Library to welcome ‘Lafayette’

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — Bossard Memorial Library will feature the Marquis de Lafayette as a historical personality Sunday at 2 p.m. with David Best as a living historical scholar.

In similar fashion to the Ohio Chautauqua presentations, Best will present as if he were Lafayette speaking with the audience in life. Lafayette was particularly known for his service in the American Revolution as a military oficer and French aristocrat. He was a close friend with founding fathers Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and George Washington. He was also a leader in the French Revolution.

According to information provided by the library, Best will tell of Lafayette’s early years in the Chateau de Chavaniac in France’s province of Auvergne. Lafayette’s father died when he was two and his mother died when he was 12. Knighthood and the values of chivalry were instilled in Lafayette by his grandmother. Lafayette would join the Freemasons at the age of 17 and would attribute much of his love for the people’s right to govern themselves to the organization.

In further information provided by Best, Lafayette would first come to the states as a rebellious young man in defiance of his king. He was commissioned as a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Lafayette would laud Washington’s “bush fighting” techniques as being instrumental in defeating the British.

Lafayette would visit Gallipolis Our House Tavern in its time as a business. The famed Frenchman would leave a coat at the tavern that is still kept as a relic of his visit to this day and his visit is often commemorated by the Our House museum along with much of the rest of Gallipolis’ history.

“The library celebrates the region’s history and hopes everyone will come out to enjoy some educational entertainment,” said Library Director Debbie Saunders. “We’ve allowed the Our House museum to display documents on loan from the library in the past and we think Lafayette’s connection with the area will be of great interest to our patrons.”

Best is a Harvard graduate and associate professor emeritus of Indiana University and Purdue University at Indianapolis. While also being a Lafayette reenactor, he also does performances as Washington and Jefferson.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright