, 1841 in Page County, Virginia

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The Hessen-Hanau Erbprinz Regiment fought on the side of the British in the American Revolution. Christian Strohl was one of many Hessians who remained in America after the war.
Uniform of the Hessian-Hanau Crown Prince Regiment
Hessen-Hanau Erbprinz Regiment uniform by Captain Friedrich Konstantin von Germann, commanding officer of Company 4, Hesse-Hanau Erbprinz Regiment. Copies of von Germann's famous watercolor sketches are still available from Corner House Books.


Christian Strohl was born in Rumpenheim, Hesse, Germany on August 31, 1754 (though the age of 24 at the time of enlistment in 1776 does not accurately reflect this), a son of Johann Peter Strohl (Strahl) and Anna Margaretha Seybel. Church records of the Rumpenheim Reformed Church show that Christian Strohl was baptized on September 5, 1754.

"The Year 1754: On the 31st of August late at night between 11:00 and 12:00 o'clock was a child born and baptized the 5th of September. The father was Johann Peter Strohl, an inhabitant of Rumpenheim. The mother was Anna Margaretha (nee Sebel). The godfather was the unmarried Christian Seybel from Bischofsheim, the brother of the Anna Margaretha. The name of the child is Christian."

Christian Strohl enlisted as a musketeer in Company 4 (commanded by Captain Friedrich von Germann) of the Hanau Erbprinz Regiment (commanded by Colonel Wilhelm Rudolph von Gall) in February 1776 at the age of 24. Records (HETRINA) indicate that he was inducted (other than through transfer). There is an indication that he was appointed as a gemeiner (private) in March 1776. There is also a record of his being a gemeiner in April 1779. Most of this information is found in HETRINA, Vol. IV (Hessisches Truppen im Amerikanischen Unabhangigkeitskrieg = Hessian Troops in the American Revolution) a listing compiled from original German records of all who served from the principalities of Hesse-Cassel, Hesse-Hanau, and Waldeck.

According to findings in HETRINA, Christian may have had at least one sibling who also enlisted in 1776. Actually, in scanning the records, two other men with the surname of Strohl are on the rolls for Hanau units. Like Christian Strohl, Johannes Strohl is shown as having been born in Rumpenheim, Hanau, Germany. Records show that at the age of 18, Johannes enlisted (shows as having been inducted) in February 1776 (the same time that Christian enlisted) as a gemeiner (private) in the Hesse-Hanau Artillery Corps. He was separated from this command in Europe in the same month and apparently transferred to the 2nd company of the Hesse-Hanau Erbprinz Regiment in which Christian Strohl can also be found (though in the 4th company). There is no further record as to what happened to Johannes after his transfer. Christian's second son was named John and it may indicate that he named this son for his younger brother.

Yet another Strohl, Friedrich, was shown as having enlisted (induction as a recruit) as a musketeer in January 1783 in the Hesse Hanau Erbprinz Regiment. Friedrich, however, had been born in Strassburg and was listed as 31 years of age when he enlisted (placing his birth date around 1751). He is also shown as transferred in March 1783 (the unit not indicated). Considering the status of the war at the time Friedrich enlisted, it is likely that he never shipped from Germany to America. Unlike striking similarities in birthplace and time of enlistment for Christian and Johannes, it cannot be determined for certain, how Friedrich was related to Christian.

Though it seems likely that Christian Strohl was captured at the Battle of Saratoga, New York, October 1777 while serving as one of 8,000 Hessians under General Baron Riedesel, another reference shows that his capture may have been in some other manner. In the book "Ups and Downs of a Confederate soldier," (New York: William E. Rudge's Sons, 1940), a grandson of Christian Strohl/Strole, James Huffman [1/31/1840 - 4/14/1922, and was a son of Ambrose Huffman (2/5/1804-1/9/1862) and Christina Strole (10/13/1808-1893) - Christina being the twelfth of fourteen children of Christian Strohl/Strole] noted on page 139 of his book that "From the best information I can get, grandfather Christian Strole came here from Germany in the British Army, during the Revolutionary War and was captured one day while straggling from camp by American Cavalry. Also two Huffman companions were captured. This information I obtained from parties in no way interested and it was voluntary and endorsed by a near relative." (page 139).

Christian was likely one of the Hessian prisoners held at Charlottesville, Virginia and, after sent to Frederick, Maryland, and then Reading, Pennsylvania, took up the offer to become an indentured servant in exchange for his freedom from POW camp. He offered himself into indenture while at Reading, Berks County, Pa. on September 11, 1782. Michael Kiser purchased the indenture. Like Strohl, Kiser himself was a native of Rumpenheim, having been born there, likely a son of Valentine and Maria Eppart Kiser. Kiser had left Germany in 1750. Kiser was also a veteran of the American Revolution, having served in Capt. Philip Krick's 8th Company, Fourth Battalion, Pennsylvania Line (possibly militia). Kiser's name appears on a list of fines assessed in the years 1777-1778 for being absent from muster or drill.

Nevertheless, the purchase of Strohl's indenture by Kiser may not have been purely coincidence as the Reformed Lutheran church records from Rumpenheim show that the Kayser and Strohl families lived near each other, attended the same church, intermarried, and witnessed each other's baptisms. The Strole birth and baptism certificate shows that Christian Strole was confirmed at this church in Rumpenheim in the spring of 1772. It appears possible that Michael purchased Christian's indenture and subsequently freed him because their families were closely linked in Germany. Not long after purchasing Strohl's indenture, sometime in 1783, the Kiser family, having purchased 1030 acres of land along the south fork of the Shenandoah River in what was then Rockingham County, Virginia, left Berks County, Pennsylvania for Virginia (the part of the state that is now Page County). Strohl, still being bound by his three year indenture, accompanied the Kiser family.

Days before the expiration of his indenture, on September 7, 1785, Christian Strole purchased from Martin Strickler, 300 acres of land between the Shenandoah River and Peaked Mountain (in what was then Rockingham County, Virginia, and is now Page County). The home which he soon after built still stands today. On April 8, 1788, just over five years since Christian had been indentured to the Kiser family, he married Kiser's daughter, Elizabeth. In all, Christian and Elizabeth had fourteen children between 1789 and 1814. The author of this webpage, Robert H. Moore, II, is a great-great-great-great-great-grandson of Christian Strohl and is descended through Christian's oldest child, Jacob Strole (1789-1860).

Christian died on March 18, 1841 and was buried in what is now known as the Christian Strole cemetery near Grove Hill in Page County, Virginia. Elizabeth died October 27, 1854. To get to the Christian Strole cemetery - from Newport in Page County, go 1.6 miles south on Rt. 340, turn left onto Rt. 613 go .9 miles to private drive of Jimmy Jenkins, turn left and proceed to Jenkins home. Proceed ESE diagonally to the hill 600 to 800 feet to the cemetery. Cemetery is enclosed with a wire fence and in poor condition although someone has cleared a lot of the brush. It is approx 40 ft x 40 ft.


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