ALBION, NY — On Wednesday, April 14, two students from Carl I. Bergerson Middle School presented during a dedication ceremony for a historical marker memorializing the journey of Marquis de Lafayette through the United States.
As part of a Service Learning project in Tim Archer’s class, students learned about Lafayette’s accomplishments as a general and hero in the American Revolutionary War as well as his Farewell Tour several decades later, when Lafayette passed through Albion, N.Y. on the Erie Canal.
Lafayette was a close ally and friend of Gen. George Washington during the war, coming from France as a young nineteen-year-old to help fight for freedom and democracy. He would later return to France to be a key player in the French Revolution. Subsequently, he became a hero in both the U.S. and France.
According to Archer, his students started this project last spring.
“During the pandemic, I was talking to them [my students] about it a little bit and it kind of kicked off in the summer,” Archer explained.
When students returned in the fall, one of the most challenging parts was finding primary source documentation proving Lafayette had actually taken the packet boat through Albion.
“For the National Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the Pomeroy Foundation, you need to have primary source documentation from 1825 to prove he [Lafayette] was here,” Archer explained.
The historical marker is the eleventh Pomeroy marker, that the New York DAR has helped place, documenting the general’s farewell tour. Archer is very grateful to the Orleans DAR for their support of Albion programs.
This project is just one of many that students in Archer’s Service-Learning class have been able to complete over the years, dedicating their time to learning about and preserving Albion’s history.
The Service-Learning program at Albion is a unique class where students apply their academic knowledge and critical thinking skills to address community needs through volunteerism.
The class would like to thank the following for their help throughout this project:
- Catherine Cooper - Orleans County Historian
- Doug Farley - Erie Canal Discovery Center Curator
- Patrice Birner - Regent of the Orleans Chapter of the DAR
- The Village of Albion
- Matt Ballard - former Orleans County Historian
- Julien Ichen - Lafayette Trail
- Pomeroy Foundation
For more information on past projects that students have completed including, but not limited to, restoring other local historical markers, installing and dedicating the Almshouse Cemetery Panel, and creating an interpretive panel highlighting the Erie Canal’s 200th anniversary, click here.