Marquis de LaFayette was a French soldier who fought for American independence and was a leader in the French Revolution. He actually thought of the American Revolution as a means to win military glory by fighting against England for France. He became a good friend to George Washington.
In 1777, he was appointed a young general in the American Army and was instrumental in the successful negotiations that eventually won American independence. His cooperation with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson greatly benefited America and France. LaFayette became a hero in two lands.
LaFayette inherited a fortune at age 13 when his mother and grandfather died, but he lost his fortune and social position because of his liberal beliefs. In appreciation for all he did as an American officer, a huge tract of land was awarded to him in Louisiana. Congress also voted to grant him $200,000 and a township in Florida. Since he had lost his French properties, he sold most of this American land and returned to France, becoming one of the most powerful leaders there from 1789-1791. His unwillingness to work with the corrupt governing powers led him to lose his popularity by 1791. Late in his life, he spent time in a cold, damp, rat infested prison. His wife and children requested that they be placed in the cell with him rather than be away from him.
He died in 1834, but he is remembered in America to this day. A portrait of George Washington and one of Lafayette hangs on the wall of the House of Representatives. Shown here is a U.S. Postal First Day Cover stamped in Fayetteville, North Carolina on September 6, 1957 commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Marquis de LaFayette.
According to Google, there are 400 places that have Fayette or Fayetteville in the United States. The largest and most well known is Fayetteville, North Carolina. It is certainly a coincidence that like our village of Fayetteville, New York, they also are in the process of building a new fire station.
Fayetteville resident Jean Edminster is a contributing writer to the Eagle Bulletin.