Alexander Hamilton - born today, January 11, in 1757. Illegitimate son of a poor itinerant merchant, lieutenant colonel in the American Revolution, close confidant to George Washington, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, first Secretary of the Treasury
In Paterson, NJ Hamilton had a lesser known but great impact. In 1792, Alexander Hamilton formed an investment group called the Society of Useful Manufactures (the “SUM”) whose funds would be used to develop a planned industrial city in the United States that was later to become Paterson.
Hamilton believed that the United States needed to reduce its dependence on foreign goods and should instead develop its own industries. The industries developed in Paterson were powered by the 77-foot high Great Falls of the Passaic, and a system of water raceways that harnessed the power of the falls. The district originally included dozens of mill buildings and other manufacturing structures associated with the textile industry and later, the firearms, silk, and railroad locomotive manufacturing industries. In the latter half of the 1800’s, silk production became the dominant industry and formed the basis of Paterson’s most prosperous period, earning it the nickname “Silk City.”
Hamilton looks over the Great Falls in Paterson, NJ
Hamilton may be better known for his duel with Aaron Burr. Following an argumant via letters, a duel was scheduled for July 11, 1804, along the west bank of the Hudson River on a rocky ledge in Weehawken, New Jersey. (This was the same dueling site at which Hamilton’s eldest son, Philip, had been killed three years earlier.) Vce President if the United States Aaron Burr shot Hamilton. (Insert flashback to Dick Cheney here.)
Hamilton’s shot broke a tree branch directly above Burr’s head - probably an intentional miss. (A letter that he wrote the night before the duel states, “I have resolved, if our interview [duel] is conducted in the usual manner, and it pleases God to give me the opportunity, to reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of reserving my second fire.”)
Burr’s shot, however, hit Hamilton in the lower abdomen, ricocheted off Hamilton’s second or third false rib, fracturing it and caused considerable damage to his internal organs, particularly his liver and diaphragm before becoming lodged in his first or second lumbar vertebra. The paralyzed Hamilton, who knew himself to be mortally wounded, was ferried back to New York where he died on the following afternoon. Hamilton was buried in the Trinity Churchyard Cemetery in Manhattan.