Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton

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For other people named Elizabeth Hamilton, see Elizabeth Hamilton (disambiguation).
Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton
Mrs. Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton.jpg
Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton by Ralph Earl, 1787
Born Elizabeth Schuyler
(1757-08-09)August 9, 1757
Albany, Province of New York
Died November 9, 1854(1854-11-09) (aged 97)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Spouse(s) Alexander Hamilton
Children 8
Parents Philip Schuyler
Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler

Elizabeth Hamilton (née Schuyler) (August 9, 1757 – November 9, 1854) was the wife of Alexander Hamilton. She was born in Albany, New York, the second daughter of Philip Schuyler, an American Revolutionary War general, and Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler. The Rensselaers of the Manor of Rensselaerswyck were one of the richest and most politically influential families in the state of New York. She was a sister of Angelica Schuyler Church.

Alexander Hamilton's wife[edit]

In spring 1779, Alexander Hamilton asked his friend John Laurens to find him a wife in South Carolina:[1]

"She must be young—handsome (I lay most stress upon a good shape) Sensible (a little learning will do)—well bred. . . chaste and tender (I am an enthusiast in my notions of fidelity and fondness); of some good nature—a great deal of generosity (she must neither love money nor scolding, for I dislike equally a termagant and an economist)—In politics, I am indifferent what side she may be of—I think I have arguments that will safely convert her to mine—As to religion a moderate stock will satisfy me—She must believe in God and hate a saint. But as to fortune, the larger stock of that the better."

On December 14, 1780, Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler were married at Schuyler Mansion in Albany, New York. Throughout her life, Elizabeth Hamilton defended her husband against his critics, maintaining his authorship of George Washington's "Farewell Address" and refusing to acknowledge his responsibility in the duel and sexual scandals of his life. James Monroe had accused Alexander of financial irregularities during the Reynolds affair. Steadfast until the end, Elizabeth demanded a complete apology, which Monroe would not give. Before his death, Monroe visited Elizabeth to reconcile their differences concerning her husband's reputation, but Hamilton gave the former president a cool reception and refused his apology.

Surviving Hamilton[edit]

Elizabeth (known as Eliza or Betsey), survived Hamilton for fifty years, until 1854. A religious woman, Eliza spent much of her life working to help widows and orphans. After Hamilton's death, she co-founded New York's first private orphanage, the New York Orphan Asylum Society.

She is buried near Hamilton in Trinity Churchyard at Wall Street and Broadway in New York City.

Children[edit]

Hamilton and Elizabeth had 8 children, though there is often confusion because two sons were named "Philip."

  • Philip (January 22, 1782 – 1801)
  • Angelica (born September 25, 1784)
  • Alexander (May 16, 1786 - August 2, 1875)
  • James Alexander (April 14, 1788 – September 1878)
  • John Church (born August 22, 1792)
  • William S. (born August 4, 1797 - October 9, 1850)
  • Eliza (born November 26, 1799)
  • Philip (born June 2, 1802)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Mitchell vol 1 p 199

External links[edit]