Alexander Hamilton Jr. was an American lawyer and the secretary of the ‘United States Legation’ in Madrid. He was the son of James Alexander Hamilton and the grandson of American statesman Alexander Hamilton, who was one of the founding fathers of the US. A student of the ‘United States Military Academy’ at West Pont, Hamilton Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps to become a lawyer. He co-founded the law firm of Hamilton and Lyon and remained its partner. He was named the secretary of the ‘United States Legation’ in Madrid and served for a couple of years under Washington Irving. He also served as a volunteer aide-de-camp and then as an additional aide-de-camp to General John E Wool at the time of the American Civil War. Following this, he assisted Wool during the New York City draft riots. He was one of the founders and the first members of the ‘Knickerbocker Club,’ a gentlemen's club in New York City, and served as its first president till his death. He also co-founded the ‘Union League Club.’
Childhood & Early Life
Alexander Hamilton Jr. was born on January 26, 1816, in New York City, US. He was the third child and the only son of James Alexander Hamilton and Mary Morris. He had four siblings: two elder sisters, Elizabeth "Eliza" Hamilton and Frances "Fanny" Hamilton, and two younger sisters, Mary Morris Hamilton and Angelica Hamilton.
His father was an American lawyer and soldier who served as a brigade major and inspector in the New York state militia at the time of the war of 1812 and as an acting United States Secretary of State under President Andrew Jackson.
His paternal grandfather, Alexander Hamilton, was one of the founding fathers of the US and the first US Secretary of the Treasury. His paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, was the second daughter of ‘Revolutionary War’ general Philip Schuyler and Catherine Van Rensselaer. Catherine’s family was regarded as one of the richest and the most politically influential families of New York.
His mother, Mary, was from the prominent Morris family of Morissania. His maternal great-great-grandfather, Lewis Morris, was an early colonial governor of New Jersey. His maternal great-grandfather, Richard Morris, was the chief justice of the ‘New York Supreme Court.’ His maternal great-granduncle, Lewis Morris, was a signer of the ‘US Declaration of Independence.’
From July 1832 to June 1835, Hamilton Jr. studied at the ‘United States Military Academy’ at West Point. However, whether he graduated from there remains unknown.
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Hamilton Jr. grew up to become a lawyer in New York City and practiced law for decades before retiring in 1870. He was one of the founders and partners of the law firm ‘Hamilton and Lyon’ that emerged as a prestigious firm in New York during the mid-1800s.
Meanwhile, in 1848, he became the secretary of the ‘United States Legation’ in Madrid and served under Washington Irving till 1850.
He was recruited as a volunteer aide-de-camp to General John E Wool in April 1861, during the American Civil War. During that time Wool was commanding the ‘Department of the East’ of the ‘US Army’ in New York. Hamilton Jr. received an official position as the general’s additional aide-de-camp on August 28, 1861, and worked under Wool till the time he resigned on December 11, 1861.
In a letter dated May 26, 1862, addressed to President Abraham Lincoln, Hamilton Jr. called the division of General George McClellan's ‘Army of the Potomac’ into four departments by Edwin Stanton "the grossest mismanagement.”
Hamilton Jr. co-founded the private social club in New York City named the ‘Union League Club’ that came into existence on February 6, 1863, during the Civil War.
He worked with Wool again during the New York City draft riots that lasted from July 13, 1863, to July 16, 1863. Also known at that time as the ‘Draft Week,’ the riots that took place in Lower Manhattan were considered the largest civil and racially-charged riots that occurred in the history of America besides the Civil War. Wool was known to have reported to Governor Seymour that Colonel Alexander Hamilton Jr., had come forward voluntarily to help him during the riots and had worked day and night.
He was one of the founders of the gentlemen's club in New York City named the ‘Knickerbocker Club.’ Informally called ‘The Knick,’ the club was founded in 1871. Hamilton Jr. became the first person to sign as a member of the club. He also became the first president of the club and served till his death.
Family & Personal Life
Hamilton Jr. married Angelica Livingston, a member of the prominent Livingston family, in 1840. Angelica’s father, Maturin Livingston, was an American lawyer and politician from New York. Her mother, Margaret (née Lewis) Livingston, was the only child of Morgan Lewis, an American lawyer, military commander, and politician who served as the governor of New York.
Hamilton and Angelica had a son named Alexander, born in 1848. Alexander, however, died in 1849, when he was a toddler of 11 months.
His eldest sister, Elizabeth, was married to George Lee Schuyler, son of New York politician Philip Jeremiah Schuyler. After Elizabeth’s death in 1863, George married her younger sister Mary Morris. The second-eldest sister of Hamilton Jr., Frances, was married to George Russel James Bowdoin. His youngest sister, Angelica, was married to attorney and political figure Richard Milford Blatchford.
Hamilton Jr. died on December 30, 1889, in New York City. He was 73 at the time of his death. He was buried at the ‘Sleepy Hollow Cemetery’ in Sleepy Hollow, New York.