Join the Little Falls Historical Society for the Lafayette Marker Unveiling on Wednesday, May 17, at 2pm and Patriots Day on Saturday, May 20, at 11am

Official unveiling of the Lafayette marker by the canal and Patriots Day will be held at the historic Yellow Church Cemetery

Project lead, Daughers of the American Revolution Vice President General, Patrice Bernier will be in attendance. Julien Icher of “follow the Frenchman” program will also be there, as well as City Historian Patricia Stock.

Members of Little Falls Historical Society and area DAR chapters have been invited. LaFayette came through the city and stopped at Little Falls on the canal during his 1825 tour.

On June 11, 1825, General Lafayette stopped in Little Falls on his way east along the Erie Canal. The June 14, 1825 edition of the Albany Argus mentions the event:

“At the Little Falls the citizens were assembled in the evening to receive him, the Aqueduct was illuminated, and beacons were burning on the summits of the high surrounding precipices. From that place to Schenectady, during all the following day, the borders of the canal were alive with citizens, and at every lock he received their congratulations on the deck of the boat.” – The Pomeroy Foundation

Who was Lafayette?

Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de La Fayette, Marquis de La Fayette was born on September 6, 1757 to an aristocratic family with a long and deep military history. At only 14 years old, Lafayette became a commissioned officer in the Black Musketeers serving King Louis of France. Only four years later at 19, he heard that French officers were being sent to America to help the rebels in their cause. Lafayette wanted to join this cause for American Liberty but was refused by Louis XVI. Using his own money, 112,000 pounds at the time, he  purchased a sailing ship, the Victoire, and departed for America. After his arrival, he found that the Continental Congress was overwhelmed by French Offiers and was turned away. In 1777, Lafayette met George Washington and the two of them “bonded almost immediately.” Lafayette fought in many missions and battles, including the pivotal battle of Yorktown, with him eventually achieving the rank of Major General.

New York State historic marker nearby Yellow Church Cemetery.

New York State historic marker nearby Yellow Church Cemetery.

Saturday’s Patriots Day is an annual event with this year’s observance being held at the historic Yellow Church Cemetery

The Little Falls Historical Society has partnered with the Yellow Church Cemetery Association to host this year’s Patriots Day observance at their historic site beginning at 11:00 AM on Saturday May 20. The rain date is Sunday May 21 at the same time. The event is free and open to the public.

This program will feature a number of short addresses on various local history topics and the laying of a Daughters of the American Revolution wreath. The playing of TAPS will conclude the approximately hour-long event. This will be the eleventh local Patriots Day observance.

As many as fifty Revolutionary War veterans are buried in Yellow Church Cemetery, many having fought at the pivotal August 6, 1777 Battle of Oriskany which was crucial to the eventual defeat of British forces at the Battle of Saratoga later that fall.

These two events, commemorating service to the American cause in the earliest years of our nations history, underscore the historical significance of the Mohawk Valley.