Timeline of Alexander Hamilton’s Attendance at Elizabethtown Academy and King’s College

Alexander Hamilton enrolled at Elizabethtown Academy in the fall of 1772 where, according to John C. Hamilton, he spent a winter “accustomed to labour until midnight” and a summer when “it was his habit to retire at dawn to the quiet of a neighbouring cemetery . . . preparing his lessons for the day.” In the fall of 1773, Hamilton applied for admission into the College of New Jersey, whose commencement each year took place on the last Wednesday of September. When the school denied his request to advance at an accelerate pace, it was too late to be admitted into King’s College for the 1773–74 school year because its commencement had already taken place in May. Hamilton, therefore, entered King’s College in the autumn of 1773 “as a private student” and was officially admitted in May 1774 at the next commencement. He studied at King’s College until “the American Revolution supervened” but “never graduated; the College having been broken up before his course of Studies was completed.”

Supporting evidence and citations will be found in Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years. Please support the publication of this important work by pre-ordering your copy today.

Alexander Hamilton’s arrival in New York City in October 1772

After arriving in Boston in October 1772, Alexander Hamilton had to make his way to New York City. Hamilton probably travelled to New York City on  the stagecoach operated by Nicholas Brown, which advertised itself as the “first Stage Coach which has ever been improved on this road” and promised to “always put up at Houses on the road where the best Entertainment is provided.” One coach left Boston every other Monday and, “after staying a week” in Hartford, arrived in New York on Saturday twelve days after it set out. The stagecoach charged “4d New York or 3d lawful Money per Mile,” a total of about £3 15s New York money or £2 16s lawful money for the entire journey, plus the cost for “Baggage at a reasonable Rate.” If Hamilton arrived in Boston with Hammet on October 18 or if he sailed with Waters and arrived on that same day or earlier, Hamilton could have taken the October 19 stagecoach and would have arrived in New York on October 31.

(Some of this information had previously been reported, but those accounts were full of errors and most of the facts above are indeed new discoveries by the author.)

Citations and additional information will be found in Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years. Please support publication of this important work by pre-ordering your copy today.

What ship did Alexander Hamilton take from St. Croix to the Boston in October 1772?

According to Hercules Mulligan and John C. Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton sailed from St. Croix and reached Boston in October 1772. Newspapers list only two ships sailing from St. Croix to Boston at this time: “Waters from St. Croix” arrived sometime before October 22 (previously identified by Broadus Mitchell) and “Capt. Hammett, from St. Croix” arrived on October 18 (new discovery). Hamilton likely was on one of these two ships.

Full details of this information, including citations, will be found in Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years. Please support publication of this important work by pre-ordering your copy today.

Some of the New Discoveries to be Found In Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years

Over the next several weeks, as Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years is prepped for publication and its Kickstarter campaign raises funds for publication, I’ll be compiling a list of some of the new discoveries that are to be found in the book. Today, I present to you  two discoveries regarding Alexander Hamilton that have never before been revealed to the public.

  • As a fourteen-year-old working for Nicholas Cruger in St. Croix, Alexander Hamilton wrote to John Wendell, the mercantile partner of John Hancock (the future President of Congress and Governor of Massachusetts), regarding money “Mr. Hancock has not sent us.”
  • Alexander Hamilton’s famous account of the West Indian hurricane of 1772, which was originally published in St. Croix’s The Royal Danish American Gazette, was reprinted in a Boston newspaper in December 1772. Alexander Hamilton apparently never knew this. Neither did his family. Neither has any historian or biographer prior to now.

Remember to support publication of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years by pre-ordering your copy today.

Leonard Zax’s review of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years

“We now live in the America that Alexander Hamilton launched. Just as Hamilton’s star continues to rise, Michael E. Newton has moved forward with a painstakingly researched and carefully documented biography of the most remarkable of our Founding Fathers. Hamilton’s life story is complex, richly layered, and deserving of the meticulous attention to detail that Michael E. Newton’s work will provide for generations of Americans.”

~ Leonard A. Zax is President of the Hamilton Partnership for Paterson. Mr. Zax is is a lawyer and a city planner with more than thirty years of experience in community development and historic preservation projects throughout the United States. A former partner in the law firm of Latham & Watkins, he has taught a course on Historic Preservation and Urban Revitalization at Harvard University. He is a graduate of Eastside High School, the University of Chicago, the city planning program at Harvard Design School, and Harvard Law School. William Paterson University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2010.

Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years is now available for pre-order.

“Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years” Synopsis

Michael E. Newton's Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years

Even though Alexander Hamilton was among the most important Founding Fathers, less is known about his early life than that of any other major Founder. Relatively few records regarding Hamilton’s birth, childhood, and origins in the West Indies have been found. Alexander Hamilton “rarely . . . dwelt upon his personal history” and never recorded his life’s story. Most of Hamilton’s correspondence prior to 1777 was lost during the American Revolution. This has resulted in many gaps in Alexander Hamilton’s biography, which has given rise to much conjecture regarding the details of his life. Relying on new research and extensive analysis of the existing literature, Michael E. Newton presents a more comprehensive and accurate account of Alexander Hamilton’s formative years.

Despite being orphaned as a young boy and having his birth be “the subject of the most humiliating criticism,” Alexander Hamilton used his intelligence, determination, and charisma to overcome his questionable origins and desperate situation. As a mere child, Hamilton went to work for a West Indian mercantile company. Within a few short years, Hamilton was managing the firm’s St. Croix operations. Gaining the attention of the island’s leading men, Hamilton was sent to mainland North America for an education, where he immediately fell in with the country’s leading patriots. After using his pen to defend the civil liberties of the Americans against British infringements, Hamilton took up arms in the defense of those rights. Earning distinction in the campaign of 1776–77 at the head of an artillery company, Hamilton attracted the attention of General George Washington, who made him his aide-de-camp. Alexander Hamilton was soon writing some of Washington’s most important correspondence, advising the commander-in-chief on crucial military and political matters, carrying out urgent missions, conferring with French allies, negotiating with the British, and helping Washington manage his spy network. As Washington later attested, Hamilton had become his “principal and most confidential aid.” After serving the commander-in-chief for four years, Hamilton was given a field command and led the assault on Redoubt Ten at Yorktown, the critical engagement in the decisive battle of the War for Independence. By the age of just twenty-five, Alexander Hamilton had proven himself to be one of the most intelligent, brave, hard-working, and patriotic Americans.

Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years tells the dramatic story of how this poor immigrant emerged from obscurity and transformed himself into the most remarkable Founding Father. In riveting detail, Michael E. Newton delivers a fresh and fascinating account of Alexander Hamilton’s origins, youth, and indispensable services during the American Revolution.

Announcing “Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years”

Michael E. Newton's Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years

Publication scheduled for June 2015. More details to come over the next few weeks.