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State of New York State History

The Lafayette 1824-1825 Bicentennial: Are You Ready?

Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge

The Marquis de Lafayette returned in 1824-1825 to visit the country he helped create. Those dates mean his bicentennial begins even before the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775. In the last few weeks, I have begun working with some French organizations including:

American Friends of Lafayette
American Society of Le Souvenir Français

to promote the bicentennial of that visit.

There already is a spread sheet detailing day-by-day exactly where Lafayette was as he traveled throughout the country. This makes it easier to begin the planning process since we know where he was and when he was there. Corrections, updates, or revisions may be necessary.

This information comes from The Lafayette Trail, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that “aims to educate the public about the national significance of Lafayette’s Tour and to promote a broader understanding of Lafayette’s numerous contributions to American independence and national coherence in preparation for the 2024-2025 tour bicentennial celebrations.” Readers of this blog may already have or be working with The Lafayette Trail to erect markers at their locations in recognition of his visit to their site.

The possible programs/events related to Lafayette’s visit include:

Academic – a Lafayette conference(s) on his role in the American Revolution and the historical meaning of his visit in 1824-1825.

Education – teachers will now have the opportunity to say that Lafayette from the musical Hamilton was in our community at this location and on this date.

Preservation – what remains of the actual places Lafayette visited and what signs/markers are needed?

Tourism – Lafayette traveled by water and by land including on some of the same roads that exist to this very day. That means Lafayette boat rides, Lafayette bike rides, Lafayette runs/walks, and Lafayette cannon firing.

Website – there should be a website with the individual sites and history markers about Lafayette’s visit. It should have information about each stop and links to the state tourist website.

In this blog, I will start with the very beginning of his visit especially since it includes New Rochelle, NY, where I grew up, Sawpit/Port Chester, NY, where I now live, and the Boston Post Road.

NEW YORK
1824 Aug 15 Staten Island NY Daniel Tompkins Residence
1824 Aug 16 Brooklyn NY Fort Lafayette – 13-gun salute
1824 Aug 16 New York NY Castle Clinton National Monument
1824 Aug 17 Manhattan NY City Hall
1824 Aug 18 Manhattan NY Navy Yard, City Hall, City Hotel, Historical Society
1824 Aug 19 Manhattan NY French Society Reception, Fire Department Parade, Delegations Reception
1824 Aug 20 Harlem NY Harlem Bridge

Here we have three boat rides – from France to Staten Island, from Staten Island to Brooklyn, and from Brooklyn to Manhattan – a parade, a 13-gun salute, and receptions. August 20 would be a busy day as he started in Harlem and then continued to Westchester.

WESTCHESTER
1824 Aug 20 East Chester NY
1824 Aug 20 New Rochelle NY Peeler’s Tavern
1824 Aug 20 Rye NY Penfield’s [Square House]
1824 Aug 20 Sawpit NY Mr. Moreman’s
1824 Aug 20 NY/CT NY/CT Byram Bridge

This is a lot of stops to cram into one day of travel from Harlem to Bridgeport. According to Barbara Davis, New Rochelle City historian, there was a 19-gun salute before a crowd of great cheering. Town of Rye historian Gregg Hamilton thinks Liberty Square in Port Chester at the intersection of the Boston Post Road and Westchester Avenue got its name following Lafayette’s speech there.

Over the next ten days, Lafayette continued north to Boston.

CONNECTICUT, RHODE ISLAND, MASSACHUSETTS

1824 Aug 21 Marshall’s Hotel Stratford CT
1824 Aug 21 New Haven Green, Morse’s Hotel, New Haven CT
1824 Aug 21 South Gate of Yale, Lyceum building, Cabinet,
1824 Aug 21 Library, Grove St Cemetery, Silliman’s House
1824 Aug 21 East Haven CT
1824 Aug 21 General Reception – Unknown Branford CT
1824 Aug 21 Common Guilford CT
1824 Aug 21 Overnight Old Saybrook CT
1824 Aug 22 Richard McCurdy’s House – Breakfast Old Lyme CT
1824 Aug 22 Fort Trumbull, Shaw Mansion New London CT
1824 Aug 22 Kenney’s Hotel Norwich CT
1824 Aug 22 Overnight Plainfield CT
1824 Aug 23 Old State House, the Hotel Providence RI
1824 Aug 23 Blake Hotel Pawtucket RI
1824 Aug 23 Fuller’s Tavern Walpole MA
1824 Aug 23 Shirley-Eustis House Roxbury MA
1824 Aug 24 Common – State House – Amory Ticknor – Boston MA
1824 Aug 24 Dorothy Hancock Quincy Scott – Dined at
1824 Aug 24 the Exchange with the Mayor
1824 Aug 25 Address by Harvard President Kirkland, Cambridge MA
1824 Aug 25 valedictorian speech of Josiah Quincy,
1824 Aug 25 dinner at University Hall
1824 Aug 26 Attended the oration by Edward Everett
1824 Aug 26 Commons Hall
1824 Aug 27 First Bunker Hill visit, Navy Yard Charlestown MA
1824 Aug 28 Reception at the State House Boston MA
1824 Aug 28 John Brooks’s House Medford MA
1824 Aug 29 Brattle Street Meeting House – Boston MA
1824 Aug 29 Trip to Quincy to see John Adams
1824 Aug 30 Militia Review

Yale, Harvard, Bunker Hill, John Adams, orations, addresses, and militia review show an extremely busy scheduled for our visitor.

MASSACHUSETTS, NEW HAMPSHIRE, CONNECTICUT

1824 Aug 31 Address – Location unknown Chelsea MA
1824 Aug 31 Address by John White at the Hotel Lynn MA
1824 Aug 31 Bank House Marblehead MA
1824 Aug 31 Hamilton Hall Salem MA
1824 Aug 31 Bank House Beverly MA
1824 Aug 31 Treadwell’s Hotel, address by Nathanial Lord Ipswich MA
1824 Aug 31 Rowley MA
1824 Aug 31 Address by Ebenezer Moseley Newburyport MA
1824 Aug 31 James Prince’s House (Nathaniel Tracy’s Home)
1824 Sept 1 Portsmouth Committee of Arrangements Hampton Falls NH
1824 Sept 1 Lafayette at Hampton Falls Hampton Falls NH
1824 Sept 1 Leavitt’s Hampton NH
1824 Sept 1 The Hotel Greenland NH
1824 Sept 1 Franklin Hall, Jefferson Hall, Langdon House Portsmouth NH
1824 Sept 2 Meetinghouse (today’s First Parish) Concord MA
1824 Sept 2 Lexington Common / Lock’s Tavern Lexington MA
1824 Sept 2 S.V.S. Wilder Mansion Bolton MA
1824 Sept 3 Arch erected Sterling MA
1824 Sept 3 West Boylston MA
1824 Sept 3 Judge Lincoln’s Mansion Worcester MA
1824 Sept 3 Company of cavalry / Address by Rev. Mr Rich Charlton MA
1824 Sept 3 Common by Porter’s Stage House Sturbridge MA
1824 Sept 3 Spring House Stafford Spring CT
1824 Sept 4 General reception / trail marker at old courthouse Tolland CT
1824 Sept 4 Connecticut’s Old State House Hartford CT
1824 Sept 4 Landing / Upper Houses Cromwell CT
1824 Sept 4 The Hotel Middletown CT

Even by today’s standards, this would be a whirlwind tour. It makes one wonder who arranged the trip and how was it done in such detail. Imagine someone doing a trial run today just to make sure such a schedule was even possible and then coordinating all these events! Well, that is exactly what we have to do for 2024 if we are to match his route.

After spending some time in New York recharging his batteries, Lafayette would travel via the Hudson River to Albany and back presumably on a newfangled steamship. But that is for another blog.

24 thoughts on “The Lafayette 1824-1825 Bicentennial: Are You Ready?

  1. Dear Mr. Feinman,
    I was pleased to read the IHARE article regarding the upcoming Bicentennial of Lafayette’s Farewell Tour.

    May I please ask if you have had an opportunity to meet Julien Icher and learn about his project to create a national marker trail to trace the route taken by General Lafayette in 1824-1825? Several markers have already been placed in New York State in partnership with the William G. Pomeroy Foundation and the NY Daughters of the American Revolution with plans for more to prepare for the Bicentennial. Mr. Icher has also created a webseries called Follow the Frenchmen about the markers.

    Mr. Icher’s website is http://www.thelafayettetrail.org.

    Thank you,
    Patrice Powley Birner
    State Regent, 2019-2022
    New York State Organization, NSDAR

    1. Thanks Patrice. The other people in our working group know Julien. At the Evacuation Day ceremonies in New York on November 24, I had the opportunity to lunch with some people from NYDAR and see the Lafayette signs which had been put up. Peter

  2. Dear Peter,

    In light of your recent post on Lafayette’s triumphal U.S. tour, I thought you might enjoy the attached article that the New Hampshire Historical Society published in our journal, Historical New Hampshire, in 2018 about Lafayette’s time in New Hampshire.

    Cheers,

    Elizabeth Dubrulle
    Director of Education and Public Programs
    Editor, Historical New Hampshire
    New Hampshire Historical Society
    30 Park Street
    Concord NH 03301
    603-856-0604

    The independent nonprofit that saves, preserves, and shares New Hampshire history.
    Please visit us at nhhistory.org

  3. I always thought that Marquis de Lafayette traveled up the Hudson River from New York City and stopped at various Towns along the river – including Newburgh.

    Can you advise me WHEN Lafayette stopped in Newburgh and Poughkeepsie here in the Hudson River Valley area?

    I just looked up “Marquis de Lafayette in Newburgh, NY 1824” on the Internet and this is text that was displayed:

    “Adulation that frequently reached the level of hysteria greeted the French hero wherever he went. He was so much in demand that he had trouble maintaining his taxing schedule of public appearances. The citizens of every town wanted to see him.
    From New York City, he ascended the Hudson River. Having visited West Point, his boat pulled into Newburgh. The reception there was “more tumultuous than I had yet seen anywhere,” Levasseur recorded. As thousands of local people mobbed the Orange Hotel where Lafayette was feted at a banquet, the militia had trouble controlling the crowd. The mayor finally had to bring the guest out onto a balcony to satisfy the onlookers.

    He didn’t have time to stop at Poughkeepsie, but a huge crowd waited there until the wee hours to cheer him as he sailed past. At Clermont he visited Robert Livingston, son of the patriot family, and greeted people who came from all around the area. He landed at “the little town of Hudson” where arches and a public banquet awaited. But Lafayette had to miss these festivities in order to reach Albany in time.
    He received another outpouring at the state capital. Across the river, where only two or three cottages had stood during the days of the Revolution, Lafayette was amazed to find the prosperous new city of Troy. And so it went as Lafayette continued his tour, determined to visit every one of the twenty-four states.”
    Your schedule below doesn’t show Marquis de Lafayette traveling up the Hudson River at all ? ? ? ! ! !

    P.S. Per the Brinckerhoff Family History – when Lafayette was in Newburgh, he dropped off a three-drawer Dresser Bureau with a mirror attached as a GIFT to the Brinckerhoff Family as a personal “Thank You” that their parents / grandparent had saved his life – he was very sick in October 1778 and almost DIED HERE in Fishkill – but the Brinckerhoff Family took him into their house and nursed Lafayette back to health over a period of several weeks – he apparently had Smallpox? ! !
    In 2013 this “Lafayette Bureau” was donated to our Fishkill Historical Society since Marquis de Lafayette was at the Van Wyck Homestead occasionally – it was “Officers’ Headquarters” for the Fishkill Supply Depot encampment – (Oct. 1776 – Nov. 1783) – and Brinckerhoff Family descendants felt that it should be on display at our historic Revolutionary War era Museum – rather than in a private home somewhere.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Lynch – President
    Fishkill Historical Society
    Van Wyck Homestead Museum
    AskLynch@Yahoo.com

    1. Hi Steve,

      Good to hear from you. Time to start planning the Lafayette Teacher/Historyhostel in the Hudson Valley. My blog only covered his first trip along the Boston Post Road. After “resting” in New York for a week he was back on the trail for a quick visit to Albany.

      1824 Sept 15 Newburgh NY Orange Hotel
      1824 Sept 16 Poughkeepsie NY Forbus House, Poughkeepsie Hotel
      1824 Sept 16 Staatsburg NY General Morgan Lewis’s
      1824 Sept 16 Clermont NY Robert Livingston’s House
      1824 Sept 17 Albany NY Cruttenden’s Hotel, Canal Lock, Capitol
      1824 Sept 18 Troy NY Emma Willard’s Female Academy, Troy House
      1824 Sept 19 Albany NY Descent of the Hudson River – Arriving at Courtland Wharf

      Looks like the 2024 bicentennial will be perfectly timed for the Ramble.

      Peter

  4. Happy Holidays, Peter!

    What a great project.

    Please add Buffalo/Niagara to the 1825 list – https://www.buffaloah.com/h/lafay/index.html

    And we’ll see you here for the send off of the Seneca Chief in 4 years.

    Copying Cynthia Van Ness of the Buffalo History Museum because she will like this too, and she is an extraordinary historian of all things Niagara Frontier.

    Also Sara Capen, the Executive Director of Discovering Niagara.

    Stay Safe. Stay Well. Stay Inspired!

    Best Wishes, Clinton Brown, FAIA

    1. Hi Clinton,

      I look forward to when we can meet in person again. Hopefully before 2025! This initial blog was just about his Boston Post Road travels. I will get to his Hudson River and Mohawk-Niagara trip later. Sara is already on the email distribution list while Cynthia withdrew. It looks like there will be an active group to plan for the 2025 events just as the Erie Canal is about to open.

      Peter

  5. Peter, thanks for all you do to keep our history alive.

    You missed a few locations in Western NY.

    – Buffalo
    – Niagara Falls – where Layfayette was offered Goat Island to live.
    – Lewiston
    – Lockport

    It’s said he visited Ft. Niagara as well.

    Carl Skompinski

    1. Carl, Lafayette visited so many sites I could not include them in one blog. Instead I started at the beginning with his Boston Road trip. He didn’t get to your area until the following year so I have a couple of blogs to go before I get there. Peter

    1. Lafayette seems to be an example of “six degrees of separation” or even less as he touches so many people and issues. Thank you for volunteering for the June 2025 program on the bicentennial of his visit to the Buffalo-Niagara-Rochester area 🙂

      Peter

  6. An account of General Lafayette’s visit was recorded in the Town of Greenwich’s minutes and was recounted in Spencer P. Mead’s Ye Historie of Ye Town of Greenwich (The Knickerbocker Press, NY, 1911) on pp. 195 and 196. It reads as follows: “Pursuant to a formal invitation from Congress through President Monroe to visit the United States, General Lafayette, after declining to be transported in a ship of war, left Paris on the eleventh day of July 1824, for Havre, and took passage from that port on the American merchant ship Cadmus, Captain Allyn, on the thirteenth day of July, 1824, for New York. He was accompanied by his son, George Washington Lafayette; his secretary, M. August Levasseur; and his valet, Bastien. The ship arrived off quarantine in the harbor of New York on the fifteenth day of August, 1824, where General Lafayette was met by a delegation of prominent New Yorkers, and in due time escorted to the City of New York, amidst every demonstration of joy that a grateful people could bestow. On Friday morning, August 20, 1824, General Lafeyette started from the City Hall, accompanied by a large escort under the command of General Prosper M. Wetmore, for a tour of New England. On the General’s arrival at Byram Bridge, the state line between New York and Connecticut, at about four o’clock, he was met by a Connecticut Troop of Horse under the command of Major Higgins, and a salute was fired as soon as he entered the state. At the junction of Putnam Avenue and Field Point Road, he was met by a committee of representative Greenwich citizens, consisting of: Isaac Howe, Reverend Isaac Lewis, Alvan Mead, Ebenezer Mead, Jonas Mead, Peter Mead, Thomas A. Mead, Isabel Palmer, James Smith and John Jay Tracy, and others, who extended the hospitalities of the town, and a reception was tendered him at the residence of the late Colonel Thomas A. Mead, after which he proceeded to Put’s Hill. Here General Lafayette left his carriage and walked down the hill accompanied by the committee. The road at this point is cut through solid rock, rising about twenty feet perpendicularly on each side. Hundreds of ladies thronged the hill on one side and gentlemen on the other. As the General passed down the hill a salute was fired. From one side of the rock to the other, over the road, a rural arch was suspended, made of Hemlock branches and wild brier, and decorated with roses, the whole designed by the ladies of this town; pendent from the centre of the arch was a shield bearing the following inscription: This arch on the hill rendered memorable by the brave General Putnam, is erected in honor of the illustrious General Lafayette, the early and distinguished champion of American Liberty, and tried friend of Washington. The centre of the arch was surrounded by an old Revolutionary flag, battered and torn. It was the flag that was carried at the Battle of White Plains. The Rev. Mr. Lewis read the inscription to the General, told him the history of the flag, and pointed out to him the exact spot of the heroic exploit of the brave General Putnam. On parting, the patriotic person, who was a Revolutionary soldier also, said, “General, America loves you.” “And I, sir” said the General, “most truly love America.”

    1. Thank you for the detailed information. I have a feeling that many town minutes have information about the visit of Lafayette. I am not quite clear on the location of Put’s hill and where the salute was fired. In one of the Lafayette book’s I downloaded it was listed as being New York. There does seem to have been a ceremony at the bridge joining Sawpit and Byram. We have over two years to sort this all out for our re-enactment.

      Peter

  7. He was the Marquis de Lafayette, yet he preferred to be referred to as General Lafayette. Probably because he didn’t want to be associated with the royals in France after their revolution.

    I enjoy reading your posts. I wish there were more historians as interesting.

  8. Hey Peter,

    The entries for Lafayette’s tour look exactly like Julien’s data spreadsheet. As manager of the social media of the Lafayette Trail, I have it too! Is that where you compiled this information from? It seems to be a stunning resemblance!

    The Lafayette Trail is unveiling a new marker in Buffalo in 10 days.

    Please make sure to follow the Frenchmen:
    https://thelafayettetrail.org/

    Kat Smith
    Comte de Grasse Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution,
    Social Media Content Manager for The Lafayette Trail,
    ADEAW

    1. Hi Kat,

      The similarity is probably due it being Julien’s spreadsheet which was forwarded to me by someone who works with him. Glad to hear about a new marker to be unveiled.

      Peter

  9. We in upstate NY will be commemorating Lafayette’s sojourn in our area in 1825.
    Our sense of pride over his reported visit to the Stone-Tolan tavern
    in Brighton has recently been crushed by the very distinct possibility
    that he did not actually go to the tavern. New scholarship seems to
    indicate that he went by the house on a canal boat and did not stop
    in.

    I’d be interested in knowing if there are similar “sightings” in other
    NY communities that didn’t pan out as actual stops.

    Thank you for this information about the 2024 commemorations.

    Mary Jo Lanphear
    Town of Brighton Historian
    Monroe County

    1. Hi Mary Jo,

      The list I have does not include Brighton:

      1825 June 6 Albion NY Erie Canal
      1825 June 7 Rochester NY Colonel Hoard’s & Christopher’s Mansion House
      1825 June 7 Mendon NY The Hotel
      1825 June 7-8 Canandaigua NY

      However this list may not include every single place the canal boat stopped. Yes it is true that George Washington did not sleep everywhere and every Underground Railroad stop may not have been a stop.

      Peter

  10. I am so interested in your celebration of Lafayette’s visit.
    I have inherited a family “treasure” from his visit to Madison, Conn. My great,great,great grandfather,Curtis
    Wilcox Esq. (who fought in the american revolution) entertained Lafayette when he was in town. A decanter ” used on his table in 1824 where he entertained General Lafayette at his table when he was passing through town. A salute was fired in front of the house. Louise one of the daughters of Mr. Wilcox , who was afraid of the firing ran up to the attic
    and hid behind the chimney, holding her apron in front of her face. The jar of the explosion was so great it broke the glass in the attic windows and sent the pieces flying through Louises apron tearing it many places.” Note in the decanter written by the family.

    I noticed that Madison, Conn was not listed in your comments.

    Could you keep me informed as to the celebrations?

    1. Madison is not on the list that I have. That does not mean Lafayette was not there. In fact you my have evidence to show the list needs updating. I will relay your information to the people who provided me with the list. There is no national or even state celebration committee at this point that I know of. It is hard enough to organize for the American Revolution 250th. As a subscriber to the blog, you will be up-to-date on any Lafayette information that I receive. Thanks for writing and joining. Peter

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