On this day, July 20th, in 1825, the Marquis de Lafayette visited Wyck House.
Marquis de Lafayette, or Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de La Fayette, was a Revolutionary War hero and French ally. Lafayette served closely under George Washington, who became like a father to the Frenchman. It was with the Marquis’ help that France became a close ally to a newly born America during our first war. Before the war was over, Lafayette returned to France, and with the help of Benjamin Franklin, secured the promise of 6,000 French soldiers to be sent to America, as well as the aid of General Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau. On his return to America, Lafayette was given command over an infantry. He led a decisive attack at the Battle of Yorktown, where America claimed victory of the Revolutionary War.
Marquis de Lafayette returned to France shortly after America’s victory, then became a hero in France during the French Revolution. In 1789 Lafayette wrote “A Declaration on the Rights of Man and Citizen”, France’s version of the Declaration of Independence. It was his work, as well as several other factors, that roused the French people into fighting against their monarch.
Lafayette returned to America to celebrate the nation’s 50th anniversary. Invited by President James Monroe, Lafayette arrived at New York on August 15, 1824. He was greeted by cheers and applause from thousands of Americans, and even as he moved from state to state, people lined the streets to wave to him.
On July 20th, 1825, Lafayette arrived in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Wanting to show his son, George Washington Lafayette, sites of the Revolutionary War, Lafayette visited both Cliveden and Wyck House; Cliveden had been taken by British soldiers, and Wyck served as a field hospital, caring for men on either side of battle. After breakfasting at Cliveden, Lafayette took a carriage ride to Wyck. A reception was thrown in his honor, and Reuben Haines and Jane Bowne Haines, the owners at the time, were delighted to be in his presence. In honor of his visit, a beautiful magenta rose was named the Lafayette rose, which still grow in our garden today.
Stories of Lafayette’s character and jovial nature have remained at Wyck, and we proudly showcase the chairs he sat on while visiting.