Tuesday, December 1, 2020

How often can an author mark history outside the pages of her book?


Wiggins Tavern, Hopkinton, New Hamphire
(Hopkinton Historical Society)

By the time I turned onto Main Street, I was so intent on reaching the doctor that I scarcely noticed the large crowd of people gathered underneath the enormous elm in front of the Wiggins Tavern.
—A Buss from Lafayette © 2016 by Dorothea Jensen

This is what I wrote in my historical novel for middle graders/young adults which was set during the 1824-5 Farewell Tour of Major General Lafayette, A Buss from Lafayette.

What was this crowd in my story waiting for? The arrival of Lafayette in Hopkinton Village. The date was June 27, 1825. 

This really happened. It was the inspiration for my writing this novel in the first place.

Now I have helped make it possible for a beautiful new marker to be installed commemorating this event. This will be done by The Lafayette Trail, Inc., a 501 (C) 3 organization dedicated to marking the route Lafayette took on his unique Farewell Tour. (I'm a member of its board. Donations are always welcome at TheLafayetteTrail.org.The signs are funded by the Pomeroy Foundation. 

Lafayette visited all 24 of the United States during the 13 months of his visit, and traveled over 6000 miles. He was mobbed like a rock star everywhere he went. For example, here's a picture of what happened when he went to Philadelphia.

Of course, our Hopkinton Village crowd was modest in size compared to this, but I'm certain the excitement at meeting a world famous hero of the American Revolution was comparable to that of the Philly mob.

There is an old marker in the village, but it has the wrong date on it.

The new one will look something like this:

                               Julien Icher                           Dorothea Jensen
                                              President & CEO                  Board Member/Secretary
                                              The Lafayette Trail, Inc.       The Lafayette Trail, Inc.

It will be quite an improvement, don't you agree?

I wonder what my A Buss from Lafayette character, Clara, would think!

(Oh, and by the way, after the Hopkinton Village reception, Lafayette went right by my very own house.)

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