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.
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.
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.