John Rapp

Medina changed when John Rapp moved to town a long time ago. Rapp made history by being the first person from Medina to fight in a foreign conflict. Growing up in Austria in the late 18th century, John grew up in conflict. The Napoleonic Wars started exploding all around him. The Napoleonic Wars are a set of conflicts between France and rival countries in the early 19th century. This grew from the fire of the French Revolution just a decade ago. A key figure in this conflict became the House of Hapsburg. This royal group of leaders in Europe made up most the monarchs in the continent at that time. John decided to join this very influential group to fight the wars at the age of eighteen. Rapp, eventually captured by the French forces, fought the French for the duration of the war. As part of group of men force to serve on the enemies side, Rapp unwillingly fought for the French in Napoleon’s last set of battles where he was finally driven out of power and sent to Elba. The group of battles that finally forced Napoleon from power was called the War of the Sixth Coalition. The major conflict caused massive casualties on both sides. John had survived the bloody war. At this time, he decided to leave Europe for America.
When arriving in this great country, John Rapp needed a place to go. He wanted to find a place that which gave him comfort and solace. A place like his forested and lush homeland of Austria. He heard of a place out West called Ohio that fit his needs and the needs of other central Europeans in the early 1800s. This new place created a way for John to escape the problems of his old country and start someplace fresh. His walk West game him clarity and a chance to use his keen survival skills that he learned during his time in war. At the time of Rapp’s arrival, Medina has just started as a city and made up primarily of a few hunting shacks, farm houses, a few dirt roads. John needed a place to survive the Ohio winters. His enlistment of the surrounding people of Medina helped greatly when the time came to build the Medina County Home. Original construction of the Home began in 1854. The 29’ x 59’ brick building cost $ 2,200 to be erected. The home raised cattle, sheep, hogs, chickens, and large gardens. The home became important to the lives of the people who had no close family in their elderly age. it became detrimental to John himself in his later years. John had diabetes and from this he lost both legs and his eyesight to this disease. The Home took in John and gave him a place to stay when his family wasn't around for him. The Medina County home is a staple of Medina and helped give this city an identity. John Rapp and others of this time period helped shaped the future and history of the great city of Medina, OH.

Images

Austrian Empire

Austrian Empire

John Rapp was born in Austria in 1790. Austria was then under the Hapsburg Monarchy in the Holy Roman Empire. In 1804 the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire left the Hapsburg Monarchy as a successor empire called the Austria Empire and was a part of the German Confederation. John would be fourteen at the time of this transition and been alive for two years before France had been in successive wars with Austria in the Wars of Coalition. Image Courtesy of Istvan Molnar, 15 July 2001 View File Details Page

Austria in the War of the Fifth Coalition

Austria in the War of the Fifth Coalition

John Rapp enlisted at the age of eighteen and trained for one year before being assigned to serve Austria in the War of the Fifth Coalition. John Rapp fought in a few battles in Bavaria during the war. Though his most critical battles were in a series at were fought near the Danube River. The most critical battle John served in at the Danube Valley campaign was the very bloody battle of Wagram. This battle was seen as a turning point in the wars since it ending favorably for the French and that was the last war for Napoleon to have the advantage at the end. Image by Burkhard on November 14, 2012 View File Details Page

This picture depicts an impressed soldier helping Napoleon up the shore. Prisoners of war under Napoleon's reign were usually held for four years and were forced to impress. Any rank held by the prisoner could be kept. Once loyalty was proven soldiers thought of the other prisoners as soldiers, at least during the fog of war. John Rapp was impressed for a longer period of time than most as he fought all the way past the Siege of Russia and into the War of the Sixth Coalition against his former Austrian Countrymen he hadn't seen for five years. Courtesy of Auguste Marie Raffet via Wikimedia commons View File Details Page

Invasion of Russia

Invasion of Russia

When Napoleon invaded Russia with his Grande Armee, John Rapp marched along. All of the soldiers were very much shocked that the russians used scorched-earth tactics. The French and allies could not comprehend why they would burn there crops, houses, livestock, and treasures only so Napoleon could not win them. The Russians tactics however in their First Patriotic War as the Russians call it made Napoleon and his grand army unable to live off of the land. Napoleon, though discouraged, marched his men all the way to Moscow in order to end the siege. The Count in control of Moscow ordered it burnt and Tsar Alexander the first did not surrender or come to any terms and Napoleon was forced to retreat. During this retreat Napoleons men being harassed by russians most all of the way and being ill equipped only 10,000 of John Rapp's original band of 100,000, part of the 266,000 piece grandy army survived, and John was one of them. Image from www.svvs.narod.ru View File Details Page

Immigrating to Ohio

Immigrating to Ohio

The economic state of the union was not that favorable up around until 1820 and immigrating from Europe was especially difficult due to troubles at the British Isles. Though some Europeans felt they need to escape the turmoil that was also affecting their home countries. Some immigrants that were veterans or also affected somehow by the French coalitions came to the states as well. John Rapp was one of those people. What was unusual about John's case of immigration is that he did not stay in a coastal town. John decided to use his superior forced marching skills he had gained from marching more literally than figuratively across Europe to try and settle in Ohio. John Rapp eventually found the farming community of Medina and settled down there. Image courtesy of Bourne and Kilbourne View File Details Page

Medina County Home

Medina County Home

John Rapp in his old age had diabetes. He had lost his legs to the disease and also his eyesight. John Rapp having no family equipped to take care of him lived his last years in the Medina County Home. The home operates much like a private rest home but is owned and operated by the county. In 1854 the home was built for indigent people who could not take care of themselves. The Home burnt down in 1861 and Rapp lived in the remodeled building that still stands today besides a few additions. John Rapp died in the Home in 1880 at the age of ninety years, an incredible feat for a man who had endured so much horror, so much pain. John Rapp was Medina's first Veteran of a foreign war and was a great one indeed. Courtesy of Medina County View File Details Page

Audio

Napoleon's Quote on Greatness

Napoleon although a brilliant man had a sense of hubris. <metadata> <mediatype>audio</mediatype> <collection>opensource_audio</collection> <title>Napoleon: A Short History [audio]</title> <description> a short history of Napoleon and his dictatorship over the French nation </description> <subject>Napoleon; Virgil's soul; Shakespeare's soul; LVB</subject> <creator>Napoleon Bonaparte</creator> <identifier>NapoleonAShortHistoryaudio</identifier> <uploader>Juvenal@justmail.de</uploader> <addeddate>2013-01-24 21:42:25</addeddate> <publicdate>2013-01-24 21:42:51</publicdate> </metadata> View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Anonymos, Brad Gallitz, “John Rapp,” Discover Medina, accessed July 23, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/145.

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