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Who is Alexander Hamilton: Facts about the founding father

Alexander Hamilton was many things: an orphan immigrant from the Caribbean, an aide to George Washington in the Revolutionary War and one of the authors of the Federalist Papers. Now he's the subject of a smash Broadway musical, "Hamilton," but long before he was a household name he was an influential statesman with a rich history in New York.

Read on to read and see more facts about one of the United States' founding fathers.

Hamilton was the first Treasury secretary

Alexander Hamilton was the first secretary of the
Photo Credit: AP / Evan Vucci

Alexander Hamilton was the first secretary of the Treasury, from 1789 to 1795. He created the modern U.S. financial system with the establishment of a federal tax system, central bank and mint, national debt and the dollar as currency.

Above, a statue of Hamilton stands in front of the Treasury Department in Washington on Oct. 10, 2008.

Hamilton emigrated from the Caribbean

Alexander Hamilton was born on Nevis in the
Photo Credit: AP

Alexander Hamilton was born on Nevis in the British West Indies to parents who were not married to each other. They were living on St. Croix when his father deserted the family, and his mother died when he was around 11, leaving Hamilton and his older brother impoverished. He also spent time on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts before he emigrated to New York and became a prototypical American success story. But Hamilton was taunted about the circumstances of his birth throughout his life, biographer Ron Chernow notes, and wrote that "my birth is the subject of the most humiliating criticism."

Here the first secretary of the Treasury is shown in a portrait painted by John Trumbull in 1792.

Hamilton's NYC home is a national monument

Alexander Hamilton's New York City home -- now
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Alexander Hamilton's New York City home -- now called Hamilton Grange National Memorial -- is on West 141st Street in Hamilton Heights. The Federal-style country home was finished in 1802, so Hamilton only lived there for two years before his death, the National Park Service says. The house has been moved twice, in 1889 and in 2008, when it was brought back to the property that Hamilton owned in the early 1800s and restored to its 19th-century appearance.

Above, Hamilton Grange on Sept. 29, 2015.

Hamilton was fatally shot in a duel

Alexander Hamilton was mortally wounded in a duel
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mario Tama

Alexander Hamilton was mortally wounded in a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr on July 11, 1804, in Weehawken, N.J. He died the next day, and Burr's reputation was ruined.

Above, Antonio Burr, left, a descendant of Aaron Burr's cousin, fires with Douglas Hamilton, right, a great-great-great-great-great-grandson of Alexander Hamilton, during a re-enactment marking the 200th anniversary of the duel in Weehawken on July 11, 2004.

What inspired 'Hamilton' the musical

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and just-departed star of
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and just-departed star of the Broadway smash "Hamilton," has said he was inspired by the Ron Chernow biography "Alexander Hamilton" that he happened to read on vacation in 2008. Chernow's work was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist in 2004.

Hamilton studied at what became Columbia University

Alexander Hamilton was a student at King's College
Photo Credit: AP / Eric Carvin

Alexander Hamilton was a student at King's College -- later Columbia University -- before he left to fight in the Revolutionary War. He became George Washington's right-hand man, as the musical dramatizes.

Here a statue of Hamilton is shown outside Hamilton Hall on Columbia's campus in Manhattan on Jan. 16, 2015.

Hamilton's powder horn fetches a pretty price

A powder horn that some experts believe was
Photo Credit: AP / Julio Cortez

A powder horn that some experts believe was used by Alexander Hamilton sold for $115,620 at a New Jersey auction house in 2016 on the date that would have been his birthday -- Jan. 11. The seller, a dentist, had spent years trying to document the authenticity of the horn, seen here on Dec. 15, 2015. A descendant, an arms appraiser and a forensic documents expert said they believe Hamilton used the engraved piece of cow horn to carry gunpowder. Historians aren't sure whether Hamilton was born on Jan. 11 in 1755 or 1757.

Hamilton's on the $10 bill -- and he's staying there

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew set off a furor
Photo Credit: AP / Bebeto Matthews

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew set off a furor in June 2015 with the announcement that he would be replacing Alexander Hamilton's portrait on the $10 bill with a woman's. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and others urged Lew to reverse his decision. On April 20, 2016, Lew said that Hamilton will remain on the $10 note -- with its back redesigned to commemorate a 1913 suffragette march that ended on the steps of the Treasury building. It will also include suffragette leaders such as Susan B. Anthony.

The $10 bill changes were unveiled as part of a larger redesign that will also overhaul the $5 and $20 bills. Most notably, African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman will become the new face of the $20.

Currently, Hamilton is not the only non-president to be featured on a bill. That honor has also been extended to Benjamin Franklin, who is on the $100 bill, and Salmon Chase -- who was Treasury secretary under President Abraham Lincoln -- who can be found on the $10,000 bill, which is no longer produced but remains legal tender.

Above, Treasury Secretary John Snow, left, Anna Escobedo Cabral, treasurer of the United States, center, and Roger Ferguson Jr., vice chairman for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, right, attend the unveiling of the then-new $10 note on Ellis Island in New York Harbor on Sept. 28, 2005.

Hamilton's grave is in lower Manhattan

Alexander Hamilton's grave is in Trinity Church Cemetery
Photo Credit: AP / Beth J. Harpaz

Alexander Hamilton's grave is in Trinity Church Cemetery in lower Manhattan. His tomb is shown on Aug. 22, 2014. The inscription calls him a "patriot of incorruptible integrity, the soldier of approved valour, the statesman of consummate wisdom."

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