Marquis de Lafayette Visited 250 Years Ago

In March of 1825, the citizens of Fayetteville, North Carolina, were honored by a two-day visit from the famous French proponent of liberty and hero of the American Revolutionary War, the Marquis de Lafayette. 

In 1824, as America was preparing to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, President James Monroe invited Lafayette to return as the “Guest of the Nation.” He was welcomed in cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia by huge crowds, eager to see one of the last surviving heroes of the American Revolution. He also visited many smaller cities and towns on his tour of all 24 states.

Many years before his Grand Tour, Lafayette had been given an engraving of the State House in Fayetteville, North Carolina, by a friend who had just returned from America. Touched by his friend’s story of the very first town in America to be named after him, Lafayette decided to include Fayetteville on his tour. Although there were numerous cities and towns at that time that were named Fayetteville or Lafayette or Fayette, this was the only one of those that he visited. The citizens returned the honor with several banquets and receptions and elaborate military reviews. Especially memorable was his reunion with one of his bodyguards from Yorktown, Isham Blake.