Sunday, August 24, 2008

Colonial Williamsburg on Tuesday-Meeting the Marquis de Lafayette

After a great day 1, we couldn't wait for our next adventures at Colonial Williamsburg!  Before Revolutionary City began, we got to meet George Washington behind the Coffee Shop. This time the era is the spring of 1774.  He tells us about the Boston Tea Party, with which he disagreed.  He didn't think the men should have destroyed the tea, however he thought it was wrong of the British Crown to punish the women and children along with the men.  Because their Boston neighbors were starving due to the closure of the port, and because of the new tax, the citizens of Virginia were protesting.  This set the tone for the events we would see in Revolutionary City that day, called "Collapse of Royal Government".    

Colonel George Washington

Afterwards we went to the Capitol to get a good spot for the beginning of Revolutionary City.  All the actor interpreters stand around to "control" the crowds, while engaging with each other and the crowds about the current events.  My dh found Patrick Henry and told him that our son had memorized his "Give Me Liberty or Death" speech and recited it with great fervor at our last history presentation.  Patrick Henry came over to meet my son!

Meeting Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry was quite impressed that someone was following in his footsteps. After chatting with my son, Patrick Henry predicted that forceful exclamations would more than likely proceed from his mouth later.  ;)

Patrick Henry

To our surprise, a herald swiftly rode up and loudly proclaimed the arrival of Lord Dunmore, Royal Governor of Williamsburg. (The timeframe is now May 26, 1774.) Once again none of us were ready to get his here he is waiting for the Governor's arrival.

The Herald

Soon the angry governor made his appearance.

The Royal Governor Arrives

The House of Burgesses was waiting for him outside.

House of Burgesses

 The governor was angry that the House of Burgesses was protesting the closing of Boston Harbor and the British Parliament's new tax on tea.  While the governor expressed his outrage for the lack of support, we booed!

Looking On

After the governor left, the House of Burgesses discussed their reaction.  Of course Patrick Henry had a few things to say!

Patrick Henry and Mr. Randolph

Lines were drawn and while many in the House of Burgesses decided to protest the tax on tea, John Randolph, Virginia's attorney general, decided to remain loyalist.  His wife and daughter followed him.  His brother, Peyton Randolph, speaker of the House of Burgesses, became a patriot and chaired the First Continental Congress.  John Randolph's son, Edmund, was a patriot and later became aide-de-camp to General Washington. 

The Randolph Family

 From here we went to Raleigh Tavern.  The time is now April 29, 1775.  Governor Dunmore has further enraged the citizens of Williamsburg by having the gunpowder removed from the magazine. 

Raleigh Tavern

As Peyton Randolph prepares to leave for the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Mann Paige hurriedly arrives on horseback with news of the battles of Lexington and Concord.  The people want to gather arms to go to war.  I tried looking this up but couldn't find anything.  But as I recall, Mann Page is told to ride to Fredericksburg (100 miles) to tell the men not to bear arms.  In frustration, Mann Page gallops away on his horse.

Mann Page

Later my dd and I had to hurriedly run out of the way.  A loyalist was about to be tarred and feathered! The timeframe was September 3, 1775.

Tar and Feathers

The loyalist finally promised that he would renounce his ways and he was spared the humiliation.

Nope, No Tar and Feathers

Fife and Drum Corps
 Then we followed the drum and fife corps to the capitol. 

Now it was May 15, 1776. Here we met with patriot statesmen of Virginia who explain that they have unanimously approved a resolution to break ties with England.  The delegates to the Constitutional Convention have been instructed to introduce a motion for independence.    Edmund Randolph is on the left and Patrick Henry is in the middle.

Virginia Declaration of Rights

 The British Union Jack was taken down from the top of the Capitol, and a new flag of independence was raised!

Cannons boomed in celebration!


Wow, once again, I was fired up!  Huzzah!

That afternoon we went to the Kimball Theater to meet with the Marquis de Lafayette.

Marquis de Lafayette

General Lafayette Meets my Son
I was so excited to meet him!  When we were here and at Mount Vernon 4 years ago, I kept hearing about the Marquis.  Last spring we studied about him and he's a fascinating guy.  Seeing him "in person" with a French accent was incredible!  After he gave a wonderful narrative of how he ended up in America and what he had been doing here, he answered questions from the audience.  One lady asked why Britian and France had always been at war with each other.  Well, I had some ideas from our history studies, like the Norman Conquest of 1066, so I was surprised when Lafayette simply said they were like brothers. Sometimes they get along, sometimes they don't.  I had never thought of it that way but I made a mental note to discuss 1066 with the kids after the program. Right at that time my son had his hand in the air and Lafayette chose him. My son asked if the tensions between Britian and France during the American Revolution and the French and Indian War went back to the Hundred Years' War. My husband and I looked at each other and laughed and wondered how Lafayette was going to handle this. Lafayette was already impressing me by proving himself a great actor, but historian? I know Colonial Williamsburg trains everyone in 18th century. I had a feeling this might be a bit out of Lafayette's range historically, but theatrically this could be fun. Indeed, the look on the Marquis' face was priceless!  He was delightfully shocked!  He got a big smile on his face and said, "Ah, monsieur...we have a historian in the audience!" Then he went into a five minute dissertation on the Hundred Years' War, Joan of Arc, and the Battles of Crecy and Poiters!  I was delighted that this actor knew far more than I did! What a historian! I was impressed!  Afterwards we went up to meet him.  When the Marquis saw my son he asked, "Ah here's the young historian.  Who taught you about the Hundred Years' War?"  "My mother."  The marquis once again got a surprised look on his face, like one of delight and smiled and said, "Well, always listen to your mother. She is a highly intelligent woman! "  =) Even though we had studied the Hundred Years' War last winter,  I had been reading aloud St. George for England: A Tale of Cressy and Poiters  by GA Henty.  We only had two chapters left to read about the Hundred Years' War when we left for our vacation. 

They posed for my dh to take a picture.  All the ladies who were around (some were teachers) loved the pose and oohed and ahhed.  They asked them to stay put so they could take pictures too!  

French American Alliance

Meeting the Marquis was the highlight of the vacation for all of us!  And I must say, I am quite impressed with his knowledge of the Hundred Years' War!  ;)

Afterwards we walked around town and saw more sights.  We took a closer look at the architectural digs at the Coffee House. 

Future Coffeehouse

They will begin rebuilding and the Coffee House should be open for business in 1 1/2 years.  Since I don't like coffee, I am glad they will be selling tea and chocolate.  

Coffee House Archaeological Dig

We didn't get pictures of everything but we visited some of the colonial shops and got some colonial chocolate for a snack.  They often grated the chocolate on a nutmeg grater, so the chocolate would pick up flavors from other spices.  So this was a spiced chocolate that we were eating.  Different but tasty! 

We watched the silversmith work.  His talk was highly entertaining and interesting.  We visited the printer/binder.  We went to the cabinet maker shop.  Inside is a real harpsichord!  We had fun playing on that! At the end of the day, the drum and fife corps played through town.  Can't get enough of them!

Fife and Drum Corps

That evening we got sandwiches from the infamous Cheese Shop. I tasted my first Virginia Ham and it is very salty, but absolutely delicious!  A little goes a long way!

Finally we attended a harp recital at Bruton Parish Church.  Many famous patriots attended this church.  The church continues to be a working church today. The only lighting is by candlelight.  What a soothing ending to an incredible day.



  1. Enjoyed your Williamsburg post and pictures!


    TOG Mom

  2. I've loved looking at these pics! It makes me want to book our trip for next year!