Second Lieutenant Philip Struben

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Second Lieutenant Philip Struben

Also Known As: "Philip Strubing", "Philippe", "Philippe Von Struben"
Birthplace: Geneva, Genève, Geneva, Switzerland
Death: between 1800 and 1804 (37-50)
Bloom township, now Bloomsberg, Columbia County, PA, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Frederich Andre Von Struben
Husband of Sarah Struben
Father of Elizabeth Good; Diemer Struben; James Diemer Strubing and Margaret Strubing

Occupation: Dragoon of Pennsylvania Line
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Second Lieutenant Philip Struben

~• changed spelling of his surname after the American Revolution. Struben became Strubing. Many of his descendants honored Philip's father-in-law Dr. James Diemer, Esq.. Parents used the surname <Diemer> in naming their children.

DAR# A111824

May have been a mercenary and additionally a "turn-coat". Many of Von Heer's dragoons originally served the British Army but became convinced in one way or another to change sides. Because of this feature the authority of this troop of MP's cause grumbling among some of the rank and file of the regular Continental Line.

Period spelling of name is taken from this newspaper clipping and :

Pennsylvania, U.S., Tax and Exoneration, 1768-1801
Philip Struben

Provost Corps

~• aka Von Heer's Dragoons; aka Marechausie Corps

recruited by Bartholomew von Heer (at Reading?) fortunes tied to Major Von Heer, .. see also


Marechausie Corps

Provost Corps

Phillip Struben was a Germanic recruit of Major Bartholomew von Heer's. From a newspaper source of 1787 we ssee that he became his Second Lieutenant. "Von Heer recruited most of the Corps from the German communities in the Berks and Lancaster Counties of Pennsylvania.[12] 42 of the Corps’ 63 men were native-born Germans and two were Swiss." Some of these men were deserters from the British Army. It is quite possible that Philip was one.

background in the Revolution Marechausie Corps.

"Washington and the Continental Army spent the winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge, twenty-five miles northwest of Philadelphia. On November 27, the Continental Congress decided to restructure the Board of War. Up to this point the Board was made up of delegates from the Continental Congress. With only seven members who elected Washington still sitting in Congress and many of the others inexperienced and uninformed as to the operation of an army, it was decided that the Board should be made up entirely of military men. Concerned with the state of the army following a year of defeat after defeat, on January 10 Congress “resolved, that three members of Congress, together with three members of the [new] Board of War, be appointed a committee to repair to General Washington’s headquarters.”[1] They were to investigate the issues surrounding the amount, quality, and timeliness of supply deliveries, the overall structure of the army, and the morale of the army. On January 24, the committee arrived at Valley Forge; five days later, Washington presented them with a 38-page document outlining the numerous defects in the army as well as recommendations for remedying them.[2] In early February before the committee was scheduled to depart for Philadelphia a snowstorm struck. Forced to remain in camp until the beginning of March, they experienced, firsthand, the hardships that Washington’s men endured on a daily basis. When they returned to Philadelphia they were ardent supporters of Washington’s recommendations. The first issue, supply logistics, was remedied by replacing the incompetent Gen. Thomas Mifflin with Gen. Nathanael Greene as Quarter Master General. The second and third problems, overall organization and the morale of the army, were remedied by creating a process for bestowing ranks, a process for filling state quotas, a pension equaling half of a soldier’s pay, and the granting of commissions to two Prussian officers. The first was Baron von Steuben; he was to teach the American soldiers close-order drill, military readiness and use of the bayonet. The second was Captain Bartholomew von Heer; he was to command a Provost Troop of Light Dragoons or mounted military police.

Washington’s foreign officers including von Steuben and the Marquis de Lafayette had recommended the creation of the force as early as November 1777. Bartholomew von Heer, who had served in such a unit in Europe, and Col. Henry Lutterhol drafted an outline of its composition and duties.[3] The troop, based upon the “Privots de Marecheaux,” first created by King Francis I of France[4], would be known as the Marechaussee Corps. It would be made up of 1 captain, 4 lieutenants, 1 clerk, 1 Quarter Master, 2 Trumpeters, 2 Sergeants, 5 Corporals, 43 Provosts, and 4 Executioners.[5] On May 27, 1778, the Continental Congress authorized the Corps and defined its role: ”Their business was to watch over the Regularity and good Order of the Army in Camp, Quarters, or on the March, quell Riots, prevent marauding, straggling and Desertions, detect Spies, regulate sutlers and the like.”[6]"
For the winter of 1779 and 1780, von Heer and the Corps were ordered to Reading, Pennsylvania. Not only was this near many of their homes, but the town had a munitions depot, a prisoner of war camp and an army hospital that needed guarding."

Von Heer received a supremely generous grant of land in Ohio from the federal government in 1801 As we see from another notice, Philip Struben had to lobby hard to get a smaller land grant. I do not know if he succeeded. If he did, it was in Berks county were he spent his later years after the turn of the century. ~• MMvB, vol. curator •~

Speculation as to origin

Little found to date on the parents or place of birth of 2nd Lieut. Struben. This includes a lack of sourcing for the "Swiss birth" allegation. As he was given a immediate rank of 2nd Lieut. may be attribute to the influence of his (unknown) parents or that of

Late Life

It appears that the fortunes of Philip and Sarah Struben relied on the largesse of her father, the doctor and judge of Berks County. Dr. Diemer, Esq. was a man of influence and wealth. Philip does not appear to have expanded upon this to any great degree The Struben land in Columbia County looks to have been part of a grant secured by Dr. Diemer.
Struben, now Strubing, did remain politically and militarily active. He was par of a militia in Berks County that pulled down pro-Jeffersonian poles. He also endorsed the candidacy of Sen. John Ross for a run to become PA's Gov.


  • Maréchaussee Corps described.
    • George Washington's Enforcers: Policing the Continental Army By Harry M. Ward SIU Press, Mar 24, 2006

Notable Descendants Include

Justus H. Schwacke

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Second Lieutenant Philip Struben's Timeline

Geneva, Genève, Geneva, Switzerland