She sails like a bird


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, cerca 1992

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.

20 thoughts on “She sails like a bird

  1. I had my DNA tested once. Turns out I am 1/2 Martian and 1/2 Earthling. I guess my mother wasn’t kidding about that alien abduction incident.


  2. I hope you will report back to us when you get your DNA tested! I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: your family history is so interesting! But it must be maddening to try to get to the bottom of what is truth and what is not. Best of luck to you on that!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahhh… I see that you and Mage have this interest in ships in common. I had Art do his DNA for fun even though he insisted it was a waste of time. And yes, it was a waste of time and money. They don’t have enough of a data base for the Asian countries so they just said he was 100% East Asian which covers a HUGE area.


    • From my reading, I have found that know one knows where the Japanese originated. The government demographer I met from Japan said the Koreans were cousins. Don’t know if that’s true, but he thought so.

      He also claimed that descendants of Japanese immigrants to the Americas were Japanese. Apparently, Japan was actively seeking return migrants from Brazil to Japan amoung the young, i.e., Nisei and Sansei.

      Japan is rapidly aging owing to low birth rates, and until recently had restrictions on who could migrate into Japan, but the need to rebuild the workforce was pushing them to recruit migrants.

      They also had severe restrictions on adoption of Japanese children. My cousin Kevin, who lives on the Big Island today, managed to adopt a little boy in Japan, however. Kevin worked over in Japan as a landscaper for a couple of years before he adopted the child, so he may have had connections of some kind. They moved to Hawii later, and the Japanese government let them leave.


  4. Of course go when the crowds are mostly gone. WE don’t do anything on weekends. Again, I so admire the work you are doing on your family history, you make it an interesting story and your kids and grands etc etc will appreciate it so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d love to see that ship. We thoroughly enjoyed visits to Mystic Seaport when our son lived in CT. The Seaport featured several replicas of wooden ships, and had one under construction for several years during our visits.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mystic is nice. If you can manage the trip, the Naval Museum at Grenwich in England is fabulous. They have a scale model of Nalson’s ship and Turner’s famous painting of the ‘Fighting Temeraire’ painted in 1839.


  6. So if you are a descendant of Lafayette, does that mean you have French blood? I think you mentioned that you have English and German ancestors, but did not know you also had French ancestors.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s