This past Thursday in the early evening I attended a virtual writing event at which we the participants wrote in bursts of twenty minute increments with a brief break in between to check in on how we did. For me it was a chance to get back to my manuscript about the Rufus King family, which I had to put aside in mid-August to prepare for the academic year. I mention it because the book begins with a brief telling of the October 1881 centennial observation of the Siege of Yorktown. Cornwallis surrendered to Washington on October 19, 1781. In what seems a lifetime ago I wrote a little bit about this five years ago in August 2015, though from a different angle from which I will be focusing in the King book.

The reason I mentioned all this here is because John Alsop King, Jr., Rufus King’s grandson, was one of the leaders of the New York delegation. He was hardly unique: the grandsons of many of the leading figures of the Revolutionary War Era participated in the Yorktown observation, which proved hugely important in late nineteenth century diplomacy.

(image/Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center of the Boston Public Library)