If you walk by my house (or car) anytime we are inside, you will probably hear the thuds of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. My 6 and 7-year-old sons are obsessed with the hip-hop historical musical about Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton. Ok, I love it too. My husband and I met while doing musical theater in high school, so clearly the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. We know all the lyrics inside and out. We take turns taking the lead on the Hamilton or Aaron Burr lyrics and our goal in life is to rap as fast as Daveed Diggs’ Lafayette. So when we planned a family vacation to NYC we knew there was one stop we couldn’t miss.
No, at $500 a ticket, I just couldn’t see taking my family of four to see Hamilton, dropping over 2K on one night. We took the boys to Trinity Church near Wall Street to see the graves of many of the historical figures portrayed in the musical. My husband and I had been to Trinity Church, long before the Hamilton craze so we knew he was buried there. We did a little research to discover a few more characters from Hamilton were buried there too.
Angelica Schuyler Church
When we first entered the gates, we see Angelica Schuyler Church’s grave. Angelica was Hamilton’s sister in law. The two of them had a very close relationship. Angelica even joked with Eliza in a surviving letter that she should share her husband. “I love him very much and if you were as generous as the Old Romans,” she wrote in 1794, “you would lend him to me for a while.” In the musical, she is portrayed as sassy and smart.
We follow the path to see the main event, Alexander Hamilton’s grave. Hamilton who rose from obscurity to attend Columbia, then known as King’s College, would go on to be George Washington’s aide during the Revolutionary War, author of 51 of the Federalist papers, would become our first Treasury Secretary, developing many of our nation’s economic policies, only to be killed in a duel with Aaron Burr at age 47.
Growing up, I mainly knew Alexander Hamilton from the hilarious Got Milk ad.
My sons know more about him at age 6 and 7 then I did about any historical figures when I was their age. Lin Manuel Miranda convince all of us that Hamilton was more hip-hop than we ever imagined and that we can all find a way to connect with the story. Here’s the opening number to Hamilton which tells you the whole story
Eliza Schuyler Hamilton
Buried right beside Hamilton is his long-suffering wife, Eliza. Daughter of a Revolutionary War general and from a long line of wealthy Dutch land owners, she met Hamilton during the war while staying with her aunt in New Jersey. She lived another 50 years after her husband’s death, carefully cultivating his legacy, including starting the first private orphanage.
Alexander and Eliza’s first born son is also buried beside them. He died 3 years prior to his father. He died in a duel against George Eacker, defending his father, Alexander’s honor, whom Eacker had made a speech at Columbia against. The duel was at the same location of the Hamilton-Burr duel 3 years later. Philip Hamilton was nineteen when he died.
We saved a surprise for the last. We did not tell the boys that Hercules Mulligan, the Revolutionary War spy was also buried at Trinity Church. In Hamilton, the role of Hercules Mulligan is boisterously played by actor, Okieriete Onaodowan. Captivated by his performance, my sons love to read anything they can find about the Irish tailor, who saved George Washington’s life twice and smuggled information, he gathered while making uniforms for the British, to the Colonists.
There may be a day when we can afford to take the whole family to see Hamilton the Musical but for now, the whole family was delighted to pay our respects to these real American heroes.