February 20, 2012

Trail Commemorates Aide to George Washington

Today is President's Day so it seems appropriate to describe a sign we saw recently which mentions George Washington. This is in Riverview Park, Woodstock, VA.

Effinger Trail

This trail is dedicated to Captain John Ignatious Von Effinger (1756-1839), a Hessian soldier who deserted from the British in the American Revolution and joined the American forces. He was later put in command of George Washington's bodyguards. Captain Effinger lived in Woodstock for many years and is buried in St. Paul's UCC cemetery on S. Church Street in Woodstock.
This trail was designed and constructed by Boy Scouts of America Troop # 54, Edinburg, VA, and dedicated in November 1999.
The park is on Cemetery Road east of town, near the North Fork of the Shenandoah River.

Effinger's first name was apparently spelled Johann before he came to this country. Online sources say he served in the British 17th Regiment before deserting and joining the von Heer Corps which served as Washington's Bodyguard. His house in Woodstock was demolished in 2010, to the dismay of local preservationists.


  1. The link to the house demolishing article gives an error msg, so the story may no longer be available online (some newspapers limit online access in order to sell archival material). Saw your question on HMDB and wonder why nobody has answered. There must be thousands of such signs, so it is a valid one. This is the first I ever heard about GW bodyguards. I read about how they tried to assasinate him. Bad idea?

  2. Sorry about the dead link. Thanks for your comment. Yes, I've seen a number of signs that are part historical marker and part trail marker.

    That's an interesting story about how Washington's bodyguards were involved in an assassination plot. Glad they were not successful!

  3. Most interesting story. I really like your blog. And though I am terribly late, I will become a follower because I like the history your blog reveals.

  4. Just saw this Linda. John Ignatious Von Effinger is my great, great.....great Grandfather. He was born in Wildegg-Moriken Switzerland, then came over as a Hessian from Hesse Germany. His son...was George Washington Effinger..and his son was Michael Harvey Effinger, my great Grandfather, who fought in the civil war, yes CSA and was a member of Mosby’s Rangers. VMI grad and later Wash & Lee, became a lawyer among other things....I’m Robert Craig Effinger III - my father and grandfather buried in Staunton, VA. I appreciate the story about my ancestor and commemoration of trail in his honor. Salute!! Thank you! First I had heard of it... I live in Michigan but will hopefully get to hike it someday...take care! R.C. Effinger III


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