GENERAL FRIEDRICH WILHELM AUGUST VON STEUBEN
The “von” was added to the STEUBEN family name in 1708, by grandfather Augustin Steuben who was a minister with the German Reformed Church. Steuben was baptised with the name “Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben” which he changed to “Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand.” The title of Baron was awarded to him in 1764, after he became chamberlain at the petty court of Hohenzollern-Hechingen. He had already been in military service, having been dismissed, reasons unknown, in 1763, with the rank of Captain.
Steuben came to the colonies, after presenting his credentials to Benjamin Franklin in France. He had royal connections in his homeland and had been part of the General Staff during the Seven Years War. He even served diplomatically in Russia. His military experience had been significant enough to greatly improve the quality of the Continental Army after Valley Forge.
It is always a wonder to find our own American patriots of the Revolution honored also in lands far across the sea. Of course, it should be thus, as it was the Revolution that “fired the shot heard ’round the world.” If I am reading the German writing correctly, this statue of the great patriot general of the American Revolution is located in Potsdam, Germany.