Alexander Hamilton
Burial Location Visited Constitution Signer Grave #
New York, New York August 14, 2004 2nd Visited


Alexander Hamilton's death at the hands of                                              The New Yorker was a member of the
Vice President Aaron Burr in 1804 was soon                                             original presidential cabinet, serving as the
followed by his interment in the Trinity                                                       first secretary of the Treasury. A statue of
Churchyard.                                                                                                            him is located in the U.S. Capitol rotunda.


On our first trip to Trinity Church, I was                                                     Hamilton was a key Founding Father and is
caught off-guard when we discovered that                                                considered by many to be one of the most
the cemetery gate was locked for the day.                                                intelligent men in the history of the USA.

*** Interesting Facts ***

* One of America's most important Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton, was not born in the land to which he would dedicate his life to serving. Rather, he was born in Nevis, an island that was part of the British West Indies. His upbringing was a rough one, as his father left the family early in his life, and his mother passed away in 1768. He had been born out of wedlock, which led to his rejection from the Church of England and additionally took away his opportunity to be educated at the local church. Instead, Hamilton learned via tutoring. He was also instructed at a Jewish school on the island, a fact that is not surprising being that a quarter of Nevis' white population at the time was Jewish. After Hamilton's mother passed, he and his brother were placed in the care of their cousin, Peter Lytton. After Lytton's suicide in 1769, the pair were split up. Hamilton's brother, James, was sent to be a carpenter's apprentice. Meanwhile, Alexander went to live with a respected merchant named Thomas Stevens and was working as a clerk for Beekman and Cruger, who were also merchants. In August of 1772, a deadly hurricane passed through the Caribbean, inspiring young Hamilton to write a letter to his father in an attempt to describe the horror (though James Hamilton had abandoned his family, he evidently remained in contact with his son, Alexander). The text of the letter was so impressive that those who saw it suggested it be published in the Royal Danish-American Gazette. A group of local businessmen were so struck by the letter that they set up a fund to send the youth to the colonies to receive a better education. He set sail in October of 1772.

* Once in the colonies, young Hamilton found his way to an academy in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, which he attended ever so briefly. He than began to apply to several colleges, with the request that he be able to progress "with as much rapidity as his exertions would enable him to do." John Witherspoon, a future signatory of the Declaration of Independence, and the trustees at the College of New Jersey (Princeton University) rejected Hamilton's application. He was accepted to King's College, which has since changed its name to Colombia University. It was at this time that the relationship between the colonies and their mother country became increasingly tense. In response to a pamphlet that favored the Loyalist cause, Hamilton published two works, A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress and The Farmer Refuted. When the American Revolution commenced in 1775, Hamilton became a member of a volunteer militia in New York. Fervently studying various military strategies, he quickly was promoted to lieutenant. With help from some connections, Hamilton later established the New York Provincial Company of Artillery, of which he was made captain. In 1777, Hamilton, who had participated in the Battle of Trenton and of Princeton, was personally invited by General George Washington to join his staff. Hamilton accepted, and was appointed lieutenant colonel. He served as the general's aide-de-camp for four years, eventually resigning in order to take a combat position. He would fight gallantly at the Battle of Yorktown.

* After the war ended, Hamilton left the military and was elected to the Congress of the Confederation. In the years that followed, he would pass the bar and serve in the New York State Legislature. He also established the Bank of New York, participated in the Annapolis Convention, and called for the revision of the Articles of Confederation. Instead, at the Constitutional Convention, the Articles were scrapped and the U.S. Constitution was formed. Hamilton was the only delegate from New York to attach his signature to the document. In 1789, George Washington, then president, made Hamilton the very first secretary of the Treasury. As head of the Department of the Treasury and one of Washington's closest advisors, Hamilton greatly influenced the United States in its early days. He established the First Bank of the United States, the U.S. Mint, and is considered one of the most intelligent people in American history. All the same, he often came into conflict with those around him. He was frequently at odds with other politicians such as John Adams, Aaron Burr, and Virginians Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Jefferson, who was also in President Washington's cabinet, disagreed with Hamilton's financial plans, as well as his dreams for a centralized government and a standing army. In fact, the two butted heads so much that, at the entrance way of his beloved Monticello, Jefferson placed busts of he and Hamilton facing each other on opposite sides of the doorway. That way, even after their deaths, the two rivals would be facing one another.

* Early in the 1790's, Hamilton started an affair with a twenty-three-year-old woman named Maria Reynolds. Unfortunately for the Federalist, it did not take long for Reynolds' husband, James, to uncover what was going on between the two. While it was customary to challenge an adulterer to a duel, Reynolds' husband instead chose to blackmail Hamilton, knowing that the politician could only comply if he wanted his reputation to remain intact. Several years later, James Reynolds was arrested on implication that he was a con man. Upon his arrest, he claimed that he had information that could ruin Hamilton's political career. Politician James Monroe and others made a trip to Hamilton's home where they asked him questions to see if he had misused his government powers. Hamilton said that he had done nothing of the sort, but he did admit to the affair. The men vowed to dismiss the rumors of a political scandal and to keep the affair a secret. Yet Monroe did alert his friend Thomas Jefferson of the affair. As Hamilton's sworn rival, Jefferson began spreading rumors of the affair until Hamilton finally admitted it to the public in 1797. He blamed James Monroe for the catastrophe, and went as far as to challenge him to a duel, but it fell through. His reputation never recovered.

* In 1804, Hamilton discovered that his rival, Aaron Burr, was running for the governor of New York.
Shortly after, Hamilton submitted some letters to a newspaper that contained some derogatory comments about Burr. The letters were brought to the vice president's attention and he challenged Hamilton to a duel. On the day of July 11th, Hamilton and Burr traveled to the outskirts of a New Jersey town called Weehawken, which was a popular dueling site at the time. After the men walked their paces, Hamilton pulled his pistol's trigger, purposely shooting above his opponent's head. This was the honorable way out of a duel, and Hamilton believed that Burr would do the same thing. However, around three seconds after Hamilton fired, Burr took aim and shot his rival, striking him in the torso. The bullet fractured one of Hamilton's ribs before it passed through his liver and lodged in his spinal column. After Burr and his second fled it became apparent that Hamilton was paralyzed. The dying man was taken aboard a ferry, which brought him back to New York. He passed away the following day. Aaron Burr was never tried for his murder.

Spouse: Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton (1780-1804)

Political Party: Federalist Party

Last Words: "Remember, my Eliza, you are a Christian."

* It is not exactly known in which year Hamilton was born. Some historians maintain that he was born in 1755, while others believe that he was born in 1757. It has been concluded that either Hamilton changed the year of his birth to appear older or even he was not sure when he was born. What is certain is that Rachel Faucett Lavien gave birth to her son, Alexander Hamilton, on January 11th in either 1755 or 1757 on the island of Nevis.
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