The Hessian German

Henry Baker (Baecher) was born in Hesse-Cassell, Germany, January 24, 1753, into a family with many children. It was the custom in Germany that all strong men between the ages of 18 to 21 were drafted into the army. The Rebellion of the Americas was happening, and young Henry was loaned to England. The Hessians as they were called were sent to Trenton on the Delaware River under Colonel Ralle’s command. Washington on the west bank had very cold and starving soldiers. In a surprise move Washington re-crossed the river in a snow storm Christmas night and in the early morning of December 26th, he surprised and captured the British soldiers and about 1500 Hessians. Captured were Henry Baker and his friend and comrade, Ernest Kuhn.

During the winter of 1776, these two men chose to be cooks in Washington’s army rather than prisioners at Morristown. In the spring of 1777, tired of peeling potatoes they deserted and they ran away from the Army and started westward through Pennsylvania. They traveled at night and rested during the daytime, concealing themselves in the underbrush of the woods. They suffered from cold and hunger. On the third day they came across a small dogs roaming the woods; slaughtered and ate it declaring it one of the best meals they had ever tasted.

The pair worked for farmers near Berlin, Somerset County, Pennsylvania and saved their earnings, married and purchased some land. Henry married a widow Margaret Funk, born in Ireland in 1761. To this union were born Susannah, Rebecca Margaret, Catherine, Elizabeth, Maria and Henry Jr. The family became early settlers of Shanesville, Ohio when Henry purchased two lots there on July 4, 1815 for a total of $20.00. Henry died on September 4, 1817 aged 74 years. He is buried in the Shanesville First Reformed Cemetery at Shanesville, Tuscarawas County, Ohio.

Exactly 205 years later, I his 6th great granddaughter am remembering his life on July 4, 2020 Independence Day and his story from the American Revolution. Henry and Margaret Baker, Frederick Shoup and Rebecca Margaret Baker 1777-1843, Peter V Penrod and Mary Ellen Shoup 1802-1872, David Penrod 1820-1904 and Phoebe Ann Shire 1819-1891, James A Wise and Angeline Catherine Penrod 1856-1939, George Arthur Gibbs and Lydia May Ruth Wise 1883-1923, Gordon Waddell and Olive Gibbs, John Waddell and Jeane Miller, me Wendy Waddell Harty. And I am very grateful that dog is not on my menu this evening and very grateful for the freedoms I have!

info from “The Centennial HIstory and Atlas of Tuscarawas County, Ohio, 1908 and findagrave.

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