Did Young William Meet Lafayette?
G ENEBAL LAFAYETTE'S triumphal tour of this country brought him to Alabama in April 1825. The beloved Frenchman, revered by Americans only less than George Washington himself, had come to America in response to an invitation in the form of a resolution of Congress, arriving in August of the preceding year. Beginning with a reception, celebration, and ovation in New York City on August 17, 1824, he was received everywhere with greatest honors. Every locality of the country sought to be included in his itinerary, and there was anxiety all over the western and frontier areas that he might avoid some places because of travel or other difficulties. As it happened, such great exertions were made everywhere to lessen the rigors of travel between cities, to protect him, and to attend to his comforts that the sixty-eight-year-old traveler stood up very well wherever he went, although his long trip was by no means free of hardships and accidents.
Apparently no one exerted more effort to lure Lafayette into Alabama than its governor, Israel Pickens, who sent an escort to the banks of the Chattahoochee to meet him after he had traversed Georgia. Special barges were in readiness to take him on board, and a party of Creek Indians led by their personable chief, Chilly Mclntosh, added to the color of the gathered throng, which included distinguished citizens, some Alabama militia under General Taylor, and a contingent of the curious. For some reason, the Indians, usually apathetic toward paleface dignitaries, greatly revered this companion of George Washington, perhaps because he was a great warrior from across the ocean. And English-speaking Mclntosh could converse easily