|'Lafayette Visited Mobile' historical marker.|
This week’s featured historical marker is the “Le MARQUIS de LAFAYETTE VISITED MOBILE” marker in Mobile County, Ala. This marker is located on the southwest corner of Government Street and South Jackson Street in Mobile, Ala.
This marker was erected by the Historic Mobile Preservation Society in 1975. There’s text on both sides of the marker, but both sides are the same. What follows in the complete text from the marker:
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“Le MARQUIS de LAFAYETTE VISITED MOBILE: On this site stood the home of Mayor Samuel H. Garrow, where the Marquis de Lafayette was entertained on his visit to Mobile April 7, 1825. Lafayette, French officer, statesman and hero of the American Revolution, visited the United States as ‘Guest of the Nation’ in 1824-1825. Mobile gave an enthusiastic welcome to the distinguished general.”
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Lafayette’s tour of the U.S. lasted from July 1824 through September 1825 and was a huge deal at the time. As many of you know, Lafayette became famous during the American Revolution as he helped the young nation in its war with England. Lafayette, who was close friend with George Washington and other famous founding fathers, visited all 24 of the United States during his 1820s tour.
In the days before Mobile had a mayor, Samuel H. Garrow was the last of what was called the President of Mobile, an office he served in between 1818 and 1819. Years later, he went on to serve as the fifth mayor of Mobile from 1824 to 1827 and again later from 1829 to 1831.
On April 8, 1825, the day after he was entertained by Garrow, Lafayette was accompanied by Alabama Governor Pickens by steamboat down Mobile Bay to Mobile Point, where he joined an official welcoming party from Louisiana. He boarded the original steamer Natchez (built in 1823) which took him to New Orleans to continue his tour of America.
On April 11, 1825, Lafayette arrived in Chalmette, La, which was the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans. Remaining in New Orleans for several days of festivities, he lodged in the The Cabildo, the site of the Louisiana Purchase transfer ceremonies in 1803. On April 15, 1825, Lafayette departed New Orleans on the steamer Natchez up the Mississippi River towards Baton Rouge.
On April 16, 1825, after stopping briefly at Duncan's Point, eight miles below Baton Rouge, the Marquis de Lafayette was received in Baton Rouge for a reception and banquet, leaving just before nightfall. On April 29–30, 1825, Lafayette visited St. Louis, Missouri and on May 4, 1825, Lafayette arrived in Nashville, Tennessee.
A little over one month after leaving Mobile, on May 8–9, 1825, the steamboat “Mechanic,” which was conveying the Marquis de Lafayette and party to Louisville, sank on the Ohio River. All passengers reached shore safely, but Lafayette lost property and money. The party was picked up the following day by the passing steamboat “Paragon.”
In the end, visit this site next Wednesday to learn about another historical marker. I’m also taking suggestions from the reading audience, so if you know of an interesting historical marker that you’d like me to feature, let me know in the comments section below.