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James Lafayette's Geni Profile

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James Lafayette (Armistead)

Birthdate: (69)
Birthplace: Virginia, United States
Death: Died in New Kent, New Kent, Virginia, United States
Cause of death: cancer
Immediate Family:

Son of unk Armistead Armistead and slave girl Armistead
Husband of <private> unk
Father of <private> Armistead
Brother of unk

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About James Lafayette

James Armistead was a slave owned by William Armistead of Virginia. His date of birth is usually given as 1760, but may have been 1748. During the American Revolutionary War, James received permission from his master to enlist under General Marquis Lafayette. Armistead may have received money for the use of James.

James posed as an escaped slave looking for work and was hired at British General Cornwallis' camp. He gained the trust of Cornwallis and Benedict Arnold, and was used as a spy. Little did they know James was a double agent, supplying the Americans with information. Information James provided Lafayette was crucial in the defeat of the British at the Battle of Yorktown, the decisive battle which ended the Revolutionary War.

After the war, James returned to his master and life as a slave. When Lafayette learned James was still a slave, he helped petition for James' freedom. In gratitude, James adopted the name Lafayette and used it the rest of his life.

More details of the story of James Armistead Lafayette can be found in the project overview which bears his name.

This William Armistead may have been James' master- or at the very least, was part of the same Armistead family of Virginia: William Armistead of "Hesse"

His pension was $40 per year. In the 1810 census. SW

I found a reference to him in: Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, 1775-1783. Ed. by John H. Gwathmey. Richmond, VA. 1938(13, 872p.): 453. It says: James Lafayette Birth Date: 174? Volume: 99 Page number: 41 SW

Virginius Bray Thornton, III was one of the recipients of the 1995 Human and Civil Rights Awards given by the Massachusetts Teachers Association at a dinner on May 18, 1995. some possible connection of Lucy Armistead. SW

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James Lafayette's Timeline

December 10, 1760
Virginia, United States
August 9, 1830
Age 69
New Kent, New Kent, Virginia, United States