Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Hessian Soldier At Lochabar

Children, on a 1952 school trip, being shown the skull of the Hessian solider found in a walled off room of Lochabar.

And as if the Widdaagh monument isn't enough of a curiosity, the Lochabar house owned by George Sanderson has an additional story:

"A story handed down to Mrs Cleo Barclay, the present owner, has it that once a skeleton clothed in British uniform was found in this walled-in enclosure which was discovered when repairs were made to the house by the Sandersons.  Buttons of the uniform were sent to England, and were verified as being authentic of the period.  Mrs Barclay still has the skull and sword to prove the tale. The rest of the story, as to how it came to be there, seems to be lost to antiquity.

"The story of the secret room at Lochabar is a true one. We wanted to place a radiator in the living room. My father went into the cellar and I remained on the first floor and he would knock on the ceiling and I would say move over — he finally 
said, "I am up against a wall." When the stones were removed, we found a good-size room approximately fifteen by twenty feet. It was cleared out. In the center, we found a long box-like pile of stone with a flat stone on top. This we did not remove for years. In the room we found a mess kit and other utensils. Last but not least of all, the bones of a body. 

The body was that of a man who was twenty-three years old when he died. The mystery was partially solved when the sword which was found lying near the body was sent to London. There it was identified as being one used by Hessian soldiers in the 
Revolutionary War. We can only conjecture about the missing parts to the puzzle, but one theory concerning the young soldier's fate is that he was a deserter whom the rebels 
in that area captured. Having no method of securing their prisoner, the revolutionaries murdered the man. His sword now hangs over the living room fireplace at Lochabar — 
another reminder of the farm's varied and often awesome past.

Historians who have studies the early colonial period in the West Branch region are willing to wager the owner of the skeleton was the only Tory who ever showed his face around here"  - full newspaper article below. 

From our historical bus tour in May 2019 - 
"Next we drove to the Lochabar property, formerly owned by George Sanderson.  We did not get off the bus here, so I do not have good photos, but we heard a bit from the homeowner about the hessian soldier found here, and they still own the buttons and skull.  He shared with us the story of George Sanderson hanging the skull with candles in it, then dancing around and making noises to frighten the negro servants.  Sanderson has a strong reputation as a practical joker, which is relevant when we get to the monument at little Lochabar later.  I did not know that there were two Lochabars - the large old home built in 1769, and the smaller home by the springs, where the monument is located."

It's quite possible that the room the soldier was found in was a cold cellar.  The house was unoccupied at the time, it's possible he sought shelter there and froze to death.

Homes and heritage of the West Branch Valley
by Junior League of Williamsport (Pa,)

The origins of the house are also unknown - 
"The true origin of the house at Lochbar has long been shrouded in mystery"...  "None of which proves who built the house.  So the mystery remains - Who really DID build 
Locahabar?" from the full newspaper article below

The Express 
Lock Haven, Pennsylvania

24 Mar 1958, Mon  •  Page 3

The Express 
Lock Haven, Pennsylvania

16 Sep 1960, Fri  •  Page 7

Touring The Nippenose Valley
Trip Overview:

1 comment:

I'll read the comments and approve them to post as soon as I can! Thanks for stopping by!