The LaFayette Rock


Marquis de Lafayette

…placed on the Capitol Grounds by the Daughter’s of the American Revolution in 1925 to acknowledge General Marquis de La Fayette’s service during the Revolution, and to commemorate his visit to Montgomery 100 years earlier. According to family records and keepsakes, my wife’s gggg-GF came from France with the General and fought alongside him during our Revolution. Also my gg-grandfather’s brother, John Banks, led the detail which escorted LaFayette across Georgia and on into Alabama. See below for a timeline of La Fayette’s tour in Alabama.

-Charles Humphries

 

Lafayette’s 1825 tour of Alabama: a timeline

March 31, party enters Alabama from Georgia

Lafayette and his entourage entered Alabama in Creek territory. Near Fort Mitchell in Russell County, the party crossed the Chattahoochee River, where it was greeted by Creeks who entertained the men with games of stickball.

That night, Lafayette slept at a stagecoach inn run by Haynes Crabtree.

April 1, on the Federal Road

On April Fool’s Day 1825, Lafayette’s procession traveled the Old Federal Road toward Montgomery. Lafayette was transported in an elegant carriage, surrounded by cavalry troops and 100 Creek horsemen, Lewis said. While many of the man bunked at Kendall Lewis’s Tavern, Lafayette continued a few more miles to Warrior Stand, the homestead of Creek leader Big Warrior, who had recently died.

April 2, across Line Creek

The party crossed Line Creek and Lafayette spent the night at Lucas Tavern. The historic tavern was moved from its location to Old Alabama Town, where the room he slept in is displayed with period furniture. Read more about the educational and tourist site at OldAlabamaTown.com.

April 3, enter Montgomery

Lafayette’s party was greeted by a crowd of about 3,000 people when he entered Montgomery on April 3. The sounds of bugles, French horns and a band playing “Hail to the Chief” welcomes his arrival at Goat Hill, which would later become the site of Alabama’s capitol.

A Montgomery delegation, led by Col. Arthur Hayne, a veteran of the War of 1812, and Gov. Israel Pickens gave speeches.

April 4, Montgomery celebrations

On April 4, Lafayette was honored with a dinner followed by a ball at Freeny’s Tavern in Montgomery before members of the party went up the Alabama River on steamboats toward Selma.

April 5, Selma and Demopolis

The boats, the Balize and the Henderson, made a brief stop at Selma to greet citizens, then another in Cahaba, which was the state capital at the time but is now a ghost town and archaeological site. In Cahaba, the party was treated to a reception and barbecue dinner. Lafayette also met with some former French citizens and Bonapartists, who settled the Vine and Olive Colony near Demopolis in Marengo County. The colonists failed in efforts to produce wine and olives at the site.

Three miles from Selma, an oak tree was planted, a gift from Lafayette to William Rufus King, the only U.S. vice president from Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Archives and History. The tree was called the Prince Charley Oak.

April 6-7, Claiborne and on to Mobile

Lafayette stopped in Claiborne, a town of about 2,500 people at that time. A reception was held at the Monroe County courthouse and Lafayette attended a ceremony to lay the cornerstone for as new Masonic Hall. The building still stands although it was moved to the Perdue Hill community.

April 7, arrival in Mobile

A lavish banquet and ball were held in Lafayette’s honor at a hotel on Royal Street

April 8, party leaves for Louisiana

Lafayette’s party boarded the steamer The Natchez in Mobile Bay and met his Louisiana welcoming party, headed for New Orleans.

-Kelly Kazek (2015 AL.com) (http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/190_years_ago_alabamians_welco.html)

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