Lafayette's Visit to Richmond in 1824: A REMINISCENCE by Catherine Ladd


Catherine Stratton Ladd

Lafayette's Visit to Richmond in 1824

 The Richmond Dispatch, Sunday, October 30, 1898:

"Lafayette's Visit to Richmond in 1824"


        "Buckhead, Fairfield county, S.C.

To the Editor of the Dispatch:


    "I was born in Richmond in 1808. I witnessed all that occurred during the time that the Marquis de Lafayette and suite were guests of the city in 1824. My maiden name was Catherine Stratton. I married George W. Ladd in September, 1828, and came immediately to South Carolina. My occupation has always been that of a teacher and writer. You will see by reference to the enclosed clipping from the Winnsboro News that Lafayette was holding my hand as he uttered the prediction about our republic. Seventy-four years have gone by, and I have lived to see that prediction fulfilled...for the United States is now the greatest republic on the globe, both in size and strength!

    I have a great desire to know if any person is yet living in Richmond who remembered this historic visit and the joyous greetings accorded to the distinguished visitor. I have been blind for nearly seven years, and, if God spares me to see the 28th instant, I shall be 90 years old. I have never lost interest in the city of my birth, and often find myself indulging in "glances of retrospection."

    Respectfully,                                                                                                                    Mrs. C. LADD.



"Seventy-four years ago I heard a prophecy or a prediction made by Marquis de Lafayette, when he visited Richmond, VA., in 1824. He had to land at Yorkville and I will not attempt to describe the splendid military display in sending to meet him, the splendid barouche and four magnificent horses glittering with silver. At the edge of town they formed the grand procession. First came the General and his suite, surrounded by the cavalry; next came the Richmond Blues Company and a brass band of twenty-three pieces; then the artillery, and then every prominent citizen joined in the procession. The main street of Richmond had a gradual rise, so that you could see plainly from Market street up as high as the Virginia Bank on one side and the penitentiary store on the other. This street led to the Capitol Square. Every door and window was crowded; nothing was heard but "Welcome, Lafayette! Welcome, Lafayette!" The General was soon landed at the Eagle Hotel. That night they had a magnificent ball at the Eagle in his honor, and fireworks on the Capitol Square such as I never saw before. Next day the Capital Square was crowded again, everybody wanted to shake hands with the General. The Union Sunday-school pupils (not many in number) were drawn up on one side; I was in the line standing about eighth from head, the General was announced, making some pleasant remark; as he shook hands with each one, he started, saying that we should never forget those who had fought and bled to give us such a republic--a republic that is destined to be one of the grandest in the world. He was holding my hand at the last expression--one of the grandest in the world.

    Seventy-four years of my life have passed, and I have lived to see the prediction fulfilled; for the United States now stands unrivaled in the world in size, strength, and power."

Buckhead, S. C.                                                          Mrs. C. LADD


Return to Catherine Stratton Ladd (1808-1899)

18 March 2002,  Brian Brown