1760-12-26 – Villager shot by French at Rüddingshausen

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December 26 1760 – Villager shot by French at Rüddingshausen

Jacob Loth, 45 years old, was shot by French soldiers serving in the Regiment Royal Suédois. They approached his house under the pretext of searching for their messenger who had run away and who they suspected in Loth‘s house. They checked the barn without success and then requested access to his house, which was locked. As Loth couldn‘t provide a key, his wife was away visiting her sister, an argument ensued and Loth was fatally shot by one of the soldiers at 1 pm and died three hours later. The villagers however, went after the soldiers, detaining them and delivering them to the French command in Marburg.

(source: parish register of Londorf 1734-1786)

Note: A tragic incident and interesting for many reasons. The French army, occupying most of Hesse, had gone into winter quarters. The French Regiment Royal Suédois had taken quarters at Friedberg, some 50 km away from Rüddingshausen, a village near Grünberg where an engagement would take place about three months later. What these three French soldiers were really up to, remains unknown. Were they looking for a runaway messenger, or were they themselves deserters? The winter of 1760/61 was harsh. Were they looking for provisions under a false pretence? Whatever may be the case, the villagers seemed to trust French authorities and boldly detained the three French soldiers and delivered them to the French command in Marburg, which was about 25 km away, confident that they would deal with the culprits. Perhaps some day more detail will surface and we will be able to tell whether the villagers‘ hopes were met.



Stephen Westfall for this glimpse of daily life during the Seven Years' War.