Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton
|Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton|
Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton by Ralph Earl, 1787
August 9, 1757
Albany, Province of New York
|Died||November 9, 1854
Washington, D.C., U.S.
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
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.
Elizabeth (known as Eliza or Betsey) survived Hamilton by fifty years, dying in 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.
Elizabeth and Alexander Hamilton had eight children, though there is often confusion because two sons were named Philip:
- Philip Schuyler (January 22, 1782 – November 23, 1801), died in a duel, just as his father would three years later.
- Angelica (September 25, 1784 – February 6, 1857)
- Alexander, Jr. (May 16, 1786 – August 2, 1875)
- James Alexander (April 14, 1788 – September 24, 1878)
- John Church (August 22, 1792 – July 25, 1882)
- William Stephen (August 4, 1797 – August 7, 1850)
- Elizabeth (November 20, 1799 – October 17, 1859)
- Philip (June 1, 1802 – July 9, 1884)
- "Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton". Published in American National Biography
- "Elizabeth Hamilton (1757–1854)". PBS American Experience