Who would have thought that I could have so much FUN!!! right after I had so much FUN!!!
I have just returned from spending a few days in the David Library of the American Revolution in Washington's Crossing Pennsylvania. For a know it all like me learning new stuff just makes my day. It makes me a better know it all. And this trip I just did not stop learning new stuff. I am working on a book (okay, so I am always working on a book and one day one will actually get done, I know, I know) that jumped out at me as being some thing that had to be done. A How-To on Hessians.
So for a few days I looked at everything Hessian and it was a non-stop, "I didn't know that" or "I didn't think about that" kind of experience. Of course, I am going to save those revelations for the book, but no matter.
Out of the experience came news that after July 1782 (somewhere is mention in the Papers of the Continental Congress, but I haven't looked at is deeply yet) if was possible for a Hessian to get out of prison by joining the Continental Army, or for the amount of $80.00 to obtain a redemption certificate and basically get a get out of prison camp free card. Had to sign an oath of allegiance. If he did not have $80.00 he could indenture himself to someone who made the payment for them (wonder if there are records somewhere about these guys) and work off the debt. Or of course he could stay in prison. This put an entirely different view on my view of how Hessians joined the Continental Army. So the question is if a Hessian gets a redemption certificate and heads into the wilds of Pennsylvania or The Valley is he really a deserter?
If you don't know the David Library you should. Google it and see all the neat things they have in their catalog. If you have an interest in anything between 1750 and 1800 this is the place to be. I could have spent a month. The next time the Bucks County Genealogical Society invites me to come and speak I will be much better prepared to take advantage of the facility. I think that is called a research plan.
Thank you the David Library of the American Revolution.