New Hampshire celebrates Marquis De Lafayette Day

A Lafayette trail marker outside the State House in Concord. (Courtesy Mrinali Dhembla)

Lafayette trail market outside the State House in Concord. (Courtesy Mrinali Dhembla)

A Lafayette trail marker outside the State House in Concord. (Courtesy Mrinali Dhembla)

By Mrinali Dhembla

May 21, 2024

Both American and French flags adorned the lawn in front of the State House in Concord, as more than 100 people and officials from New Hampshire and the French Consulate in Boston gathered to commemorate the 199th anniversary of Marquis De Lafayette’s visit to the state.

“He came to America in 1824-25. He came to New Hampshire twice,” said Dorothea Jensen, a New Hampshire resident and award-winning author who has documented the French nobleman’s role in the American Revolution in her book, Liberty Loving Lafayette.

Lafayette, a much-loved revolutionary war hero who fought in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, toured the country in 1824-25 and made stops in Concord, Portsmouth, and Dover on the way.

He made his first stop in Portsmouth in September 1824. May 20—his death anniversary—was proclaimed as Lafayette Day in New Hampshire in 1955.

“Lafayette was here in Concord from June 22 to June 23 1825 [on his second visit], and then again on June 27, when he bid farewell to New Hampshire public officials,” said Alan Hoffman, President of the American Friends of Lafayette, a historical society dedicated to the memory of Lafayette.

A banquet of 700-800 officials was held in the State House lawn in 1825 in honor of Lafayette’s contributions in the war, Hoffman said. It was during this reception that New Hampshire’s nickname “Granite State” was first publicly used when those in attendance sang a composition by Philip Carrigain that referred to New Hampshire with its moniker.

Tuesday’s event was marked with cannon-firing, a reenactment march by New Hampshire Sons of the American Revolution, a three-gun salute, and speeches by dignitaries such as New Hampshire Gov. Sununu, French Consul Mustafa SOYKURT, and other representatives.

“Everywhere he went, people just came out,” Jensen said, adding that an estimated 3 million people came to the streets to welcome Lafayette on his visit to America. “One of the reasons was because he had been a very close friend of George Washington, and Washington had died almost 25 years prior to his visit [in 1799].”

Author

  • Mrinali Dhembla

    Based in Manchester, Mrinali Dhembla is Granite Post's multimedia reporter. She's previously worked as deputy editor at The Keene Sentinel, and has experience writing for many national and international publications. When not doing journalism, she likes to cook food (and eat it).

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