American Statesman, Signer of the United States Constitution. Alexander Hamilton is remembered for being a strong patriotic voice at the birth of the United States of America. He called for thirteen states to become a strong united government with a much-needed new constitution. Representing the State of New York at the age of thirty years old, he was most instrumental in the formation and convening of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was born on Nevis, a small island in the Caribbean Sea that forms part of the inner arc of the Leeward Islands chain of the West Indies. His mother, Rachel Faucette, who was a divorcee, was the daughter of a British physician of French Huguenot ancestry. His father, James Hamilton, was an unsuccessful merchant of Scottish nobility, who in 1765 abandoned his two illegitimate sons with Rachel. As a child living on St. Croix, he was tutored but was mostly self-educated by reading many books. His mother died in 1768 forcing him to become a ward of her family, and having to support himself. After finding employment in the office of a merchant, he became capable of writing articles which were being published in the local newspaper. Recognizing that he wanted to have a college education, local merchants paid the expense of traveling to New York where he eventually entered King's College, which is now Columbia University in New York City. He soon became an activist for independence of the thirteen American colonies from Britain with his enthusiasm leading him to join the army serving at the rank of lieutenant as a chief military aide to General George Washington. Among his many distinguished contributions to the war effort was acting as commander of the troops during the Battle of Yorktown. After a new Constitution was written, he worked to have it accepted by speech-making and distributing pamphlets containing his articles. George Washington, as the first President of the United States, appointed a thirty-four-year-old Hamilton to the first nation’s cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury. During his tenure, he left behind a staggering legacy: He restored public credit in a nation bankrupted by war debt, devised the first tax, prepared the national budget and an accounting system, installed the Customs Service, and established the Coast Guard while conceiving the first central bank. After marrying Elizabeth Schuyler on December 14, 1780, he advanced in New York society while practicing law. Hamilton had opposed Aaron Burr when he was a candidate for the office of United States President and again when running for governor of New York. Hamilton verbalized publicly that Burr was not fit to occupy either office, and through his influence, Burr was defeated. Burr, who was Vice President of the United States under President Thomas Jefferson, challenged Hamilton to a duel for marring his reputation, and the challenge was accepted. It was the custom in this era to settle serious arguments with pistols at close range. They met at dawn the next morning across the Hudson River at Weehawken, New Jersey. Hamilton did not intend to shoot Burr but his opponent shot to kill and seriously wounded Hamilton. He was conveyed by boat back to Manhattan spending his final hours at a house on Jane Street where he received medical attention. At his request, he received communion by the rector from his family’s church, Trinity Church, and his death followed at the young age of 49. He predeceased his wife, Elizabeth and several young children, with the youngest being two years old. With bells tolling, a large procession followed the body from Jane Street to Trinity Church where his close friend Governor Morris, a leading figure at the Constitutional Convention and former minister to France, gave the emotional funeral oration. He was interred next to his oldest son, Philip, who was killed earlier in a duel at the same location and basically in disagreement over the same matter: politics. Burr was branded an assassin, fled south in anticipation of pending indictments, thus the Vice President became a fugitive from justice. At the site of the duel, Weehawken, New Jersey, is the actual rock on which Hamilton’s head rested after being shot. It is referred to as “the death rock”. The rock was moved in 1870 to a nearby lofty perch, and made into a base on which a sculptured head in bronze of Hamilton was affixed on July 12, 1935. To honor Hamilton for being the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, his 1805 portrait is on the front of the ten-dollar bill of United States currency. This is an honor as all other currency has the image of a United State President except Hamilton on the ten-dollar bill and Benjamin Franklin on the hundred-dollar bill. In 2004 historian Ron Chernow wrote a detailed biography, “Alexander Hamilton”. The book was adapted for a sung-through musical that debuted on Broadway by August of 2015 with sold-out shows for years.
Bio by: Linda Davis
TO THE MEMORY OF
THE CORPORATION OF TRINITY CHURCH HAS ERECTED THIS
IN TESTIMONY OF THEIR RESPECT
THE PATRIOT OF INCORRUPTIBLE INTEGRITY.
THE SOLDIER OF APPROVED VALOUR.
THE STATESMAN OF CONSUMMATE WISDOM;
WHOSE TALENTS AND VIRTUES WILL BE ADMIRED
LONG AFTER THIS MARBLE SHALL HAVE MOULDERED INTO DUST.
HE DIED JULY 12TH 1804. AGED 47.
Gravesite Details Assassination