Replica of the eighteenth century French frigate, Hermione now visiting ports on the East Coast of America, Wiki
The Hermione was a 12-pounder Concorde class frigate of the French Navy. She became famous when, on behalf of the French interest in their war with Great Britain she ferried General Lafayette to the United States in 1780 for the extension and spread of the war in the American Independence Movement (1777-1783). She grounded and was wrecked in 1793.
When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was The Book of Old Ships grandmother Edna Nichols gave my Dad when he was younger. I would sit for hours staring at the images of the ships from the triremes to the nineteenth century clipper ships.
Replica of a Greek Trireme, Wikipedia
Edna did what she could to pass on her family history, but like most family histories the story became a bit tangled over time. My mission and last great project has been to untangle a bit of the story….a huge project.
Dianne and Dad with his cigarette, circa 1992
One part of the family history that reached me via Dad was that we were descended from Lafayette. I asked him about the truth of it again when we were sitting together on his front porch the last time I spoke with him. “That’s what she told me,” he said, although I think he must have misremembered.
I have been able neither to confirm or to disprove this family story, but I did uncover Edna’s third great-grandfather’s (Nicholas Nichols) several military records. He served for the duration of the American Revolution according to his record from Valley Forge so he is likely to have at least seen Lafayette.
I avoid crowds, so I won’t be traveling to the port of Alexandria today to participate in the festivities surrounding the arrival of the Hermione, a replica of the ship that brought Lafayette to America in 1780. Hopefully it will hang around port for a day or two so we can see it Monday.