This week’s #MarkerMonday focuses on the Old Eagle Tavern historical marker in Hancock County. The site of the former Eagle Tavern has seen many hotels since its opening in the late 18th century. In the late 1830s the Eagle Tavern burned down and was replaced with the present structure in 1840 but named Edwards’ House. Edwards’ House operated until 1897 when it was renamed Drummer’s Home. It was later renamed again to the Lafayette Hotel after the Marquis de Lafayette, connecting the new building to the history of the Old Eagle Tavern.
As a stop on the Augusta to Macon stagecoach line, the Eagle Tavern saw many guests during its operation. As the historical marker mentions, one of the most notable guests was Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette. Lafayette was a French military officer who served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, commanded American troops as a Major-General, and secured resources from France. He returned to France after the war but was invited back to tour the United States of America in 1824. Although he was not originally planning to visit the southern states, Lafayette accepted an additional invitation to visit Georgia from Governor George Troup. The trip was organized to end in Boston in time for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1825.
Lafayette arrived in Georgia through the Port of Savannah on March 19, 1825, and began his thirteen-day tour through the state. From Savannah he traveled up the Savannah River to Augusta before heading west to Macon and Milledgeville by stagecoach. As mentioned in the Old Stagecoach Road Marker Monday post, the stagecoach roads in Georgia were known to be jarring, so the 67-year-old made multiple stops along his journey. Lafayette was met with admirers and parties at every stop.
Explore the links below to learn more:
Related Marker Text — General Lafayette
Related Marker Text — LaFayette Visits Augusta
New Georgia Encyclopedia— Marquis de Lafayette in Georgia
GHS houses several collections related to Marquis de Lafayette.
The Georgia Historical Quarterly has published an article relating to Marquis de Lafayette which can be accessed on JSTOR. If your library does not have access to JSTOR, you can go to www.jstor.org and create a free MyJSTOR Account.