“…I wish to make use of this last moment of my public life to signify, in the strongest terms, my entire approbation of your conduct and to express my sense of the obligations the public is under to you for your faithful and meritorious services…”
---George Washington in his letter to Baron Von Steuben, December 23, 1783
In gratitude for his Revolutionary service, the New Jersey Legislature awarded use and income of the confiscated Zabriskie estate at New Bridge to Baron von Steuben, Prussian Inspector-General of the Continental troops, on December 23, 1783. The estate consisted of the stone house, a large barn, several outbuildings, a gristmill, orchards, meadows and woods. After having thoroughly renovated the house, Baron von Steuben sold his Jersey estate in December 1788 to John Zabriskie III, son and namesake of the Loyalist who had lost the property during the Revolution.
Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben was born at Magdeburg in Prussia Saxony on Sept. 17, 1730. He entered the Prussian army in 1746. Major Friedrich von Steuben became a general staff officer and aide-de-camp to Frederick the Great in 1761, during the Seven Years’ War and was wounded in battle on the Russian front.
After the demobilization of 1763, he secured the post of Grand Marshall in the Court of the Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen. In 1767 he was awarded the Order of Fidelity, an honorary knighthood, by the Margrave of Baden. French War Minister, Count de St. Germain introduced him to American ambassador Benjamin Franklin, who arranged his passage to the United States.
Baron von Steuben offered his services “as a Volunteer” to the American Congress in December of 1777 and is best remembered for organizing and training the Continental Army at Valley Forge. He was commissioned Inspector General on May 5, 1778. He retired from military service in March 1784. Major General Baron Friedrich von Steuben died at Remsen, Oneida County, New York, on November 28, 1794.