Manie Joseph Paul Yves Rock Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette (known in America as Lafayette) was born on September 6, 1757 and died on May 20, 1834.
At his own expense he sailed to South Carolina, then traveled to Philadelphia offering his services to the Continental Congress as an officer in the Continental Army. Although he was only 19 years old, he had a military education and was married to the daughter of one of the wealthiest and most influential families in France. As he would serve without pay, his offer was accepted. Commissioned as a Major General he was assigned to aid General Washington. The two became such close friends that Lafayette named his son, born 1779, George Washington Lafayette.