Captain Strauss
Captain Strauss
"In the town of Reading, in Berks County, there had been some time past three companies formed, and very forward in their exercise. Since, however, we are well informed, a fourth company have associated under the name of the Old Man's Company. It consists of about eighty Germans of the age of forty and upwards. Many of them have been in the military service in Germany. The person who, at their first assembling, led them to the field is 97 years of age, has been 40 years in the regular service and in 17 pitched battles; and the drummer is 84. In lieu of a cockade, they wear in their hats a black crape as expressive of their sorrow for the mournful events which have occasioned them, at their late time of life, to take arms against our (British) brethren in order to preserve that liberty which they left their native country to enjoy."  Contemporary newspaper report  - Richard Wheeler 1972 - Voices of 1776, The Story of the American Revolution in the Words of Those Who Were There

 In 1776, David Strauss at age 42 may well have been a member of the Old Man's Company. His marriage record in 1761 identifies David as a musketeer in the service of Captain Herr Carl von Steprodt who gave him permission to marry. Carl von Steprodt was described as Hauptman (Captain)  with the 1st Regiment and Battalion of Orange-Nassau in baptism records for two Steprodt children as well as the 1768 burial record of his wife, Johanne Christina Elisabetha. Johanne Christina Elisabetha Steprodt was described as the wife of Hauptman Steprodt when she was sponsor for David's oldest daughter, Christina Elisabetha Johanetta in November 1761.  According to the baptismal record for Anna Gertrudt Strauss,  in 1763 David was still in the employ and service of Hauptman Carl von Steprodt.

David Strauss is first documented as Captain of the Militia in Hereford Township, Berks County, in January 1777. A newspaper article written in 1901 about his daughter, Christina who married Henry Stroh, states that David Stroh (sic) participated in and was wounded at the Battle of Trenton. There is little documentation of the Militia in Berks County prior to January 1777, but it is possible that he was involved in the attack on Trenton. The Pennsylvania Militia who were not already retreating from New York across New Jersey with General Washington began to gather in camp at Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania in late November and early December 1776. Few muster lists exist from December 1776 and we can only assume that David was already performing his duties as Captain during this period.

David Strauss was probably involved in the Philadelphia Campaign which took place in the Fall of 1777. The 1901 newspaper article about Christine Strauss Stroh states that she helped serve General Washington breakfast on the morning of the Battle of Brandywine while visiting at the home of a family friend, Mrs. Mauller. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg Richards cites muster rolls dated 27 August 1777 in The Pennsylvania-German in the Revolutionary War 1775-1783 as the source used for his inclusion of David as one of the captains of the 3rd Battalion under Colonel Michael Lindemuth. The 3rd Battalion was mustered into service on 27 September 1777; after the Battle of Brandywine and before the Battle of Germantown. The Militia from Berks County stayed in service with General Washington until he moved to his winter camp at Valley Forge in December 1777. Because they were close to home, the Berks County Militia were able to go home when the Continental Army went into winter quarters and therefore did not endure the hard winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge with General Washington.

The only documentation of active participation by David Strauss in the Revolutionary War is found at the Pennsylvania Archives in Harrisburg. The original records of Jacob Morgan, County Lieutenant of Berks County, are found as part of Record Group #4, roll #154. In the original ledger is an entry that shows 2 pounds paid to Captain David Strauss on October 14, 1778 for militia services. The records of Jacob Morgan which are part of the published Pennsylvania Archives describe the same entry as "Paid sundry Captains for services performed in their companies, expenses of appeals, wages of adjutants, drummers and fifers, and other contingent charges, per account settled Oct 1778."  In Record Group #4, roll #155 is found a receipt which shows 180 pounds paid on 31 August 1780 for supplies for Captain Strous' Company. David Strauss and the Hereford Company were probably part of the militia which were sent with Colonel Michael Lindemuth in August 1780 to the frontier north of the Blue Mountains to protect settlers from Indian raids and provide security for men cutting masts for the Navy.

Grandchildren of David Strauss in Indiana, Illinois and Western Pennsylvania continued to tell the story of David's involvement in the Revolutionary War long after details of his service had been forgotten. 225 years after the Battles at Brandywine and Germantown, we have rediscovered details of David's story...May it never be lost again!

A Quiet Country Life