SACRED TO THE MEMORY
FREDERICK A. RAUCH
OF MARSHALL COLLEGE
BORN IN KIRCHBRACHT
JUL 27, 1806
DIED AT MERCERSBURG
MARCH 2, 1841
Frederick Augustus Rauch, was the first and founding president of Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which later merged with Franklin College to become Franklin & Marshall College. Rauch was a German-born biblical scholar who graduated from the University of Marburg. At the very young age of 24, Rauch was appointed to a full professorship at the University of Heidelberg.
Due to his political views, Rauch fled from Germany to the United States in 1831. After he landed in the U.S., Rauch served, for a short time, as a professor of German at Lafayette College. He then took a position at the German Reformed Church at York, Pennsylvania. After his ordination, Rauch was appointed professor of biblical literature in the theological seminary at York. In 1835, he moved to Mercersburg to lead an academy that was eventually transformed into Marshall College.
Dr. Rauch was remembered affectionately. According to A EULOGY: Delivered on Occasion of the Re-Interment of His Remains at Lancaster, PA., March 7th, 1859 by Rev. John W. Nevin, D.D., published by M. Kieffer & Co., 1859, Chambersburg, Pa., his colleague remembered him, “As a scholar, [who] excelled particularly in Classical Literature, in Natural History, in Moral Philosophy and in Mental Science. He was at home also int eh sphere of Aesthetics, and had his mind richly stored with the creations of genius as they belong to the fine arts generally. The German Philosophy with all its bewildering abstractions, was for him the subject of full, familiar knowledge; while it commanded also his general confidence and respect.”
Rauch died on 2 March 1841 and was buried in Mercersburg in the grove on the grounds of the College. After the consolidation of Marshall College and Franklin College, in the Spring of 1853, “the Alumni Association discussed the question of the removal of the remains of Doctor Rauch from Mercersburg to Lancaster, and in July, 1855, took the following actions:
Whereas, since the removal of Marshall College to Lancaster and the sales of College property at Mercersburg, the remains of the venerated Dr. Rauch, the first President of Marshall College, lie alone, and are liable to exposure and abuse; and
Whereas, it is proper that the honored remains should lie near the spot to be occupied by the new College edifice; and finally,
Whereas, the relatives of the deceased President, have, upon consultation, acquiesced in any proper measure, which may be devised for the removal and suitable consignment of his remains….”
Ruch’s tomb was to “bring… the contents of that honored grave to Lancaster; that being solemnly committed here to a new tomb, and crowned with new marble, they might be outwardly and openly joined henceforward with the living history of the College in its new form. Let the city of Lancaster welcome these illustrious remains.”
Rauch has a towering white-marble column that is now badly weathered. The facial details of the figure has eroded. Many of the other sculptural details in the bas-relief in the plinth are being lost. However, it is still clear that the tableau is that of an educator surrounded by shelves of books and a globe at his feet—the professor’s tools of his trade so to speak. In the scene, Dr. Rauch sits at a desk with an open book for his review while he is poised with a writing utensil. A fitting tribute to venerable scholar.