Alexander Hamilton (1755 – 1804) is well known in the history of the United States to be one of the founding fathers of the nation. He was a trusted member of the cabinet of the first president of the United States, George Washington, and in that capacity, he wielded great influence in different aspects of the newly formed federation.
A politician and a man of means, Hamilton founded the Federalist Party, the Bank of New York, as well as the New York Post newspaper. Also an erudite writer and a lawyer, he was a prominent promoter and interpreter of the then newly enacted United States Constitution. He was also the major author of the US economic policies during the administration of George Washington.
Hamilton served as the first Secretary of the US Department of Treasury and is credited to have founded the financial system of the country. He championed the establishment of the First Bank of the United States in 1791 as well as the creation of the United States Mint.
Who Were Alexander Hamilton’s Wife and Children?
Alexander Hamilton was married for 23 years to Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton. He met her in early 1980 while he was stationed in Morristown, New Jersey, as a military officer. Elizabeth Schuyler was born in Albany, New York but had visited her aunt in Morristown. Their relationship blossomed very quickly and they got married on December 14, 1780. The ceremony was held at the Schuyler Mansion, the residence of the bride’s father located in Albany, New York.
Hamilton and his wife had eight children together, six sons and two daughters. Though she was mainly a homemaker, Elizabeth Hamilton also made crucial contributions to her husband’s career in public service. She assisted him in several of his well-known writings and after his death, she worked hard to get his biography published. In 1906, she co-founded the New York Orphan Asylum Society alongside several other prominent women.
Alexander Hamilton’s first son Philip (1782 – 1801) was much similar to his famous father. He graduated from Columbia College in 1800 and went on to study Law. Sadly, he died at the age of 19 in a manner oddly similar to the death of his father.
Hamilton’s first daughter Angelica was born in 1784. She was said to be very much interested in music while growing up. However, the tragic death of her older brother Philip in 1801 caused her a mental breakdown from which she never fully recovered. It’s on record that she died in 1857 at the age of 72.
His third child and second son was Alexander Hamilton Jr. (1786 – 1875). Just like his father, he studied law and was admitted to practice. He later served briefly in the United States Army after which he returned back to law practice. He also delved into the real estate business at some point in his life.
His third son James Alexander Hamilton (1788 – 1878) was also a lawyer by profession and a politician. He had a brief stint as the acting Secretary of State to US President Andrew Jackson in 1829 after which he was appointed the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Hamilton’s fourth son John Church Hamilton (1792 − 1882) was a lawyer, a writer, and a historian. Among his famous publications is Life of Alexander Hamilton: A History of the Republic of the United States of America, a combination of his father’s biography and US history.
The fifth son of the family was William Stephen Hamilton, born in 1797. He was a politician and a miner. He established a lead ore mine, Hamilton’s Diggings in Wisconsin in the late 1820s but he later renamed the settlement to Wiota. He died in 1850 at the age of 53.
Eliza Hamilton Holly was the seventh child and second daughter. She was born in 1799. She was married to Sidney Augustus Holly but remained very close to her mother throughout the latter’s lifetime. It is known that she died at the age of 59 in 1859.
The last child of the family was Philip Hamilton a.k.a. “Little Phil”. Born in 1802, he was named Philip after the eldest son of the family who had died the previous year. He did not receive a high standard of education like his older siblings owing to the death of the breadwinner of the family, their father. However, he studied with one of his brothers in New York and was able to establish a successful law practice.
When and How Did He Die?
Alexander Hamilton’s death occurred on July 12, 1804. He died of a gunshot wound which he had incurred in a gun duel between him and then Vice President Aaron Burr. The duel was a culmination of a longstanding and acrimonious rivalry between the two politicians.
The enmity between these two took a dangerous turn following Hamilton’s defamation of Burr’s character in the run-up to the 1804 New York gubernatorial election, in which Burr was a contestant. The duel took place in the early hours of July 11, 1804, at a popular dueling ground in Weehawken, New Jersey. Dueling had already been outlawed in New Jersey prior to this encounter but its enforcement was not very strict.
Aaron Burr’s gunshot hit Hamilton on the lower abdomen damaging his internal organs and lodging into his lumbar vertebra. The paralyzed and mortally injured Hamilton was conveyed back to New York City to the home of his friend William Bayard Jr. in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. He died the following day after visits from members of his family and close friends.