This rough stone monument is located in a mid-Valley town with an illustrious Revolutionary War history — and the historical landmarks to prove it. Situated on a plot of land that was once the site of a Revolutionary War hospital, the marker commemorates General Marquis de Lafayette, the celebrated hero of the American Revolution.
Born in France, Lafayette was instrumental in gaining the allegiance of the French for the colonists’ cause; he was also an accomplished military leader, both in France and, eventually, in the colonies. His impact was so great that the U.S. Congress granted him honorary citizenship in 2002, making him one of only seven people to have earned this distinction.
Lafayette sailed to America in 1777. Little did he know he would soon fall victim, not to a British bayonet, but to a raging fever as he traveled to Boston. He had just reached a small Valley town not far from George Washington’s headquarters, which was home to a couple who were the general’s good friends (their name is on the monument). With the help of Washington’s personal physician, these friends cared for Lafayette, creating a strong friendship with the Frenchman. For six weeks in 1778, he fought a more personal battle, far from the front lines of the war, as pneumonia kept him from action. Upon his recovery, Lafayette aided the colonists on the battlefield, including their final victory at Yorktown in 1781.
The pillar, constructed in 1896, is one of many throughout the United States that pay homage to this esteemed war hero. It was presented to the Melzingah Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution as a historical landmark. Adjacent to the site is the large white house where Lafayette convalesced. Still a private residence of the same family, it is a reminder of the well-known forebears who opened their doors to the Revolution and its friends.
Can you identify the Valley town that this Revolutionary remembrance calls home? Send us your answer as a comment in the box below. The first reader with the correct response wins a prize. Good luck!