Alexander Hamilton and Me
Published on October 3, 2011 by Sara Foss

On her blog Virgin Islands Traveller, my friend Susanna Henighan Potter writes about Alexander Hamilton's Caribbean roots, and her visit to his home in New York City.

Here's an excerpt:

"Alexander Hamilton and I are friends. Or so it seems. The founding father and first Treasury Secretary of the United States was famously killed in a duel by Aaron Burr in 1804. Most schoolchildren also learn that Hamilton was one of the authors of the Federalist Papers, a series of essays which established the moral rationale for the system of government which grew into modern American democracy.

But fewer people know that Alexander Hamilton was born in Nevis in the West Indies and spent approximately eight formative childhood years on St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands (then the Danish West Indies). ...

Visitors to St. Croix encounter Hamilton at Fort Christiansvaern in Christiansted, where there is a display about Hamilton’s life on St. Croix and that of his mother, Rachel Faucett, whose tragic story you could not invent if you tried. On a walking tour of the town you can also pass buildings where Hamilton once worked, worshiped and lived as a child and young man.

It’s not often that I have common ground with a person of such historic stature, and I have developed feelings of kinship for Hamilton over the years.  So when I was in New York recently and noticed in the paper that Hamilton’s New York home had recently re-opened to the public, I decided to pay the site a visit. Hamilton Grange, as the home is called, has been moved twice: once in 1889 and once in 2008 to its current home at St Nicholas Park on the upper west side of Manhattan. In Hamilton’s day it took about two hours by carriage to get from Wall Street to the Grange, a pastoral retreat which Hamilton and his family occupied primarily during the summer months. On the A train from Wall Street on a recent Saturday morning it took about 45 minutes to make the journey uptown."

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