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Furgler the Hermit

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

January 20.—Yesterday, died, in the sixty-sixth year of his age, Francis Furgler, the hermit, who existed alone twenty-five years, in a thick wood about four miles from Burlington, in New Jersey, through all the inclemencies of the season, without fire, in a cell made by the side of an old log in form of a small oven, not high or long enough to stand upright in or lie extended. His recluse manner of living excited the curiosity of strangers, by whom he was often visited. His reasons for thus excluding himself from human society we believe he never communicated to any person in these parts; but it is thought he meant by it to do penance for crimes committed in his own country, for he was a man subject to violent passions. He subsisted upon nuts, and the charity of people in the neighborhood. From whence he came, or who he was, nobody could find out; but appeared to be, by his dialect, a German: yet he spoke that language imperfectly, either through design, or from a defect in his intellect. Just before his death a friend carried him a little nourishment, of which he partook, earnestly praying for his dissolution, and would not suffer himself to be removed to a more comfortable dwelling. Next morning he was found dead in his cell, with a crucifix and a brass fish by his side; and today he was decently interred in Friend’s burying place at Mount Holly.1

 

1 New Jersey Gazette, January 28