According to family tradition, Martha Kerby King wore this gown when she danced with Revolutionary War hero Lafayette in 1824. Martha Kerby married Miles King in 1782 in Elizabeth City, Virginia. Miles King had served in the Revolution and later became mayor of Norfolk, Virginia.
General Lafayette toured the United States in 1824 and visited each of the states. Many social events were held in his honor. This dress's style dates to a much earlier period, around the Revolutionary War or just afterwards. It is likely that many women wore dresses from the period of the Revolution to these social events as a way to honor Lafayette's contributions to the Revolution. In this case, the fabric is of a much earlier date, about 1727. It was probably made into a dress near that time and then remade during the Revolution when fabrics were difficult to obtain. Exhibited in the Hall of American Costume from 1964 to 1973 with a reproduction petticoat (shown here).