John Church Hamilton

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John Church Hamilton
John Church Hamiton.jpg
Born (1792-08-22)August 22, 1792
Died July 25, 1882(1882-07-25) (aged 89)
Nationality American
Alma mater Columbia College
Occupation Lawyer

John Church Hamilton (August 22, 1792 − July 25, 1882) was the fourth son, fifth child of the founding father Alexander Hamilton.

Early life and education[edit]

John Hamilton was twelve years old when his father was killed in a duel with presidential candidate Aaron Burr.[1]

After graduating from Columbia College in 1809, he served in the U.S. Army during the War of 1812 from March to June 1814 with the rank of second lieutenant.[1] During this time he served as an aide de camp to Major General, and future president, William Henry Harrison.


Professionally he was a historian and lawyer, and devoted decades to writing about the life of his father and sorting through his letters and other papers.[2] The Life of Alexander Hamilton and a seven-volume History of the republic of the United States of America are among several books that he published about his father's life.[1]


Gen. Schuyler Hamilton (1822–1903) was his son


His obituary appeared in the New York Times and reads:

John Church Hamilton, a son of Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, died early yesterday morning in the Stockton cottage, on Ocean avenue, Long Branch. He had been failing from extreme old age for several months, but the immediate cause of his death was a complication of jaundice and catarrh. Mr. Hamilton was born in Philadelphia in 1792, while his father was Secretary of the Treasury and was only 14 years old when the latter was killed in the famous duel with Aaron Burr. He graduated from Columbia College in this city in 1809 and afterwards studied law. Subsequently he entered the United States Army and during the War of 1812 served as Aide-de-camp on the staff of Major General Harrison. He does not appear, however, to have been actually engaged in the field. In June, 1814, he resigned his position in the Army and returned to private life. He did not apply himself to the practice of law, but, having strong literary tastes, devoted himself to the study of history, with a view to writing his father's life. Between 1834 and 1840 he published the "Memoirs of the Life of Alexander Hamilton," in two volumes, octavo, which brought Hamilton's life down to the adoption of the Federal Constitution. Two more volumes were expected but did not appear. In 1851 he published "The World of Alexander Hamilton" in 7 volumes, octavo, and in 1858 "A History of the Republic as Traced in the Writings of Alexander Hamilton" in 2 volumes, octavo.(ed. note: These titles are not correct). He also published an edition of The Federalist, with notes and comments, which was highly praised by the late Horace Greeley. Mr. Hamilton's opinions on economical subjects were at different times solicited by Judge (William) Lawrence, First Controller of the Treasury; General Grant and latterly, by President Arthur. In politics, Mr. Hamilton was at first a Whig and afterwards an ardent Republican. He, however, never held an office, although he was years ago an unsuccessful candidate for Congress in a district of this city. Not quite two years ago Mr. Hamilton presented to this city the statue of Alexander Hamilton which stands upon a little knoll in Central Park near the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At the unveiling of the statue, on Nov. 22, 1880, Mr. Hamilton said: "Upon a base of granite rock with a tracing of forest trees marking its central position and valuing the sympathies of this distinguished assemblage, I present it to this great Metropolis through your honor, (Edward Cooper) its esteemed Mayor. Though preferring it were the act of others, I may be permitted to avow a trust near the close of a century of our natural existence, time having developed the utility of his public services and the lessons of his polity, that this memorial may aid in their being recalled and usefully appreciated under the blessing of a Constitution ordained and established by the people of the United States of America. " Mr. Hamilton married a daughter of John Cornelius Van den Huevel, a prominent and wealthy merchant of this city. His wife died in 1872. 9 Children survive him. The sons are General Schuyler Hamilton, who served with distinction in the Mexican War and also the War of the Rebellion; Judge Charles Hamilton, of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin (ed. note: He was actually a judge on one of the circuit courts); William G. Hamilton, the consulting engineer of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company; and Alexander Hamilton of Westchester County. One of his daughters married Major General Halleck, and, after his death Major General George Cullum. Another is the wife of ex-Judge Charles A. Peabody. Three of his daughters - Charlotte A., Adelaide, and Alice- are unmarried. Mr. Hamilton's remains were brought to this city from Long Branch yesterday afternoon. The funeral services will be held in Trinity Church at 12 [PM] tomorrow."[3]


  1. ^ a b c "John Church Hamilton". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 13 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Chernow, Ron Alexander Hamilton p. 726
  3. ^ "The Death List of a Day. John Church Hamilton.". The New York Times. July 26, 1882.