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Hamilton Grange National Memorial preserves the mansion of Alexander Hamilton. Built in 1802 on Hamilton’s land in Harlem, Hamilton would live there with his family for only two years before his fateful duel with Aaron Burr.
Upon his death, Hamilton’s political rivals sought to dismiss or take credit for his accomplishments. But Hamilton’s widow, Eliza, who survived Alexander by 50 years, spent the rest of her life ensuring that Alexander Hamilton’s legacy would not be forgotten. For women’s history month, we took a special tour of The Grange with the AHA society, which focused on Eliza.
Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton was born into a wealthy family in upstate New York. Her father was general in George Washington’s army. She met Alexander Hamilton in Morristown, when the army was encamped there. They were married at her father’s home in 1780. Her marriage survived the nation’s first sex scandal (Alexander publicly admitted to adultery to clear up suspicion of financial impropriety while he was Secretary of the Treasury) and produced eight children.
Alexander Hamilton died in debt. Eliza was able to re-purchase the Grange after it had been sold off at auction with some help from her connections and her inheritance from her father. She lived there with some of her grown children for 30 years before selling it to move into a townhouse downtown.
She threw herself into charity work, helping to found the first orphanage in New York City and was the director of the organization for 27 years. She also, along with the widows of James Madison and John Adams, helped to raise the money for the construction of the Washington Monument.
Eliza tirelessly promoted Alexander’s legacy after his death and persisted in having his papers organized and published as a biography. She demanded an apology from President Monroe for the accusations he’d made against Hamilton and defended Hamilton’s authorship of Washington’s Farewell Address.
A week before the duel, Alexander wrote to Eliza: “With my last idea; I shall cherish the sweet hope of meeting you in a better world. Adieu best of wives and best of women. Embrace all my darling children for me. Ever yours, A H.”
Hamilton Grange Posts:
- Hamilton Grange National Memorial
- Hamilton Grange: Eliza Tour
Location: 414 W 141st St, New York, NY 10031
Designation: National Memorial
Date designated or established: April 27, 1962
Date of my visit: August 23, 2014
7 thoughts on “Hamilton Grange National Memorial: Eliza Tour”
Thanks for posting, we had to research him for talks at the 2nd Bank, he had created the 1st Bank, a few blocks down, which is still closed. The 2nd Bank, only open as a Portrait Gallery
I read the book My Dear Hamilton…a well researched work of historical fiction based on Eliza’s life….Hamilton was an amazing man and Eliza was a force to be reckoned with in her own right. It prompted my visit to the Grange and I will eventually visit the Schuyler mansion in Albany. Thanks for the tip on the 2nd bank…will try to make one of those talks next time in Philadelphia
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We will be visiting Hamilton Grange in a few weeks on our trip to the east coast. If you are still interested in meeting up with us at a park along the way, we would be excited to meet a fellow travel blogger and park geek. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you our itinerary to see if we can make something work.
Scott and Tiff
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Great pictures! I think you will find that it was Eliza, Dolley, and John Quincy Adams’ wife, Louisa, who raised funds for the Washington Monument, rather than John Adams’ wife, Abigail.