How Many Children Did Alexander Hamilton Have?
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How many children did Alexander Hamilton have?

Founding Father Alexander Hamilton's legacy was relatively unknown until Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton.

Alexander Hamilton, or the “ten-dollar founding father” played a large and impressive role in the founding of the United States, but his legacy lived in relative obscurity until Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton rekindled interest in his life and accomplishments. The Tony Award-winning show is delightful and near perfect, but it is a dramatization, because sometimes historical facts have to be changed or simplified for story purposes. After seeing the musical, one could believe that Alexander Hamilton only had one child, Philip, because he is the only one heavily featured in the story, but this is not the case. Let’s examine Hamilton’s life to discover the number of children he actually had.  

Alexander Hamilton’s Birth and Origins

Hamilton was born on the Caribbean island of Nevis around the year of 1755. His father was the Scottish trader James Hamilton and his mother was Rachel Faucette Lavien. Their partnership was controversial because Lavien was still married to her first husband during their relationship. She was even briefly put in jail for this. James Hamilton would leave his family and Lavien would pass away two years later when Alexander was just 11 years old.

Alexander was forced to work and look after himself securing a job at a trading company on St. Croix. When he wrote and published a piece describing a hurricane that hit the island in 1772, locals noticed his talents and banned together to raise money to send him to America to get an education.

Rise to Prominence

Hamilton studied at King’s College, which is now Columbia University. It was there that he got involved with the Revolutionary cause. Hamilton knew that because of his humble upbringing, his path to success would be paved on the battlefields of the imminent war of independence. Michael E. Newton, author of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years, states: “Hamilton had a genius and was hard-working but did not come from an illustrious family like most of the Founding Fathers. He knew that winning glory in battle would make him famous and help him further his career.” 

After proving himself in the battles of Trenton and Princeton, he secured a position on General George Washington’s staff. But he was most proud of his 1781 command under Marquis de Lafayette in the Battle of Yorktown, where he attacked and secured Redoubt 10 helping to end the war and forcing British General Charles Cornwallis to surrender.

Marriage to Eliza Schuyler

Alexander’s work in the Revolutionary War allowed him to enter the social circles of many wealthy colleagues. One of these was General Philip Schuyler. He would meet his daughter Eliza when he stayed with the family briefly in Albany, New York. They would meet again two years later at Eliza’s aunt’s party for Washington’s staff in Morristown, New Jersey in 1780. The pair would hit it off and start writing letters to each other. This soon led to their marriage that same year.

Their match was based on love, but was not always an easy or smooth partnership, with Hamilton’s ambition often getting in the way. Hamilton famously revealed his adultery in the Reynolds Pamphlet to save his own professional reputation, not taking Eliza’s feelings into account. The marriage survived this scandal and the death of their first son Philip during a duel. The pair remained together until Hamilton’s death.

Children and their Accomplishments  

Hamilton and Eliza’s love is best seen in their eight children. Miranda did not feature the whole gang in his musical, jokingly saying, “If you want to see a musical with eight kids, go watch The Sound of Music.” Their oldest child was Philip, named for Eliza’s father, who tragically died at the age of 19 in a duel defending his father’s honor. Their second child was Angelica, named for Eliza’s sister, and is referenced in the musical in the line from the song Take a Break: “I have a sister, but I want a little brother.” Alexander Junior would follow in his father’s footsteps and become a lawyer representing Aaron Burr’s second wife in the couple’s divorce. James Alexander also followed his father’s footsteps becoming a lawyer, and eventually the Secretary of State for Andrew Jackson. John Church would write a biography about his famous father and fought in the War of 1812. William Stephen tried his luck with the Gold Rush in California but ended up passing away there. Eliza was very close with her mother. Their youngest was also named Philip and lived a very long life, possibly because he avoided duels. 

Never fear — Miranda did let the Hamilton siblings have a moment to shine during a pre-show Ham4Ham Lottery event, so they were not completely left out. The show offered a chance to win $10 lottery tickets to the show, and often cast members and guests would perform at it. 

Hamilton Siblings

Hamilton left a legacy of impressive accomplishments including his eight children.